I know you, like me, are still waiting for some student at RISD or SCAD to create the typographic web series the internet’s been waiting for. But in order to better appreciate the viral fodder whenever it comes about, it’s in good taste to learn something about the art form (other than Trajan is the movie font) from a few of the medium’s masters. That’s your cue to watch the PBS original web series Off Book.
The 13-episode, bi-weekly program created in collaboration with PBSArts.org “explores the ever-changing definition of art in the hands of the next generation of artists taking creative reigns and melding art with new media.” Said artist are supposed to be confident enough with their abilities that they leave their scripts behind while forging new artistic paths ‘off book.’ (And now you know from where the series got its name.)
You can certainly see that confidence from Jonathan Hoefler and Tobias Frere-Jones, who drip with artistic intellectualism (not that there’s anything wrong with that) in one of Off Book’s initial installments. The pair explains their area of expertise in the following terms: “Typefaces are not toys, they’re tools. They’re designed to solve problems.”
Hoefier and Frere-Jones are joined in the episode below by titans of type Paula Scher and Eddie Opara and infographic extraordinaires Julia Vakser and Deroy Peraza. Together they explain the impact and influence of typography and the visual representation of data on the world, as well as how and why they attempt to make that impact more meaningful.
Future installments of Off Book will focus on art forms created and/or invigorated by the internet, including the evolution of arts and crafts and meme cultures online, the art of Steampunk, video games, and papecraft, a profile of the internet famous and politically active F.A.T. Lab, and more.
Tune into PBSArts.org or YouTube to check them out. Your artistic horizons will be expanded.