Typographic Art Stuff
Jonathan Looman defines his work as typographic art stuff. His work has a strong typographic base. He uses investigative methods to tackle typography and tries to find the border where design, art, typography, and image meet. He brings in ‘stuff’ to lighten the term.
A series of projects that reflect the identity of this typographic artist is the Drop projects. Lowman is the co-founder, programmer, DJ and graphic designer for this series of nights. Being his own client meant they had the freedom to design an evening concept in which they could share their own taste in music, design, and art with the public. With Drop, Lowman was able to show his broad background and his many influences. This has been an important project from which lots of new opportunities and ‘stuff’ has sprung.
For GDFB Lowman brings in several projects as well. For the Greytones exhibition MyCity, he will be part of the city battle. Several cities will battle with a group of local designers who will claim their domain. Lowman is a member of the ‘The Hague crew’. He will battle against Utrecht based design studio’s Hoverkraft and Autobahn. His poster raises the question about the fact that both German names evoke associations of efficient and clear Germanic typography vs. their actual illustrative and experimental style of work.
For the poster project, Lowman used decoding as a steppingstone to look at graphic design from a different angle. He likes to question rules and norms within a social context but also within Design. A dominant norm in west European design is that typography and typefaces should be easy to read and neutral in shape and meaning. Lowman thinks this is a very narrow point of view. And like every generation, ethnic- and social group creates its own culture and codes of conduct. He thinks modern day design should not only listen to obsolete norms but should evolve, create and manipulate the rules to suit this day and age. Decoding is not used literally but he is giving structure to the chaos of elements that influence people and then uses it to show how graphic design works.
Graphic designers have always been redefining their limitations by researching how human behavior is influenced by design. There is no longer one opinion about the way design should be viewed which creates space for designers to play with.
For readers to be able to decipher or decode a message, rules are necessary, says Lowman. When making a puzzle you first start with the edges so you know where the borders are before filling the content. Graphic designers have always been redefining their limitations by researching how human behavior is influenced by design. There is no longer one opinion about the way design should be viewed which creates space for designers to play with.
This leads to the 3rd project Lowman will take part in. Ongoing, a poster project presented by GVD (Go Dive More Often) is an initiative by several designers. The project gives an interpretation of the manifesto of Chicago based graphic designer Bruce Mau. Input is the 43 statements of the manifesto, output is 43 posters that could decode anybody. Starting with: 01 Allow events to change you.
By Roos Giethoorn for Publication Graphic Design Festival Breda 2010 (now Graphic Matters)