Part 2 Exercise: Your manifesto

‘Manifestos have long been used within art, design and politics as a way of publicly proclaiming a new position…

Develop a manifesto that celebrates and visually presents your position on reading, typography or any other graphic design and book related activity. This could explore reading and legibility as well as reading and the idea of the text. Typeset it to reflect your position. For example, you may want to explore the enjoyment of playful typography, the importance of readability through the typesetting choices you make or demonstrate your position by presenting examples of type you think is illegible, ugly or dull. Use your manifesto to say what kind of typography you think is good, interesting, bad or beautiful – and why. You may want to use quotes from other artists or designers as part of your manifesto.

Reflect on your own experience as a reader. What kinds of books or reading do you enjoy and how do other typographers help to support this? Celebrate these examples of good practice or innovative approaches by proclaiming what makes for a better typographical world!’

What totally grabbed me from our notes, was Bruce Mau’s ‘Incomplete Manifesto for Growth’. I really loved it – and I actually see for the first time why we are always being encouraged to explore more broadly. Honestly, its always frustrated me until now; we are told  – ‘do more research, spend ages experimenting, do weird stuff’ – and the poor student (or me anyway)  is left thinking “Yeah but how the hell does that get me closer to nailing the brief?!” After all, you have given us a brief. Its always felt like being asked to swim off in the opposite direction for no particular reason. So. I get it. The word growth works for me! And I don’t think the advice only applies to design.

I decided to go in two different directions with this exercise – exploring what I want, and what I don’t want to read.

Firstly I started with a collection of fonts I like, with some text that describes their characteristics


I wanted to see if its actually possible to combine multiple type (which is usually not a good idea) Conclusion: Its hard!

Obviously, there are a lot of elements to keep control of, and its hard to balance.


I took a break, and started experimenting with stuff that annoys me as a reader…

This is tiny 6pt type, and the (ironic) lettering:

“My creativity is way more important than your reading comfort”.



I then embellished further, repeating the wording in another illegible typeface called

‘Bad behaviour’:




And adding my own hand written text in red (pencil tool)


Returning to my other idea, I played with various things, such as altering the flourish at the bottom to squares and adding some colour…



Um, sometimes when you’ve spent ages on the computer it doesn’t look like hours of messing about getting frustrated that things don’t look quite right – but rest assured I spent ages! Eventually, I decided I’d got things looking reasonable though I’m not entirely happy.

My Manifesto

Poster 1:


Here’s a close up, which actually has possibilities of its own? I think it works OK in landscape


Poster 2:


mymanifestodecorative10-01 mymanifestodecorative11-01


I  gave in and simplified the number of typefaces I was using for this poster and cut the wording at the bottom a little.

I enjoyed making the ‘unreadable’ one the most – this one was a bit of a pain. Its only simple when you are far more experienced than me!







First Things First 1963-4

Bruce Mau


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