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Make My Mandala
November 08, 2013
Type City Cleveland brings the city's iconic features to life in font
By Jennifer P. Grasso
The Cleveland Museum of Natural History’s T. rex in blocky letters reminiscent of the bulletin board in an elementary school; Saint Michael’s the Archangel Church decked out in the curves and angles of a font aptly named University Roman; the William S. Mather, strong in heavy, bold type; and the Rock Hall Skate Park, edgy and punk in none other than Roadkill. These are just a few of the Cleveland hotspots celebrated in Type City Cleveland, a series of unique prints by CIA students now on view in Concourse B of Cleveland Hopkins International Airport. They bring Cleveland landmarks to life using nothing but…well, type.
Graphic designer Chris Ramsay introduced the idea to students when he was teaching at CIA in 2007. He’d been awe-struck when viewing some typeface marketing pieces from Veer, a Seattle-based design firm. Ramsay explains, “Veer has great content, and are the first stop on my journey to find creative assets that will support a given project. Their staff is amazing, and they put out some very creative printed pieces to showcase their work. When their Type City printed piece came out, I literally had to sit down and look through it again and again. I had goose bumps. But not regular goose bumps, the designer ones…with serifs.”
Veer’s Type City introduced familiar and iconic urban facets, such as a community hall, fire station, or opera house – but built them entirely out of typeface. Type City Cleveland takes that idea and brings it home.
Each student in Ramsay’s class chose an iconic Cleveland venue along with a Veer typeface that best represented it and created a rendering using only that typeface. Ramsay repeated this project over four years, with the caveat that students could not choose a venue or typeface that had already been used. The images took anywhere from 30 to 100 hours to create. The result is a collection of over 30 different prints celebrating Cleveland.
Jacqueline Muhammad, manager of community relations at the airport explains that Hopkins is taking Cleveland’s Art in Everything! initiative to heart. Art in Everything!, launched in 2007 by Mayor Frank Jackson, is an effort to draw attention to the rich cultural and artistic diversity in Cleveland.
Muhammad says, “Art truly is in everything and it’s our goal, as a Cleveland facility and as part of the Art in Everything! initiative, to have a reflection of that artistic talent in our city on display here in our airport. The airport is the door to our city, so we make sure what we have on display gives the traveling public a taste of what they’ll found out in Cleveland when they leave our airport. And we want Clevelanders to know that the airport is connected to what is happening in their city, and when they get off their flight they have that feeling of ‘I’m home’.”
Type City Cleveland has been on exhibit in the B Concourse at Hopkins since October and will be up through early 2014. All of the images on display were printed and mounted by Images Media Lab.
If you have a flight scheduled at Hopkins, be sure to check it out. If you’re not traveling anytime soon, you can view (and purchase) prints through the Type City Cleveland website, typecitycleveland.com.
Above: Cleveland Skyline in Veer typeface Cocktail Shaker. Designed by Erin Pilawski ’09.
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