Forms of Rockin’
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Tracing back the origins of letterforms in graffiti, you’ll find major figures who influenced hundreds of young people in the 1980s. Names like BANDO, SHOE, DELTA, etc. are often mentioned when it comes to the main influential leaders to the European graffiti scene. Digging deeper, New York as the city in which stylewriting was born shows up on the map with iconic names like SKEME, SEEN, ZEPHYR and others. Some ten years earlier BLADE, PHASE2, TRACY168 have been the first ones to do pieces instead of tags with outlines.
But is the evolution of letter pieces really that simple? Anssi Arte offers a bit more complex, but also a way more plausible history of letterforms. The Helsinki-based graphic designer and graffiti enthusiast presents a evolution from 1970s plattform letters to 1980s futuristic paris-amsterdam styles to 1990s ugly-style. The main key in his theory, is the inclusion of cultural influences of the different eras in stylewriting.
Whether it’s advertising, record covers, movie posters or cartoons: the connections between writing and the pop-cultural environment the author points out are very convincing and entertaining at the same time. The great visualizations of Anssi Artes ideas makes it easy following him through his style-safari.
Forms of Rockin’ is not only worth a read if you’re into the origins of stylewriting in a pre-internet world, it’s also a true milestone concerning illustrative layout and last but not least the first scientific approach of setting stylewriting in the cultural context of it’s respective time.
128 pages, 22 x 21 cm, Hardcover
Release date: September 2015