The Daily Edit – Dan Tobin Smith: Alphabetical

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Alphabetical:  Dan Tobin Smith 

Heidi: Is there a secret message/anagram in the letter forms you’ve photographed thus far?
Dan: No, but its funny being able to spell more words each time you make a new letter, especially rude ones!

Where did your love of type come from?
I think there is something very satisfying about making the form of type but in reality. The form exists already so in a sense you are just filling in, and that can be done in so many ways.

Typographically what inspired you to create the 16 letters thus far?
They are all Helvetica, although they have been distorted somewhat in their photographic interpretation. I wanted to use a simple font that acted as a conduit for the different treatments. Sometimes there is a reason behind the letter and the content and sometimes there’s no reason apart from visually I thought they would work together.

 

 

All are stunning though I particularly enjoyed the textural and tactile quality of X. How did that specific idea develop?
We (the set designer Nicola Yeoman and I) liked the idea of marking a spot and we thought marking by cutting open would work with wood really well. Once it was done, it presented lots of visual opportunities by changing light and perspective.

Was there a thrill to the destruction into something beautiful for the X?
It was definitely fun watching it take shape from an outline in masking tape!

For your mesmerizing film T, how big of a space did you need for that?  and what was the genesis of this piece?
The space was a railway arch in Shoreditch, East London. The letter T is symmetrical back to front, ie you can flip it horizontally and it looks the same. Because of this I wanted to use the light very specifically so that two different light treatments could be achieved in one moment . This meant it could be filmed from two sides at the same time.

 

What exactly is exploding in that lovely form?
I’m pretty sure it was talcum powder! which is very fine, but wont kill you if you breathe a bit in.

Do you have a favorite font?
I think what I love most about typography is the variation, so pinning down one in particular would be impossible.

Heidi Volpe

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