Peculiar Type

A study of the uniquely commonplace


Exhibition Catalog

8.5 x 11 inches

72 color pages, 92 photographs, hand-bound

Published May 2017


Produced for an exhibition by the same title, Peculiar Type uses found type from around the world to show just how differently similar we all are. The catalog combines photographs of vernacular, or found, type with written works by Jonathan Foyle, Archbishop Emeritus Desmund Tutu, and Maya Angelou. The exhibition and catalogue share examples of common text and imagery from around the world in an effort to highlight the similarities we share, despite our cultural differences. The writings focus making active choices to communicate, reconcile, and recognize.


Creative Direction

In order to capture the conflicting ideas of 'different' and 'same', the photos in the catalog were grouped into loose concepts. The differences were typically apparent straight away by either the choice of typeface or language used. Commonality was achieved by grouping together photos with similar subjects, styles, or looks. Imagery was combined with carefully selected poetry, quotes, and essays from Jonathan Foyle, Archbishop Desmund Tutu, and Maya Angelou, among others. The book was typeset

using Template Gothic as a display type and Mr. Eaves XL for body copy. Template Gothic is, ironically a very peculiar typeface, and was chosen specifically to complement the irregular styles displayed in the exhibition's photos without directly competing with them. Mr. Eaves XL was common enough to give the body text an easy readability without distracting the reader from the imagery.


Reader Experience

The Peculiar Type exhibition and catalog are primarily a visual experience. Images were printed with a blue and white monotone hue to draw the reader into the type and not to the color palette of the source location. The notable exception to this theme was the middle spread of the book which was printed in stark red on a half-page. The images from this spread, and the pages preceding and following it, reference the Jewish Holocaust — the modern era's most striking failure to recognize our shared humanity.


Peculiar Type offers readers the opportunity to view the obvious differences in a variety of world cultures. But more importantly, it allows the reader to ponder the similarities and subjects of the type. And as is mentioned in the foreword of the book, "the exhibition asks if these pictures of found type and the messages they convey can break free of their origins and appear so ordinary, might we consider if that neighbor, co-worker or faceless stranger across the seas is so peculiar after all?"