Curious about ligatures, justified columns, and other typography principles? We didn’t think so. To upend your lack of interest, Oklahoma City-based designer Tom Davie of StudioTwentySix2 illustrates the principles of typography in posters while also providing a history of the objects he features. The results can be surprising, nostalgic, or eerie; the posters are all worth looking at.
One features an arrangement of children’s wooden letter blocks that spell out “Justified Column” and are physically arranged in the staggered way of, well, a justified column. Another celebrates the breathing room offered by white space on a page, with subtle shadows cast by hand-cut letters on poster board. “Smart quotes” and “dumb quotes” are differentiated and illustrated by quotes referencing intelligence. A poster illustrating “X Height,” which refers to the distance between the base and mean lines, pays homage to a 1990s Malcolm X movie poster. Helvetica and its implied history of making everything right, is also in the mix. A special call-out goes to library books and the due date type in back; we are all undoubtedly familiar with it.
It’s difficult not to get enraptured at Davie’s other photography series, each with a history attached, on the website. (Not everything is available to purchase.) Repackaged food products look like Pop Art. Photographs of tombstone typography–close-ups of old farewells in Ohio–feel surreal and depict the varieties of beautifully chiseled textures available.