Amandine Alessandra: News & Projects / Portfolio

  1. An article by Cheryl Yau for PrintMag

    As pedestrians meander swiftly through urban grids, confronting billboards, scrolling through incoming texts and saturated Twitter feeds simultaneously, London-based designer Amandine Alessandra demands that they pause…with the use of typography.

    Eager to step away from digital fonts and ubiquitous desktop publishing software, Alessandra frequently turns to the urban environment, found objects and the human body as a resource for typography. She calls herself a live-type maker. “I have nothing against computers. I use lots of programs and I’m not saying one shouldn’t use them,” she explains, “I just think it’s nice to question your tools.” Alessandra’s typographic work not only challenges her viewers to consider the tools they use to communicate, but to be open minded about what letters could look like. Distorted by low-tech and unrefined methods of construction, each letter designed by Alessandra depends on the reader’s imagination for interpretation. “It’s accepting that if it looks vaguely like an A, it can be an A,” Alessandra states. “I think it’s a very postmodern approach to typography.”


    Inviting her audience to think and look more closely at the letterforms has been an ongoing goal in Alessandra’s work. Her latest project Dance with Me utilizes long exposure photography to capture letterforms created by micro-choreographed movements. Clothed entirely in black, each dancer uses quick short motions to draw a letter in the air with their hands. Each letter is a ghosted silhouette – the result of repetitive movement accumulated in a single static image. Coming from a background of photography, Alessandra prefers to use long exposure or stop motion over video to capture movement. “I find that video is quite difficult to share. Because you really take a lot of people’s time, even if it’s 10 seconds. People have very very low attention these days.”

    Sharing is an important aspect to Alessandra therefore she often tries to organize performances in public spaces, stopping people in their tracks with her typographic installations. In 2010, as the final project for her masters at London College of Communication, Alessandra orchestrated an assembly of eight people to mimic a real-time digital clock in Liverpool Street Station. Dressed in black and a lime green bolero, each performer bent their arms and torsos to act out the numbers. Even amidst the rush hour crowds on a Friday evening, the group was able to attract curiosity from passer-bys. “Some people thought we were selling something, so they were trying to understand what the advertising was for,” Alessandra recalls.

    In an earlier iteration of the same project, Alessandra had her performers occupy the crossing at Abbey Road, and spell out words such as wait, pause and hold in front of oncoming cars. She compares the Letterform for the Ephemeral project to guerilla advertising or an analog Tweet, as it allows her to disperse short messages at a very large scale without it being illegal. “It’s a bit like graffiti,” she says, “but it doesn’t damage anything.”

    Alessandra draws inspiration for her activist typographic performances from a photograph of a student protest in May 1968, documented in Massin’s Letter and Image. Wearing big paper boxes with a letter written on each, the students gathered to spell something together. “If one of them was to be missing, the work wouldn’t mean anything anymore,” says Alessandra, who sees great value in collaboration and tries to use her work to facilitate collective experiences. “The idea of this typography was to question things, to question the passing of time, and to question how we can need each other to spread a message.” Her work draws attention and interaction, serving as social commentary of the current culture of speed.


    At the time of her experimentation, Alessandra’s peers at school were skeptical her work would find any commercial application despite its visual appeal. But Euro RSCG Lisbon quickly reused her wearable letterforms for the launch of the site Optimus Kanguru, appropriating the bolero with bright colors. Alessandra’s use of the human form has appeared in numerous publications and her low-tech yet engaging work has caught the attention of many designers. Despite the abundance of media messages and overwhelming information we receive everyday, it seems Amandine Alessandra is a success in provoking us to pause for thought.

    Side note: As I was finishing up this piece, I thought a lot about how Amandine drew her inspiration from a student protest, and how there is a very active protest among us right now…Occupy Wall Street! So this weekend I’m going to go with a few of my friends, and use Amandine’s medium to project the voice of the movement.


    Read more: Pausing for Amandine Alessandra, By Cheryl Yau — Imprint-The Online Community for Graphic Designers

  2. DesignMarketo—retrospection

    Last December, DesignMarketo was invited to show its first retrospection (yes, somewhere between a retrospective and an introspection, it’s a retrospection), DesignMarketo en Barcelona at Otrascosas de Villarrosas gallery in Barcelona in December 2011. The exhibition space looked amazing, designed by Lars Frideen and Jordi Canudas (waiting for pictures here! Anyone?), and featured a variety of products launched during various events organised, the BookSetting poster being one of them.

    On this occasion, DesignMarketo also launched its first book, (designed by DesignMarketo themselves!) presenting designers, products and events from the main events organised so far. It includes an introduction text by Brit Leissler and the photographs I’ve been taking for DesignMarketo those past 3 years.

    A4, 64pages, printed laser & Riso as an edition of 100 only.
    Get it from here!

  3. Presentation @ LCC


    As a London College of Communication alumni, I was asked to give a presentation of my work to students of the MA Graphic Design course, along with Adam Hypki, who presented his research on the meta-narrations built by the juxtaposition of at first glance unrelated images in daily newspapers, and their echo to History of Art. I was asked to discuss my research on typographic forms for ephemeral messages, emphasing the difficulties in finding a satisfying direction.
    It’s always nice to look back to where an idea came from, what didn’t work, and how vastly the frame of work always seemed to expand, however narrowly you tried to pinpoint it.
    I loved the refreshingly dynamic attitude of the students, who allowed the lecture to turn into the kind conversation about graphic design and semiotics that I would like to have more often.

  4. Wise Monkey / Dance Drawing

    A series of drawings slowly danced through 30 seconds exposure.

  5. New work: Dance with me

    26 choreographic micro-pieces


    More here.

  6. In Vino Veritas, Rainbow Edition @ the Barbican Centre


    “At first glance, the Curve Gallery at the Barbican looks as if it has been transformed into a glorified gallery gift shop. Step inside, however, and you will notice that the objects adorning the sleek lacquered tabletop units possess an element of the surreal and idiosyncratic, including hacksaw shaped bread boards and tiny wind up music boxes.
    This is the Design Den – the Barbican’s answer to a pop-up shop, keeping intact a design aesthetic befitting of its Brutalist location. Focusing on the applied arts, and in conjunction with DesignMarketo — ‘a platform that diffuses up-and-coming designers’ small or limited productions’ – the consumer cultural experience comes alive. (…)
    Hato Press, a specialty printing and publishing house based near London Fields, showcase small notebooks of illustrations collated from test prints and mistakes in their studio. Their expertise in screen and Risograph print processes create beautifully constructed art books. Elsewhere, design fuses with humour, from the Ty DIY Edition Shower Curtain with marker pen (create your perfect shower curtain) to Amandine Alessandra’s In Rainbow Veritas, a plain white bistro tablecloth that reveals a flower blossom pattern when wine, curry sauce or tea is spilt on it. (…)”

    Rosie Higham-Stainton,

    Design Den
    The Curve
    Barbican Centre, Silk Street
    London, EC2Y 8DS
    Until 23 December 2011
    Mon – Sat 10am – 8pm
    Sun 12 noon – 8pm

  7. Sofia Design Week: When life gives you bulgur, make lemonade


    During the Sofia Design Week, DesignMarketo will present Lemonade For All, a new collection of specially commissioned products made by a selection of international designers. The new collection will be presented in their pop up shop/workshop, where they will be handing out freshly home-made lemonade to visitors.

    For this occasion, I’m giving a cooking workshop entitles When life gives you bulgur, make lemonade, a twisted interpretation of the popular saying about doing the best of what you have. This is happening on Wednesday 15 June, 2-5pm, so please do pop in if you are in Sofia!

    The workshops are free and opened to all. They are limited to about 10-15 people and booking by email is essential. Bookings are based on a first booked/first served basis. To register:

    5 Open Art Space
    1? Hristo Botev Blvd.
    1606 Sofia, Bulgaria
    (Next to “Pette Kiusheta”)
    Open everyday 10am to 7pm.

    More info, design, worskhops and lemonade here:

  8. Show: Museum für Druckkunst Leipzig


    TYPOTAGE invites Michael von Aichberger, Amandine Alessandra, Bela Borsodi, Alexander Branczyk, Andrew Byrom, Arnold Dreyblatt, Götz Gramlich, Sascha Grewe, MAGMA Brand Design, Ebon Heath, Susan Hefuna, Monika Heineck, Aoyama Hina, Domingo Kdekilo, René Knip, Vladimir Koncar, Eric Ku, Pantea Lachin, Sebastian Lemm, Thomas Mayfried, Niessen & de Vries, Julius Popp, Lisa Rienermann, Camilo Rojas, Stefan Sagmeister, Lee Stokes, Reona Ueda, Ralph Ueltzhöffer, usus,Bembo’s Zoo, zwölf to exhibit their typographic work at the Museum of the Printing Arts of Leipzig, Germany.

    Workshops and Museum of the Printing Arts Leipzig
    May, 8th – July, 17th 2011

  9. Clerkenwell Design Week 2011: Stop Motion Typography workshop

    amandine_alessandraTypographic performance at Liverpool Street Station (18:00:00 – 19:00:00)

    For Clerkenwell Design Week 2011 DesignMarketo is setting up at the Farmiloe Building on St John Street in collaboration with the Barbican Art Centre. I will be giving a (free) workshop based on stop motion and typography, using the iconic building space as a grid to produce a human typeface.
    Wednesday 25.05.11 from 2-4pm

    Also: do not miss Alexandre Bettler‘s workshop on mobile typography:
    Thursday 26.05.11 from 5-pm

    24-26 May 2011
    34, St John Street, London
    EC1M 4AY

  10. New collection: In Rainbow Veritas


    Cutlery Use Dev Org, tablecloth Amandine Alessandra during A Dinner with DesignMarketo at the Barbican Gallery.



    In Rainbow Veritas is a new edition of In vino Veritas, a plain white bistrot tablecloth that reveals its pattern as wine, blueberry juice, curry sauce or tea is spilled on it, diverting the attention away from an awkward situation, as an irregular pattern of flowers blossoms in the stain.
    The new collection was recently launched in London at the dinner hosted by DesignMarketo
    at the Barbican Gallery.

    A limited series, hand printed in East London by All Cats Are Grey and sold on DesignMarketo.