25 mind-blowing typography art projects

“Dream,” by Husbands

Typography lovers, this song goes out to you. The music video for “Dream,” by Husbands, is fairly simplistic: the written lyrics flash against a black background in sync with the song. What makes it so engaging is the lovely diversity of typefaces and backgrounds used — they range from ornate script, to Western-style slab serifs, to cool European grotesks.

But here’s the real kicker: this video was NOT made on a computer. As you can see in the behind-the-scenes clip below, the designers, Cauboyz, actually created a physical wall of boxes displaying type, each backlit by a bright light and operated by a control panel. Now that’s impressive.

Behind the scenes of “Dream.” Design by Cauboyz

In this spirit, we’ve brought together a killer roundup of art projects that take typography into unexpected territory. Enjoy.

the exercises

In this project by The Exercises, the artist embodies typographic forms. Left column: cover, regular, bold. Right column: italic, serif, sans serif.

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Belgian design firm Coming Soon branded VIB’s entire 15 year anniversary event, using real chalkboards as a motif to express the values of the client, a life sciences research institute.  

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Vacuum-packed type — an experimental typeface by txaber.

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Tiago Pinto’s The Type Faces project is a series of prints that use only typographic forms to create compelling human faces. 

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Artist Farhad Moshiri jams knives into the wall. Seen from the right perspective, they resolve into an elegant script. 

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Coral Type — another experimental type set by Txaber.

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Spanish art collective Boa Mistura painted passage ways in a Brazil slum with bright colors and white forms that, seen from the right angle, resolve into letters spelling words like “belleza” (beauty) and “orgulho” (pride).

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Using his fear of flying as inspiration, designer Tomas Ashe created this type-centric fold-out consisting of the thoughts that run through his head while on a plane.

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Wood Type — another impressive experimental typeface by Txaber.

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A typeface sculpture shown by Richard J. Evans.

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A brilliant typography-centric poster design by Marcelo Schultz.

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Obed Ezer‘s typeface mohawk and experimental iterations of Helvetica.

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Lauren Hom’s hilarious Daily Dishonesty series takes tidbits of often-given, rarely-followed advice we give ourselves and renders them beautifully in striking type. 

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A glass type sculpture by Oskar Wrango.

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A sculpture by Damien Roach that reads “Avant Garde” when seen head-on, but merely looks like sundry geometric forms from other angles.

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Design firm Made By Stupid created this awesome promo for their client, Filthy, using black liquid and colored lights.

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Nadav Dov Foyer carved the hebrew letter aleph out of a book to create this sculpture.

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Sabeena Karnik molded the entire alphabet in ornate, cut-paper forms.

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Penguin’s new edition of the Kama Sutra sports sexy letterforms by Malika Favre.

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Artist Jenny Holzer introduces text in public spaces — in this case by projecting it onto the façade of the Guggenheim Museum in New York City (photo by fluido & franz).

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A handmade poster by Timea Andorka, consisting of ripped and acid-washed jeans.

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The “Sequences” project by Jonas Valtysson and others involved photographing actual spilled milk and turning it into letter forms.

A hand-crafted, stop motion holiday greeting card by Camilo Rojas and David Garcia.

Sainam — an animated typeface art thesis by Ekawit Lekviriyakul.

Have any other cool typography projects to share?

Related articles:
10 fantastic Type Foundries
Crash course in typography: know your terms!
Typography trends in web design (and some goodies to get you started)
Responsive typography: a quest for flexible typesetting

Alex Bigman is liaison to 99designs' awesome community of graphic designers. He is a recent grad of UC Berkeley, where he studied history of art and cognitive science.
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