»(…) does not describe an explosion in an existing space, but the mutual creation of matter, space and time from an original singularity. More specifically, (…) is the designation of a formal point […] of an expanding universe. It is attained while looking at the development in time backwards to the point.« Regarding the big bang from a graphical perspective, it perfectly describes the incredible process of transformation and manifestation of disorder into visual definitions. What starts with a point and ends with a universe—as a creation of matter, space and time through a structured and designed shape—can be read as a blueprint of writing, typography and type design. Our name »IAMGOD« is to be understood as a literal allusion to this creational process—a hommage to the immense meaning of letters, their visuality and concepts—and their fundamental creational nature.
It started with our dedication to stylewriting, the intense studying and elaboration of the infinite »styling« of letters within different environments. Examining the visual elements that letters consist of led us to the question which underlying rules they are following and how to bend and break them; as well as how far the shapes of letters can be abstracted or altered, in a way that they are still readable. Thus, as students of visual communication, this playful research concluded in a highly interest in typography and writing systems: Which insights and which conclusions does the studying of type-history allow? How does the progress of technique influence our way to write, and therefore to think? How does it influence the visuality of letters? Which visualities are possible within the concept of different letters? How does the visuality of letters influence the perception of information? What societal and interhuman feedback does the visuality of writing systems cause? After a decade, this very process still is important and fascinating for us. Certainly as various specific subject areas mesh together—the human ability to learn and to perform different languages and affiliated writing systems, the human brain itself, motoric skills, education, historical and cultural influences to name a few. It gives a hint to the infinite possibilities of research and development.
Whilst each person has its very own style of handwriting and therefore each handwritten big bang has its unique visual expression, it might be enlightening to compare the idea of ubiquitous uniqueness to the approach of architects of the countless digital typographical universes: Which tools—in terms of digital typefaces—do they provide to those which want to manifest their information? As tools might be a misleading terminology, preferably we would say: Which ways of expression do they provide? Which position do they take? Do they already understand the typefaces itself as content? Or do they fall into the outdated trap of considering the ways of expression they design as neutral tools, which stand back behind the content and whose concepts have solely to serve certain needs of graphic design? A dangerous fallacy; but a closer look at the commercial and academic context and selfdescription is sobering. It seems that typedesign is mostly still understood as a craft, which has no autonomous quality. An empty discipline, occupied by discussions on readability and technical needs, which is necessary, of course, but obstructs space for other approaches. Visuality always bears a discursive potential. In typedesign this potential is mostly not even expressed or at least perceived as such. A lot of production is based on the method of repetition of prosperous marketed typefaces, which is a common economic logic. Unfortunately, therewith comes a system of visual fascism and oppression of style and culture.
»Iamgod—Aesthetic and Semiotic Research and Development« is our platform to negotiate diverse narratives within the context of typedesign and typography. We put up different ideas to discussion—either through typefaces evolved out of a specific context or phenomenon, or a proposed manifest of an aesthetical outline through typefaces on such. Besides that, we publish researches, investigations or manifests on a curation of topics which we consider relevant for the progression of type and design culture—out of the self-perception as a pure craft to a position-taking authorship. Or, to put our approach in the wise words of RAMM:ELL:ZEE:, »A LOT OF PRIORITY TYPE PEOPLE TELL ME TYPE CAN NOT MOVE. IT CAN.«
Writing systems and the visuality of writing systems—typefaces—are a filter through which the respective world can be literally read. Cultural codes are accessible through the visuality of type and thus the other way around: through the visuality of type cultural codes can be created, ruptured or re-arranged. In an era where 160 letters of the U.S. president perform an absurd cyber-weapon, we, MGD AASRAD, find it more than necessary to take a readable position and re-think the possibilities of our profession. Lets take it back into discursive negotiation.