I LOVE TYPOGRAPHY

The Voice of all the Gods

Today I’ve released two limited edition prints along with some originals. The prints are based on words penned by William Shakespeare and Dylan Thomas.

‘The Voice of all the Gods’ is a quote from Shakespeare’s ‘Loves Labours Lost.’ The first time I read the passage in which this phrase occurs I couldn’t get it out of my head for weeks. The words are extraordinarily rich, and I wanted my visual interpretation to reflect this. The main source of inspiration for the letterforms comes from the 18th century, but I’ve tried to rework or re-imagine them in the spirit of our time. Above all, I wanted my interpretation of Shakespeare’s words to capture their shimmering beauty and harmony.

‘The Voice of all the Gods’
Signed edition of 100, 594 X 420 mm.
Metallic Gold ink on black Plike art paper.

Dylan Thomas’s ‘Do not go gentle into that good night’ is one of the most powerful and compelling poems I know. I have always found the words incredibly moving. Dramatic, fiery, beautiful and poignant — I wanted my interpretation to capture that. I developed a modern, sharpened italic style which I felt suited the tone of the piece, with what might be described as sharpened flourishes carefully integrated into the design. The forms are based on my cursive italic calligraphy which you can see demonstrated in the video below. I tried to do something unconventional and progressive with this piece. I wanted all the forms to be extremely graceful but also have a tension about them in keeping with the words. I wanted to evoke flames, lightning, and stars blazing in a night sky.

‘Do Not Go Gentle’
Signed edition of 200, 594 X 420 mm.
Gold foil blocked on Midnight blue Plike art paper.
© The Trustees for the Copyright of Dylan Thomas

I have also released several original pieces of art today. Here are two of them, the rest are on my website.

I designed bespoke Roman monumental capital letters. I then commissioned a very talented and respected letter carver to carve rude words into the finest Welsh slate using them.

‘Slate 1′
Bespoke Roman monumental capitals carved in Welsh slate.
50cm X 12.5cm X 7.5cm. Signed by the artist. One of a series of three.

‘Slate 2′
Bespoke Roman monumental capitals carved in Welsh slate.
25cm X 12.5cm X 7.5cm. Signed by the artist.
One of a series of three.

It has become apparent to me that doing calligraphy makes you a better type designer, and doing type design makes you a better calligrapher. That was a beautiful revelation to me and one that I hope I will continue to benefit from.

Seb Lester is a designer and artist whose clients include Apple, Nike, Intel, Absolut Vodka, Levi’s & The New York Times. You can find him on Twitter and Facebook.