For my final Language and Letterform project, I was assigned the task of creating 2-3 typographic posters incorporating quotes from a famous person or from a famous book/movie/piece of media. I was allowed to use either digital resources like Adobe Illustrator or hand-draw the final pieces using whatever materials I felt were necessary to best represent the quotes I chose. I paid very careful attention primarily to how I could turn the text of the quotes I chose into art, or merge text and imagery together into one, which was the whole point of the project in the first place, and I think I achieved this especially well using Adobe Illustrator for all of my posters. Due to my persisting interest in science fiction and fantasy, I unsurprisingly chose two quotes from one of my favorite science fiction authors: Arthur C. Clarke– whose novel Childhood’s End remains one of my favorite novels by him (and ever) to this day, and one quote from Lewis Carroll (since I love his tales of Alice in Wonderland and Alice through the Looking-Glass).
The first typographic poster on the left that says “Two possibilities exist: either we are alone in the Universe or not. Both are equally terrifying” (a famous Arthur C. Clarke quote), was directly inspired compositionally by the Arecibo message and its alleged response by alien visitors in the form of their own “Arecibo message” that appeared overnight in a field of crops next to the Chilbolton Radio Telescope. Carl Sagan’s original Arecibo message was sent by radio in the 1970s, and supposedly got a response 30 years later in 2001. The poster is supposed to depict the comparative similarities between us humans and our alien visitors by putting our solar system and their solar system (as depicted in the Arecibo response, where the aliens say they have colonized the third, fourth, and fifth planets of their system) side by side. The hands of the human on the left and the alien on the right are purposefully put close to each other with the word “NOT” is sandwiched in between, signifying to the viewer that the possibility remains that we are not alone in the Universe and that we are at the brink of making true alien contact with beings who have possibly been watching us for a very long time. As the Arthur C. Clarke quote states, if we are truly alone in the Universe, the prospect of that revelation would be horrifying since it would mean we are solely responsible for the preservation of life throughout the Universe and thus have a duty to advance technologically and culturally as much as possible before we are destroyed by some inevitable disaster. On the other hand, if we are not alone in the Universe, then the terrifying possibility remains in which we will either be wiped out by malevolent alien invaders, or judged for our actions by other alien races.
The second typographic poster in the middle above that says: “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic” depicts my second Arthur C. Clarke quote. I took some more liberties with this second poster and really tried to form an image out of the text of the quote, thereby turning it into an art piece. All the words in the quote form a flying saucer-like craft, with the word “any” forming the transparent cockpit above, for example. I distorted most of the text in the quote using various Adobe Illustrator tools like the Warp tool and by slanting some of the text to give off the illusion of movement (the word “advanced”, for example, is purposefully slanted in section of the saucer resembling an arrow pointing to the right to represent and give off the idea of motion, speed, and progress towards something greater). The font of the word “technology” was specifically chosen because many of its letters (like O, for example) could be turned into windows for the saucer, and interspersed with the use of the flare tool (the bright lights in between the letters), evoked the appearance of some form of advanced technology. In the bottom of the poster, the word “magic” was purposefully given a very fantastical font. Its individual letters were all oriented towards the saucer under its “tractor beam” in order to evoke the notion that it is levitating (when in reality it is simply being pulled towards the saucer above). I took advantage of negative space in the poster a lot more than I did with my first poster: within the negative space of the word “any” on top of the saucer depicting (if you look closely), alien wizards with pointy wizard hats, bringing home the idea that magic and advanced technology might not be so different (and that early humans might have misinterpreted magic as extremely advanced technology). This core idea is reinforced through the presence of a very alien-like Merlin (who has the same gray pallid face as the alien wizards in the ship) teaching a young King Arthur the ways of “magic” to the left of the saucer, and the presence to the right of the saucer of a dragon-like creature kept in containment inside a force field (the dragon is re-contextualized not as mythical creature, but as a chimeric experiment by aliens gone horribly wrong).
The third, final, and most recent typographic poster on the right that I did illustrates my full integration of the text of a Lewis Carroll quote with imagery, turning the whole poster into something very much artistic and pleasing to the eye. I chose above Lewis Carroll quote, which says: “Imagination is the only weapon in the war against reality”, specifically because I felt it resonated with me personally as a person who is constantly disappointed by what reality has to offer (in comparison to my inner life inside my head). Since Lewis Carroll was (and still is) mostly well known for his tales of Alice discovering Wonderland, I turned all of the words in the quote by the author into a image or representation representing the various characters of Wonderland, while also adding some intricate extra imagery around the text that is color coded to the text the character pertains to. The word “Imagination”, to start off, has a silhouette of Alice metaphorically growing from a small innocent child to a more mature fighter ready to take on the terrors of the world (using her fantasies to fuel her determined spirit). The text for “Imagination”, which actually uses a font called “Alice in Wonderland”, is colored a light blue just like the dress Alice wears in many versions of the tale. It also features certain embellishments like the mushrooms Alice eats in the story, the various birds she encounters after she falls down the rabbit hole, and even the hookah-smoking caterpillar that directs her on her way. Starry sparkles accentuate the magic of “Imagination” and the beginning of Alice’s journey. The words “is” and “the” are colored pale brown and have clock imagery, while the h in “the” is turned into the head of a… hare, alluding to both the White Rabbit who is always in a rush, and the Mad Hare, who attends the Mad Hatter’s tea party (color-coded by the “in the” that is colored green, which alludes to the Mad Hatter’s green hat. The dot in the lower case i is also replaced with a teacup). The word “only” is very clearly turned into the image of the Cheshire Cat, especially given the text’s purple color that matches the cat’s purple fur. I chose the embellished font for him in particular because the descenders of the n and y could be reimagined as the cat’s paws and legs as he is dangling from the imagined tree branch Alice first meets him on). The words “WEAPON” and “WAR” are written in all caps in the DK Traiectum Regular and Imperator fonts, respectively, to emphasize the regal, warmongering, militaristic, and imperialistic tendencies of the Red Queen/Queen of Hearts and her regime over Wonderland. Both words are colored a bright crimson red to not only signify the color of a heart in a playing deck of cards but also to signify the colors of war, bloodshed, anger, and passion. The “W” in “WEAPON” is turned into the fancy striking collar of the Queen of Hearts, whose lower body resembles the body of a Queen chess piece and unleashes a stream of blood over the fallen White Queen (and drenches the King of Hearts), just as in the original story in which the Queen holds far more power than the King and tries to maintain her position as ruler of Wonderland. The word “against” is colored yellow, with the two As being turned into the twins Tweedledum and Tweedledee. The yellow also alludes to the looking-glasses or mirrors on the top right of the poster, which are also colored with the same shade of yellow as “against” and inspired my the actual mirror Carroll was himself inspired by for the sequel to Alice in Wonderland. The negative infinity and positive infinity signs next to the looking-glasses (whose distorted ripple effects were created using the Twirl Tool) denote not only the multiversal expanse of the imagination (i.e. the fact that your imagination is limitless and can take you to a multiverse of parallel worlds) but also Lewis Carroll’s profession as not only an author but also a mathematician and theorist. Alice in Wonderland is depicted thus not only a children’s fairy tale, but also as a satire and exploratory novel on the weird almost nonsensical world of mathematics and far-flung mathematical theory. Finally, the word “REALITY” in all caps is colored black with a gritty font and very clearly alludes to the Jabberwocky in the bottom third of typographic poster. In the Alice in Wonderland and Alice through the Looking-Glass universes, the Jabberwocky was first introduced by Carroll in a semi-unrelated nonsense poem (the most famous of its kind) telling the tale of a brave knight going up against the gargantuan draconic beast, and slaying it (a classic good vs. evil battle). “REALITY” in my poster is represented by the Jabberwocky, who in the movie versions of Alice in Wonderland was slain by Alice, but who may also be slain in real life by oneself if one has the guts to face the terrors of the world (and the terrors within one’s own being) head on, and become a better person after they are both eliminated. The Jabberwocky’s tail twirls around the pillar of blood of Red Queen, and surrounds the fallen White Queen, showing how all three entities are inextricably linked (especially in the movie versions of Alice in Wonderland).
Personally, although I worked hard on all three of my typographic posters, I think the third one with the quote by Lewis Carroll was the one that I think I managed to fully realize by merging text, font, and imagery together to create something beautiful and inspiring.