Lucienne Roberts explores the meaning of ‘nice’

A provocative poster created by graphic artist Oddly Head provided the starting point for Lucienne Roberts’ residency at the Hoffmitz Milken Center for Typography

‘Slogans in nice typefaces won’t save the human races’ was a sentence – indeed, a slogan – that really got designer Lucien Roberts thinking. When she was awarded a residency at the Hoffmitz Milken Center for Typography in Los Angeles, it was that phrase that formed the centrepiece of her exhibition, succinctly titled ‘Nice’.

Roberts, who is co-founder of publishing and curatorial venture Graphicdesign&, first came across the phrase thanks to the posters pasted around the streets of London by artist and graphic designer Tim Fishlock, working under his alter ego Oddly Head. Fishlock has stated that the slogan was a response to “an epoch of demagoguery and debacle”, and Roberts saw much in it to unpack though the lenses of typography, linguistics, politics and associated imagery.

“The more I saw it, the more it resonated,” she says. “It’s pretty unusual to see anything in that context mentioning typefaces, and I interpreted it as a political statement and a critique of graphic designers who make political work, but it doesn’t change anybody’s mind.”

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