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DISsECTING
THE
ALPHABET.

Emma Cacciatori / www.bipolarunicorn.com
revistaeatualizada.blogspot.it / creativosonline.org / natalierix.com

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His name is Andreas Scheiger, but to me he’s already become typogrophy’s answer to
Dr. Frankenstein. Before starting the study on him, I had already imagined him sitting
in his “wunderkammer” (wonder-room) vivisecting and photographing his letters (of
the alphabet, just to be clear), the raw materials that give life to text, down to the finest
detail. We are in fact dealing with a surgeon who operates with a stern hand, but let
us stress that, with tounge firmly in cheek, the (typographical) bodies under his glare
adopt a gory three-dimensionality as his creative knife cuts into their insides.
He defines himself as a graphic designer and sculptor but there’s more to him than
that. There is the curiosity of a tireless handyman satisfying his need to experiment
without fear of disaster.
On his blog he describes every evolutionary stage of his research. “If any steps are
missing and you can’t find any documented letters here” says Andreas, “it’s because
I was so engrossed in the process that I forgot to take any photos”.

For his project titled “The Evolution of Type”, he has taken inspiration from graphic
designer Frederic W. Goudy (1865-1947) and his work “The Alphabet and Elements
of Lettering”. The materials used for his work on typographical anatomy and
regeneration are unusual and varied such as clay, wood, coral, shells, hot glue
and dried leaves. He is most enthusiastic however, about bones. “The first part of
creating a letter is the most enjoyable. The discovery of the skeleton. Mmmh...”. He
writes his blog next to a photo of a plate of chicken thighs, but then things start
to get complicated. “The E is made out of veins” he says, “it’s one of the hardest
challenges I’ve ever faced! The veins kept breaking, they’ve been unforgiveable”.
The highs and lows had been calculated right from the beginning, the mission being
to commit an aesthetic dignity to the letter, to be as close as possible to a human
body. It’s no accident that some characters have been put in amber, a resin that is
able to preserve insects and plants for millions of years. “If the letters had an organic
origin, they would also be trapped in the tree resin” he says. He then shows us the
metamorphosis of the A and the evolutionary phases of the other letters, each one
stuck in its resin, located in its glass case, to capture the life that pulsates under the
flesh of the ink.
Am I right, Dr. Frankenstein?

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