Helvetica Modified
Parsons the New School for Design, 2008

Project brief: Make a new weight of Helvetica that is not simply a bold or italic, extended or condensed. Your weight should add to, complicate or personalize Helvetica in some way.

: I started by looking at the characteristics of Helvetica — how it is famous for its simplicity and neutrality. What happens when Helvetica becomes biased or has a mind of its own? Politics is a great example of non-neutrality, the very existence of left-wing and right-wing politics is the representation of trust or preference of one system over another. How can Helvetica be revamped or transformed to fit such a context?

: I halved the letterforms of Helvetica, leaving the remaining left and right sides, naming the new versions Helvetica Left-Wing (HLW) and Helvetica Right-Wing (HRW) respectively. I then designed a double-sided poster, the front (slide 3) bearing the speeches of the democrat candidate, Barack Obama (set in HLW) and the republican candidate, John McCain (set in HRW). The back (slide 4) is set in the exact content of the front, except that it is flipped, so that when you hold the poster up against the light, it becomes readable (slide 5). The poster is cryptically folded into a mailer-like form.

Size: 17.5"w X 28"h