Today's Obsession: Loving Ugly

Cyber Cafe

It’s fascinating to me to watch new forms of design spring up from total accidents. The image above is an example of what I mean. Found it last night while my laundry was on spin cycle. Ugly cuss, ain’t it?

This one’s astounding in that it’s in so wrong, and yet, totally right. It’s a crazy freaked-out design decision someone actually meant to make.

What’s wrong about it is totally obvious: it was made by someone who knows nada about typography, so the volumes are a total wreck; the spatial composition makes no sense whatsoever. And, Cooper Black… what? Is this supposed to be some sort of freaked out Moscoso, or weird take on illuminated caps, or… what the hell is this horrible thing?

What I love here is being able to see the artisan’s hand in a digital piece where it was clearly never meant to happen. I think this might have been made in something where you essentially wrap a distortion envelope around some type and stretch it, like you used to be able to do with TypeTwister (omg it’s still around)—but they’ve clearly gone much further than just warping it. You can see where they’ve gone into the individual forms and tried to sculpt them in ways that were just not accounted for in the design of a typeface, or the software they used. It’s, like, busted!

This would be so awesome in the hands of a trained signpainter; it could be a swashed-out hot-rodded Cooper Black with custom forms all over the place. That’d actually be kinda perfect for a little shop sign found in Chicago, considering Oz Cooper, who designed the face, actually lived not far from where this sign menaces unsuspecting passers-by, hanging over them like some crazy type vulture.

Thanks to Stephen Coles, who pointed out that i was forgetting Victor Moscoso.

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