On The Rise And Fall Of Grunge Typography

Hi--this is Harriet Goren, the designer of Morire, and I'd like to address some of these comments. Back in 1994, I used to spend many hours each week rehearsing and performing with an a cappella group that did everything from early music to rock. "Si ch'io vorrei morire" was a staple of our repertoire, and at the time I thought it was the most amazing piece ever. It's basically a musical orgasm, pretty hot stuff for 1603: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XPNxAAAkQB0
Lyrics, in part:
Ah, lips, ah kisses, ah tongue, I repeat:
Oh yes, I would welcome death.

(We used to joke that we should leave the stage and smoke cigarettes after we finished.)

Scott's assignment for us that weekend was to design a font based on an idea and by blending typefaces with each other, and then he showed us how to use Fontographer to deconstruct letterforms. I had never imagined such a thing could be done; fonts were sacrosanct! It felt illegal, and incredibly exciting. Remember, this was at a time when those tools were new, and everyone was still figuring out how to use them. The idea I chose was this madrigal, and I tried to make each letter express what I felt when I sang it--passion, confusion, ecstasy, even ugliness. The process was a lot of fun, and I barely thought about what the final product would look like. I was kind of shocked when people responded favorably to what, at the time, I barely considered a typeface. I like to think that they resonated with some of the emotion I put into the design. (I'm also shocked, happily so, that people are still talking about it 20 years after the fact!)

P. Scott Makela was one of the best teachers I ever had, and his death was a huge loss for the design community. I apologize for misrepresenting his background. I just associate him strongly with David Carson, since he encouraged me to send him the font.

Posted on December 30, 2013 at 8:59 am 0