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News / Exhibitions

“Typographic Jazz: The Monoprints of Jack Stauffacher” Runs January 27 – May 26, 2024

An exhibition of rarely seen work explores the iconic Bay Area printer’s playful and improvisational process.

Letterform Archive has a long and close relationship with the work of Jack Stauffacher. We hold a significant run of his Greenwood Press books; we published a book on his wood type prints; and we are the home of his studio archive. This last collection — rich in private experiments — sparked the idea for an exhibition of the artist’s work that has yet to be shown in public. Curated by Rob Saunders, the show explores Stauffacher’s playful and improvisational typography and features more than 100 prints, sketches, iterative proofs, and other explorations of his creative process.

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“Subscription to Mischief: Graffiti Zines of the 1990s” Runs May 6, 2023 – January 7, 2024

A first-of-its-kind exhibition captures the innovation and community of graffiti, as seen in the pages of indie publications.

Our next exhibition celebrates a combination seldom seen on museum walls. Featuring Greg Lamarche’s archives and Letterform Archive’s collection of graffiti magazines, Subscription to Mischief explores 1990s graffiti zines with a special focus on the making of Skills. It highlights original works by prominent and lesser-known writers of the ’90s through the pieces, throwups, and handstyles featured in letters, flick trade photos, and magazine submissions. Taking a close look at practitioners as documentarians, and how magazines served as launch pads for creative careers, Subscription to Mischief is a time capsule of graffiti letterforms and a tribute to the community formed through snail mail.

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Strikethrough: Typographic Messages of Protest on View July 23, 2022–April 16, 2023

Letterform Archive’s second exhibition celebrates design that empowers communities and fights oppression.

In collaboration with Polymode, we’re excited to announce Strikethrough: Typographic Messages of Protest, a new exhibition on view beginning July 23, 2022. Curated by Silas Munro of the design studio Polymode with Stephen Coles of Letterform Archive, the exhibition will feature more than 100 objects, including broadsides, buttons, signs, t-shirts, posters, and ephemera spanning the 1800s to today.

In sections exploring the many ways to voice dissent (VOTE!, RESIST!, LOVE!, TEACH!, and STRIKE!), the show will chart a typographic chant of resistance across more than a century of protest graphics.

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Beyond the Bauhaus: Ecuador, Land of the Shuar

Vanessa Zúñiga Tinizaray refocuses geometric and systematic design principles on a culture far from 20th-century Europe.

Vanessa Zúñiga Tinizaray
This article supplements a Bauhaus Typography at 100 interview with Vanessa Alexandra Zúñiga Tinizaray.
See the interview

Letterform Archive’s current exhibition celebrates, among many things, the centenary of the Bauhaus. Such recognition indicates the significant impact of the school in modern culture. The Bauhaus has become synonymous with minimal and geometric systems of design. This makes it convenient to attribute this school of thought as a source for any graphic work that shares these characteristics, but similar ideas have been around long before the Bauhaus. The Ecuador, the Land of the Shuar poster that is part of the “Beyond the Bauhaus” section of the show is an example of contemporary designers practicing some of the principles associated with the school, and, in this case, principles rooted in a marginalized history.

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Typefaces Inspired by the Bauhaus

From Futura to ITC Bauhaus, our survey of Bauhaus type continues with a look at typefaces that adopted the school’s simplified, geometric ideals.

László Moholy-Nagy, cover for Bauhaus Buildings Dessau (Bauhausbauten Dessau), 1930. This late Bauhaus Book may be the only official Bauhaus publication to use a typeface inspired by the school (Futura Black), though it was perhaps lettered by hand with the type as a model.
This article supplements Archive Salon Series 29: Bauhaus Typefaces. Members can access the recording.
Watch the Video

Our first installment of this two-part series showcased the various typefaces found in official publications and other objects by Bauhaus instructors and students. We learned that the type used at the school was primarily utilitarian, readily available to printers at the time. But what about the radical geometric letterforms we connect to Bauhaus principles? Let’s look at minimalist typefaces inspired by the school, many of which live on as commercial successes long after the institution was forced to close down.

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Typefaces Used by the Bauhaus

The school’s main typographic story is not about inventing radical typefaces, but using existing typefaces in a radical way.

Nameplate for bauhaus magazine, vol. 1, no. 1, 1926.

Letterform Archive’s inaugural exhibition, Bauhaus Typography at 100, displays nearly 200 objects representing the school’s influence on printed design. From its start in 1919, the Bauhaus incorporated mass production techniques in the creation of artworks across various programs offered on campus, from architecture and product design to textiles and graphics. While the school has come to be known for a simplified, geometric approach across all these disciplines, the exhibition narrates an evolution of letterform styles and illuminates the many people who developed what we now recognize as Bauhaus typography. As a companion to December’s Archive Salon, this two-part article series focuses on the core material that shaped Bauhaus typography: the typefaces.

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Bauhaus Typography at 100 Opens Nov. 13, 2021

The wait is over. Letterform Archive welcomes you to our new home to experience the inaugural exhibition of our first-ever gallery.

Bauhaus Typography at 100 banner

We’re thrilled to announce the opening of our first gallery with an exhibition of more than 150 pieces from our permanent collection.

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