Type designer and Practice + Theory founder Andreas Pohancenik has launched a typographic exhibition in Vienna and Zurich based on the popular drawing fame, Fold and Draw.
Typographic Interferences features a series of letterforms, each made up of two distinct halves. One half was created by a designer in Vienna and the other, a designer in Zurich, with neither having any idea what the other looked like. The experiment has produced some beautiful, bizarre and surprisingly well matched characters, which are on display in each city until July 17.
The typographic exhibition is the fifth Pohancenik has organised since founding curating practice text/gallery in 2008 – past shows include The Art of Lost Words, in which 41 designers presented work based on rarely used words in the dictionary, and Imaginary Menagerie, a collection of typographic prints, artworks and sculpture devoted to tongue twisters and hard to pronounce phrases.
“The idea came about when I visited a friend, graphic designer Julia Castillo, in Zurich last autumn,” says Pohancenik. “We decided to organise an exhibition in Zurich and Vienna [where Pohancenick is based]…Julia had the idea to base the project on the childhood draw and fold game, where someone draws the head, folds the paper, hands it to the next player to draw the chest and so on, until you reach the last fold. It was an instant winner,” he explains.
To curate the event, Castillo and Pohancenik teamed up with Zurich design studio dr/eh which runs a project space in the city. “We agreed democratically – in Swiss tradition – to pair ten type designers from Zurich, a city with great, clean typographic heritage and Vienna, a city with quite a few young designers with international experience, who are making their mark,” adds Pohancenik.
“They were asked to submit a glyph from a typeface they designed, which we would then cut in two and send only the cut lines to the other designer. Designers were only told if they were working on a top or bottom half.”
The resulting characters have also been compiled in a newspaper-style catalogue and prints are available to buy at each venue. “Generally the participating designers were very pleased with what became of their glyphs, although they were quite surprised to see the hybrids at first,” explains Pohancenik.
“I like all of the letters that were submitted, but most surprising was that some could actually be worked up into a typeface. XYZ & Grafikum’s G, Languste Fonts & europatype’s M, Fabienne Feltus & Marc Droz’ E and Katrina Wiedner & UNDEND’s K just look great – and the ‘I’ turned out to be a bestseller.
“Some shapes were a bit harder to work with, especially, considering that you only got the cutting lines and were merely guessing what the original letter might have been. These resulted in more illustrative solutions, like Marc Droz and I’s bearded Ø or Paulus Dreibholz’ A that seems to be painted on with a roller by Alexander Colby,” he adds.
After the shows in Vienna and Zurich, Pohancenik plans to launch similar exhibitions in other cities around Europe – contenders include Berlin, Bratislava, Barcelona, Copenhagen and London. If successful, the project could also be launched further afield.
“The project should always be a fun way to experiment with letterforms with unexpected and inspiring results, so we will aim to pick new designers at every location and make it more interactive as well. I really like the idea of a live “type battle”, held simultaneously in two cities,” adds Pohancenik.
Typographic Interferences is open at SWDZ, Gärtnergasse 14, 1030 Vienna, or at KASSETTE fur projekte – Wolfbachstrasse 9, 8032 Zurich until July 17. For details, see so-weit-die-zukunft.at or die-kassette.ch.
Vienna: Julia Castillo, Paulus M. Dreibholz, Fabienne Feltus, Julia Juriga-Lamut & Marion Mayr, Roland Hörmann, Johannes Lang, Titus Nemeth, Andreas Pohancenik, Studio Es, Katrina Wiedner
Zurich: Alexander Colby, Gregory Gilbert-Lodge, Fabian Leuenberger, Christian Meili, Marc Kappeler, Dominik Huber & Noël Leu, Stefanie Preis, Studio Marcus Kraft, Jonas Voegeli & Scott Vanderzee