On The Rise And Fall Of Grunge Typography

Nice article! This subject is close to my heart, as I was discovering graphic design just as Ray Gun, T-26 and many other players were blowing up, Emigre was at its peak, it was an exciting time! I caught the bug and created a few fonts of my own, one of which was in the T-26 catalog for a time.

A few points I thought I'd make (I realize this article was published over a year ago, I found it via The Verge):

One of the key things to keep in mind about many of the "experimental" typefaces is that the whole idea of designing typefaces was being questioned in the 90s -- doing as little work as possible and calling it done was the point of a lot of them, and tweaking a popular typeface in an obvious way was a big part of it.

I like Morire, but let's be honest: saying it was "inspired by a 16th-century Monteverdi love song entitled 'Si ch'io vorrei morire'" is a little silly. It was "inspired" by opening the font Industria in Fontographer, moving some points around and hitting Save. I used to do crap like that all the time, like overlaying two fonts in Illustrator and using a Boolean command, or chopping up two typefaces and reconnecting the pieces and BAM! New typeface! It was part of the spirit of the time, and I'm certainly not condemning it, but let's not get all gushy about it. Harriet Goren's story is a bit precious.

Carlos Segura, while at the center of a lot of it, was always a designer through and through. He was producing amazing work before the grunge trend and long after it, and he never relied on gimmicks even though many of the typefaces he sold did. The same is true of the late P. Scott Makela, who I cringed at being called "part of the David Carson school" -- Makela was more of the Emigre/Cranbrook school, a group of designers who broke rules but were actually trying to replace them with something useful, not just ripping things up because they didn't understand them or, even worse, just didn't care.

Anyway, thanks for the article, a year and a half later. =)

Posted on December 27, 2013 at 8:17 pm 0