Rene Wanner's Poster Page

News: Experimental posters from Blotto Design, Berlin
received from Ian Warner

Karl Marx, Das Kapital, printed on a single page 70x100 cm

The graphic design studio Blotto Design from Berlin sent me three posters in which they have attempted, and succeeded, to print an entire book, i.e. some 100'000 words, on one sheet of poster size paper, using a font size of about 3 points (the height of a character is about 0.5 mm).

Sofar they have done it with Das Kapital by Karl Marx, The Iliad by Homer, The tragedy of MacBeth by Shakespeare, and Faust by Goethe (missing the chance to put the Bible under your christmas tree).

If you use a magnifying glass, you can actually read the text, it is a marvel of modern printing technology.

Why did Blotto Design do it? In a special website dedicated to this project All the world's a page (from which you can also buy these posters for 20 Euros), they explain:

Once upon a time we asked ourselves a peculiar question: could you fit an entire literary work onto a single poster? Would it still be legible? What would it reveal about the hidden structures and rhythms of the text? And how impressed would our friends be if we tried it out? So we did and they were mighty impressed.

I think this is a pioneering experiment in typography, and am very pleased that a poster was chosen as a medium to carry it out. Never mind that the experiment failed to reveal "hidden structures and rhythms" in all four examples. The important thing for me is that the question is asked "How can typography help to transport content?".

Some typographic techniques are very old, probably going back to the origins of books: The period (.) to separate sentences, or the paragraph, or writing chapter titles in bold or large size or center justified, manusript illumination, or using white space, inluding margins, to structure text. They are so common and universal that their use is taken for granted in latin typography and hardly noticed.

However, there have not been any real typographic breakthroughs recently that are comparable in impact with those mentioned above, which is surprising in view of the revolution in text design, digital photography and printing. I'm not really impressed by the flood of new fonts, each trying to be more unreadable than his shortlived predecessor. Tilting text was a nice try in the 1960's but seems on the way out.

So this work from Berlin gives me hope that some typographers are waking up and begin to explore the possibilities of the new techniques ;-)

home   more news   page created on December 11, 2010 / this section is part of Rene Wanner's Poster Page /