An independent archive of typography.

Lebenszeichen reader

Contributed by Massimiliano Audretsch on Jun 22nd, 2020. Artwork published in .
Lebenszeichen reader 1
Bruno Jacoby + Moritz Appich. License: All Rights Reserved.

This publication and the font it is typeset in have been made as part of an exhibition on Wolfgang Schmidt’s Lebenszeichen (“signs of life”) by Maxim Weirich, a graphic designer and artist developed his own system of signs using the human body as a starting point. His goal was to “measure the cosmos of experience – a gigantic project”. In a timeframe spanning from 1972 to 1979 he finished 262 out of 893 planned signs. In a folder about the Lebenszeichen, Wolfgang Schmidt said the following:

content: nearly everything humanly possible: (what one is has can: sensible, insensible, profound, senseless, supersensible, witless etc. thisandthat. nowandthen. hereandthere. Such and such, why? because.

The publication, All the things you are. The Signs of Life serves both as an exhibition reader and as an exhibition guide. Large texts describing the exhibited artefacts are accompanied by more in depth research material like interviews or scientific texts.

The large whole punched through the entire publication allows the exhibition to work entirely without texts: the text and the exhibition can be viewed at the same time. It also helps taking the publication from a two-dimensional print to more-object like qualities, allowing unexpected, playful interaction.

The design by Moritz Appich and Bruno Jacoby (Gruppo Due) centres around a typeface drawn on the same grid that Schmidt used for the design of his signs. It mirrors their modernistic sensibility and geometric construction. After having been revamped and redrawn for better usability, the typeface is now available in its retail form as G2 Kosmos.

During the design of the publication the Lebenszeichen have also been digitised for the first time and were combined into a standard dingbats-like font file. Each upper- and lowercase letter of the roman alphabet is assigned one sign. Additionally ligatures are used to display variants of the same sign, as Schmidt has drawn them. This works by repeatedly typing the same letter.

The research about Schmidt and experimentation with the sign are still on-going, and will be shown in an exhibition later this year.

Lebenszeichen reader 2
Bruno Jacoby + Moritz Appich. License: All Rights Reserved.
Lebenszeichen reader 3
Bruno Jacoby + Moritz Appich. License: All Rights Reserved.
Lebenszeichen reader 4
Bruno Jacoby + Moritz Appich. License: All Rights Reserved.

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