28 may 2008 — tattoo

Homework for a studio visit

My graduate class from Syracuse University in the States visited Underware in May 2008. Bas Jacobs suggested we complete a task before we arrived which was to ‘typeset your favorite word in the proper way on paper.’ My favorite word is ‘coagulate’ which means becoming clotted or congealed and is a term most commonly applied to drying blood.

It seemed obvious to typeset the word in blood. I decided to use Auto 2 Italic as a tribute to Underware, and because it had the smooth, unassuming character best represented by slow bleeding and drying. Maintaining the letterforms with an X-acto knife was unsuccessful so a blank tattoo was the answer. The word was set backwards, tattooed on my own leg without ink, then transfered to paper to read ‘coagulate’ in my blood.

The tattoo artist was not a typographer and had never heard of kerning, and the end result was nearly impossible to read despite all the attempts to produce more blood (I insisted he go over the letters again and again and pull my skin to get a good print – ouch!!). But, it was an interesting experience and I’ll always have a faint scar on my left thigh to remind me of my trip to Underware and how far I’ll go to typeset a word in the proper way on paper.

Julie Zack – ISDP Advertising Design Class of 2008, Syracuse University