Wednesday, August 31, 2011

A Study In Serifs: Part 1

If you have ever had to identify a typeface so that a correction can be made to existing copy, you may have had to resort to a magnifying glass in order to assess the weight of a stressed or unstressed stroke, or to reveal the mystery of the serif in its many manifestations.

But what happens when you D-I-V-O-R-C-E these serifs from their original letterforms? Well, if you have any talent, you might come up with something similar to what the visual poet Scott Helmes has created in his Haiku Series, poems constructed entirely from parts of letters.

And where better to explore the straight line tangent to the curve than in the pages of Harper’s Bazarre, the exquisitely balanced female form complementing the full-figured Ultra Bodoni, and her pale companion, the anorexic Hoefler Didot?

Above: Haiku #92 [letterpress on Fabriano and Arches; 6x7 inches]. Copyright ©2011 Scott Helmes
Below: a cut-up letter from Harper’s Bazarre