Winter 2007

Digital dexterity

Hand Job: A Catalog of Type

By Michael Perry
Princeton Architectural Press, £20

The ‘left-handed artist’ has become so mainstream that the likes of David Shrigley and Modern Toss have regular slots in national newspapers, and hand-drawn typography, until recently confined to punk fanzines and gig flyers, is also coming in from the cold, pounced on by major brands and advertisers as a way of reaching a new generation of consumers.

In Hand Job, the American designer Michael Perry, whose own clients include MTV, Channel 4 and the Wall Street Journal, as well as Urban Outfitters and Rome Snowboards, presents work by more than 50 fellow hand-typographers. Open this book on any of its 258 pages to find some of the best examples of this new genre. Examples of finished work – complete sets of fonts, pages of illustrations, finished products such as skateboards, t-shirts and album covers – are accompanied by photographs of the artists and their studios, giving the reader an insight into the creative processes involved.

Every page is a piece of low-brow art, presented in an entertaining and humorous way that should bring it a far wider audience than the many designers who will buy the book and use it as a source of inspiration. My only negative criticism is the title, which is likely to undermine the work of these talented people by making it appear more juvenile than it actually is. A great book, and a pleasure to read.

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