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One Island to Another Named to Top 100 Examples of Graphic Design 2020

The Society of Typographic Arts (STA) names this speculative poster project one of the top 100 best examples of graphic design.

Studio Ostendo is excited to announce that "One Island to Another," a project featuring the Caeli poster and font development, has been named one of the top 100 examples of graphic design by the Society of Typographic Arts (STA). This recognition highlights the speculative and thought-provoking nature of the project, which brings together typography, poetry, and a powerful climate message. In this blog article, I’ll share a bit about the journey of the Caeli poster, its unique design elements, and the small impact it has made in the world of graphic design.

One Island to Another: The Project Unveiled

"One Island to Another" represents a lovely collaboration between indigenous poets Kathy Jetñil-Kijiner from the Marshall Islands and Aka Niviâna from Greenland. Their convergence at the source of rising seas becomes a powerful moment of artistic solidarity, where their poetry intertwines to convey a powerful climate message. Their work serves as the backdrop for the poster.

The poster serves as the first print use of Caeli, a speculative variable font specifically developed as part of the Trinity Christian College Summer Grant 2020 which supplies faculty members with research stipends. 

The Fusion of Text and Image

The poster itself is a composition that blends the poem "Rise" by Jetñil-Kijiner and Niviâna with stills from the video created by the poets. The typographic treatment captures the essence of the poetic verses, accentuating their emotional impact through carefully considered lines interwoven with poetic prose. However, what sets the poster apart is the incorporation of a tangible, dynamic element—red letters cast in ice from Caeli’s original molds.

The Melting Process

When the poster was first composed, the red letterforms were pristine, beautifully contrasting against the printed matter. But as time progressed, an intriguing transformation took place—one with a designed interruption. The ice began to melt, and the letterforms transitioned from solid to liquid, symbolizing the melting ice caps and, conversely, rising sea levels. The overlapping, muddied, and distorted red letterforms metaphorically represent the encroaching consequences of climate change, ultimately consuming the printed surface underneath.

The Significance of the STA Recognition

The Society of Typographic Arts (STA), with its rich history and commitment to advancing the field of design, has been curating the top 100 examples of innovative communication design since 1979. Being named among this prestigious selection is a testament to the artistic brilliance and impactful message conveyed by "One Island to Another." The project's ability to fuse typography, poetry, and climate advocacy showcases the power of design as a vessel for intersectionality and voice.

"One Island to Another" and its Caeli poster and font development have rightfully earned their place among the Society of Typographic Arts' Top 100 examples of graphic design. This project not only exemplifies the power of collaboration between artists from different corners of the world but also showcases the capacity of typography and design to communicate pressing environmental issues. Through its dynamic visual elements, the Caeli poster aims to convey the urgency of climate change. As we celebrate this remarkable recognition, we are reminded of the profound influence that design can wield in shaping conversations, raising awareness, and inspiring action for a better future.

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Detail of ice letterforms fresh out of the freezer. Notice the ice crystals and rigid forms floating above the paper poster.
Frozen letter detail. Lowercase 'h' with fragmenting piece.
The poster was printed with outlined letterforms to annotate where ice letters needed to be placed. This sped up the alignment process which needed to be quick given the melting letters.
Poster image detail.
Letterform detail. The ice crystals stayed relevant even while water started to run onto the poster.
Poster and letterform details.
As letterforms began to melt, the meniscus effect of the water created little curls and bubbles.
The melting water was looked pink instead of red and letterforms bled into one another.
Water from the melting letters began to overlay and distort the black and white images.
Ice letters melting onto the substrate poster.

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