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Press Release

September 7, 2010

kids with paper

Photography: ECAL/Nicolas Haenni
Typography: ECAL/Jeremy Schorderet


Compton Gallery at MIT
September 7, 2010 - February 20, 2011


October 27, 2010, 6:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.
77 Massachusetts Ave.
MIT Building 3, Room 270

Beyond Helvetica: A Look at the Power of Typography
Lecture with Ken Barber

Ken Barber is a renowned type designer who will share his thoughts on the artistic and commercial value of type and letter.

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CAMBRIDGE, MA - September 7, 2010 - Types We Can Make: A Selection of Contemporary Swiss Type Design, opening September 7 in the MIT Museum Compton Gallery, graphically examines the ways in which the field of typography has been radically transformed through the variety of media available today. The exhibition was organized by the MIT Museum in collaboration with the University of Art and Design Lausanne, Switzerland (ECAL), and swissnex Boston.

"Because the teaching of the craft is once again being taken seriously, and consequently it is debated how to set type in a powerful way that establishes meaning, there is a great deal of experimentation in Switzerland at the moment. Many new typefaces are being created…graphic designers and type designers are talking to each other again,"says designer Jonas Vögeli.

With the explosion of digital media and international communications, the importance of type design has risen from a practice of craft, to an exacting and principled art form, one that has attracted new designers and artists to the field. Swiss designers, in particular, have historically contributed to the development of modern type, (Helvetica was created in 1957 by a team of Swiss designers) and their legacy is explored in this exhibition as new designers draw on the past. ECAL Director Pierre Keller explains, "Swiss excellence in graphic design still has many bright days ahead of it: you can be sure that Swiss typography will continue to be spelled out in capital letters!”

Along with expanding opportunities for creatively using letters as the substrate in messaging, exposing art, and publicizing new products, has come an elevation in the art world of the designers themselves. World-class contributors who work internationally – professors, students and practicing graphic designers – come together in this unique exhibition of new work and new ideas.

Jonas Vögeli also points out that "Digital technology is increasingly influencing the production of typeface…. they sprout like mushrooms. Their number is disturbing."His concern that typeface has become so easy to produce because of technology (now some are used only once) exposes how deeply digital technology has disrupted what once was a small world of designers and craftsmen. Today’s designers show in this unique exhibition a fascination with open source design and with the intersection of technology and graphic design. They bring a force of innovation that shows their deliberative interest in the creation of new tools and new machines to illuminate ideas, and to gain an interaction from their audience that is both inventive and reflective of 21st century communication and design.

Poster illustrations, magazines, corporate identity, and digital scripting projects for interactive design are some of the work on display in the Compton Gallery, located in the main MIT building at 77 Massachusetts Avenue in Cambridge. The gallery is open 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. daily; admission is free. A hardcover catalog with essays and photographic reproductions will be on sale at the MIT Museum Store for $20.00.

Exhibition Concept and Project Direction

Pierre Keller, Director ECAL, Professor EPFL

Pascal Marmier
Consul, Director
Consulate of Switzerland, swissnex Boston

Gary Van Zante
Curator Architecture and Design
MIT Museum

Exhibition Design

Alexis Georgacopoulos
Head, Master Product Design ECAL


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