Monday, April 28, 2008

Lyrical Fonts at ALBA (Lebanon)

By Antoine Abi Aad

Under the supervision of Aurore Abi Nader Beaini, The Academie Libanaise des Beaux Arts, ALBA, University of Balamand, explored typography, untraditionally. 30 students of advertising, after four sessions spread on four weeks, presented their work to the jury on the 18th of April.
The purpose of the project was to perceive typography beyond mere printing of traditional graphic exercises. The class was divided into 5 groups of student, each one exploring one typeface through one piece of music: Times/ Pieces for Bandoneon, Evan Lurie; Bodoni/New Soul, Yael Naim; Helvetica/Magic Flute, Mozart; Gill/Take Five, Dave Brubeck; and Frutiger/Orly, Jacques Brel. The students were: GHAZZAOUI Marya, HANNA Ramy, KHOURY Elyse, KOLEILAT Wissameddine, MOUSSA Carmen for Times; HAJJ Elsy, NOHRA Maya, RMEILY Rana, TANNOUS Tonie, TENN Georges for Bodoni; ABDELSAMAD Rayan, ABDO Daniella, ABOU SAAD Nancy, ACHKOUTI Stéphanie, ASMAR Christian, BOUSTANI Yasmina for Helvetica; CHALHOUB Joseph, EID Wissam, HADDAD Leslie, HADDAD Pia, HAIDAMOUS Cyril, HAMED Linda for Gill; and BASSIL Zeina, BOUSTANY Myriam, BOUSTANY Naël, FADDOUL Rana, GHALI Michèle for Frutiger.

Through amusing sequences of interacting games, the group of Times (picture 1 & 2) treated a song without lyrics, Pieces for Bandoneon. Though inspired by movie the way things go, the final project was far different from the original inspiration, since all tricks were done through/by typography.

The group of Bodoni travelled through a 3d typographical animation with the song New Soul. Back to reality, they transcribed the animation into an installation were people can also travel in it, feeling typographical spaces.

Helvetica group pointed to the usage of Arial by Microsoft instead of Helvetica used by Mac Apple. They interpreted the matter as a crime, where Helvetica assassinates Arial with an apple in a parody of Hitchcock’s Psycho; it was a creative and funny way of connecting it to the crime of the Magic Flute. The whole animation was done with typography. After the animation, the students moved the public to the crime scene, all done with typography as well.

Gill typeface was illustrated as an orchestra, where each instrument was a letter. Executed in 3d, the arrangement of letters permits a sphere to travel for a short time, passing in/on/through the letters to land on the electricity switch and light up the word idea. The concept symbolizes the brainstorming process to arrive to an idea and it also points to the 5 minutes break when Dave Brubeck and his group composed the song Take 5.

Frutiger/Orly based their concept on a key-sentence of the song “la vie ne fait pas de cadeaux”, which means “life does not offer gifts”. The students chose a Christmas tree where the gifts best lie, and the same time, the tree symbolizes the best place for lovers to meet. The whole tree was covered by Frutiger letters “v”, “i” and “e” composing the word “vie” (life).

ALBA is looking forward to exhibiting this project in the near future.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for all the people who wrote/will be writing comments. Please note that I did nothing in this project. I just wrote the article on ArabDemocracy. They are the students of Misses Aurore Beani, and I only assisted her putting the work on the internet. All comments and credits should be directed to her.

Antoine Abi Aad

Anonymous said...

The idea of a musical typography is beautiful, and the execution of it gave it a whole new dimension.
I personally admired the Bodoni project, but they were all great.
Congratulations to Mme Aurore and to her students for their artworks.

Good Karma!

Anonymous said...

I think the project is fun to watch, but has almost nothing to do with typography.

Maybe while constructing the letters the students became familiar with the curves of the letters, but thats the closest they got to typography during the process.
You can actually notice that the effort was made on the general idea but not on the details of the spacing and all that typography is about.

This project is more about having fun using typefaces, rather than a challenge to adapt or work the details of each typeface.
The simple fact than you can switch typefaces in almost every piece with another typeface without affecting it, is not an indication of typographic skills and does not impress me at all.

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Anonymous said...

I think the objective of this project was to see that typefaces can do all the the beauty of design put in three dimensions.
I don't believe the issue was to work the details of each typeface and adapt it to a brand, logo, or whatever else.
That's why I do believe that this approach is really interesting as being very useful to enhance students creativity.
great job

Anonymous said...

I agree that the objective was to show that typefaces can be all in a design project... but not any typeface on any design.

To take an example, the Frutiger letters with the tree... the interesting thing would be to make the student pick a typeface that has interesting "v", "i" and "e" letters to represent "vie".
Frutiger is not special when it comes to those respective letters...

One more thing, typefaces, wherever they are used or in any way imaginable, have to be spaced properly to convey a feeling and a rythm to the entire piece.
If not, use spoons and forks... it won't matter.

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To take an example, the Frutiger letters with the tree... the interesting thing would be to make the student pick a typeface that has interesting "v", "i" and "e" letters to represent "vie".
Frutiger is not special when it comes to those respective letters...

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