The Hoffmitz Milken Center for Typography [HMCT] South Campus Gallery presents “nice” —an installation designed and curated by HMCT 2018 Typographer-in-Residence, Lucienne Roberts. The public is invited to an opening reception this Thursday, June 28, from 6–9 p.m. The exhibition runs through September 23, 2018.
Roberts is a design graduate of Central St Martins College of Art and Design, University of the Arts London and has been practicing as a graphic designer, design writer/educator for over 25 years. In 2012 she co-founded GraphicDesign&, a publishing and curatorial venture that foregrounds how graphic design connects with all subject matter. GD&’s two most recent projects are Hope to Nope: Graphics and Politics 2008–18 currently running at London’s Design Museum until August 2018, and Can Graphic Design Save Your Life?
For this exhibition, Roberts’ starting point was a poster initially featured in the Hope to Nope exhibition carrying the following provocation: “Slogans in nice typefaces won’t save the human races.” The message of the poster is apocalyptic — the human race needs to be rescued. Furthermore, it warns of the dangers that arise when meaning and aesthetics become disassociated and designers design primarily for themselves. With the intentions of teasing out its meaning, and arguing for an alternative position, “nice” presents multiple re-workings of the poster’s message. Alongside displays exploring the power of the slogan through time, the definition of “nice” is used to describe different typefaces and the democratizing effect of print and typography in sharing human knowledge and experience.
The first section of “nice” pairs a set of advertising, religious, and political slogans each opposite Oddly Head’s poster to ask if history bears out that its message is “true.” Another section displays email correspondence between Roberts and a select group of graphic designers and typographers including Erik Spiekermann, Paula Scher, and Hamish Muir, in which she asks them to cite five “nice” typefaces. “nice” also presents a collection of books, one of which is a rare facsimile of typographer/printer Giambattista Bodoni’s famed Oratio Dominica of 1806, in which the Lord’s Prayer is reproduced in 155 languages.
Roberts’ colleague David Shaw and Lavinia Lascaris, the 2018 HMCT typography fellow and a recent graduate of ArtCenter’s MFA Graduate Graphic Design (MGx) program, assisted with the installation and design of the exhibition. Additional installation assistance was provided by HMCT ArtCenter staff, and students Lulubi Garcia, Joshue Molina, Roberto Rodriguez, and Jorge Ruano.
“nice” is organized by the Hoffmitz Milken Center for Typography and made possible by the generous support of the Lowell Milken Family Foundation.