Max Hurley Manifesto Grotesk

  • Tauira / Student
    Max Hurley
  • Kaiako / Lecturers
    George Hajian, Phoebe Ellis

This publication is a manifesto dedicated to type and its design framework. The work contains several “Articles” which renounce clichés and beliefs, to critique and satirise. Each proposed “Article” is presented through an original display typeface.

The articles in Manifesto Grotesk have a “dogmatic” approach to disrupt convention and utility. Their fundamental goal is to unveil the concealed and forging typefaces along the path, which are unorthodox, abrasive and avant-garde. They abandon utility and convention to adopt the obscene and the deformed. These articles attempt to alter assumptions about what is a good typeface and what isn’t.

The work is a direct response to self-proclaimed authorities, experts, and masters who attempt to dictate what form type ought to be. It parodies the words of Dieter Rams and David Carson, poking fun at the hegemony. The manifesto seeks to dissect the established bias of an industry saturated with white men and unravel the natural aporia of type. The non-functional facets of type are in constant conflict with its functional aspects. It holds the aesthetic characteristics of an art form, and at the same time struggles for legibility and utility— it inherently contradicts itself.

Type fundamentally needs a framework to be legible. It needs limitations to communicate its objective. Therefore, typographic canon is constructed to appreciate, critique, and master type. Portions of this framework come through the technological limitations of printing; other fundamentals were developed through aesthetic enlightenment. However, sections of the type core have been distorted, to uphold rigid traditions which have been detrimental to contemporary creatives.

The typographic context is furthermore concealed. The framework has become unspoken—veiled through time, technological advancement, and inequality: a burdensome baggage. Additionally, the design community has regressed to venerating the long-dead patriarchs who established a taste for the mundane and modernist. Due to a lack of access and knowledge of foundational pillars of creative opportunity, the established voices hold influence. Awarding each other with constant acclaim and accolades, these alliances strive to keep concealing type beneath a heavy veil, to keep grasp of their creative significance.

We ought to reveal the frameworks which lay dormant, the hidden treasures which hold an abundance of information: The Articles of Type. These Articles must describe the previously obscured system, discuss its origins within religion/history, conceptual ideas around text, and type’s practical function within contemporary culture.

We must also recognize the natural discord of design as a practice. Type is and should be constantly subject to the opinions of the educated and uneducated, the young and old, all genders and faiths. Therefore, the articles of type are also subject to change, this publication can be rewritten, redesigned, and recycled. Type and design must contradict themselves, there must always be a healthy debate within the community.