Despite–and perhaps because of–incredible advancements in technology, we’re constantly romanticizing the analog and near-obsolete. Turntables are perennially en vogue, physical books are having a good year and vinyl record sales continue to climb. In a recent article in the New York Times, writer Rob Walker gives one possible explanation for our anachronistic obsessions: “While the digital often comes close to crushing its analog precedents, that process can do something curious to its putative victims: underscore their virtues, elevate their status and transform the formerly workaday into something rarefied, special, even luxurious.”
In design, that specialness is often ascribed to pre-digital technologies like letterpresses, scanners, photocopiers, and the distinct aesthetic they produce. For a prime example, look no further than Spanish designer and art director Rubén Montero and his gorgeous and glitchy poster series Scanmania. Using a process that combines both an old-school photocopier and digital design software, Montero created a set of distorted and mangled typographic prints that look as though they got caught in a printer.
“The process is quite simple,” Montero writes in an email. After making a typographic poster with the text he wants to use, Montero then scans it, moving the original slightly while the scanner is in progress. “I looped the process with the same original while varying speeds, movements, rotations,” he says. “After some scans, the results were analyzed and in everyone of them some parts drew my attention.” He then isolated those parts with the help of editing software, cleaned up the background, and made some minor adjustments.
In the mostly black-and-white series, words ripple, melt, stretch and blur along the page. In one poster, a passage from William S. Burroughs’ Naked Lunch appears to slide down the poster, the type getting less and less legible the further it stretches; in others, crumbled type and ink blotches suggest a machine gone haywire. Most have a slightly spooky feel, like you should be viewing them while listening to the soundtrack to Suspiria.
Although they were made using digital technology, Montero says the process of manipulating the type with the scanner is what really makes the posters. “The hand-made has a charm which cannot be reproduced in digital,” he says. “The beauty of imperfection.”
View the posters in all their glitchy glory in the slide show above, or head over to Montero’s website.