Harry Pearce Lecture

Harry Pearce of Pentagram gave a lecture this evening on how found objects have inspired his practice. He began by sharing nonsense signs such as, “Avenue Road,” and “Pink Green.” He explains that his mentor taught him to collect these images to help clear his mind. Yet in a way he obsessed over them, leading to “Conundrums.” The work started as an experiment with one typeface, two colors and a box but quickly found its way into Pentagram’s Christmas calling book, a Saks Fifth Avenue catalog and finally its own book. The lesson is to “never give up on an idea.”

Harry’s aesthetic is usually very clean. He asks himself, “How dramatic can I be with the least amount of effort?” Then he takes full advantage of the duality of typography – in that “you have the meaning of the word and its form” – to deliver his message. In the case of an architect’s identity, he wanted to demonstrate how the space between the letters were as important as the letters themselves. He flipped the logotype to help the architect see his analogy to the importance of space between buildings.

Silence in music is as important as the notes.

For the Dana Centre, a science museum, Harry explored layered text in ways that became integrated into the architecture. Rhetorical questions, snippets of conversations found on the internet and non-existent branches of science permeate the windows, tables, and walls. The effect is playful yet inquisitive.

Harry concludes by explaining moments of synchronicity in his life where dreams that he recorded in text and sketch have materialized in some way. He cites a whale lake that he walked across and a line about butterflies that related to his neighbor’s music as examples. The importance of his dream journal is his ability to refer back to it in his creative work.

Great graphic design is about truth: a perfect reduction of thought into a line.

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