A is A is A (Catalog)


Since 2016, graphic designer Marcello Jacopo Biffi has been obsessively researching alphabets.

Alphabets is Biffi's visual research project in the field of typography. It consists of a group of related alphabets, which share the same DNA but look considerably different. Structured on the same elementary pixel matrix—the archetype, or basic form of the alphabet—the set has undergone multiple digital transformations, producing atypical results. The order of execution, the intensity of the distortion, the number of steps are some of the variables in the serendipitous design process that determine the result, which is never final: each alphabet is a frame taken from a variation sequence progressively moving away from its point of origin. 

The goal is to generate a collection of allographs (different signs representing the same letter) to explore the relationship between glyph (representation of a letter) and grapheme (the minimum unit of a writing system). The result is a formal inquiry into the identity of letter shapes, and, if possible, an attempt to reject this very concept.

This catalog was produced to accompany Biffi's A is A is A exhibition at Marsèll Paradise gallery in Milan. The name of the exhibition is a  nod to Gertrude Stein's famous quote, "A rose is a rose is a rose," affirming Aristotle's law of identity. A selection of Biffi's alphabets—Alphabets 1-8—are presented alongside related film and screen-based projects.

The catalog collects together a replica set of the sheets of paper used to construct the 2020 exhibition, along with loose sheets with essays about the project. Distributed in a screenprinted envelope, the publication's form references Marcel Duchamp's idea of a portable exhibition in a package.

Designed by Marcello Jacopo Biffi

Text in Italian

Loose leaf, comes sealed in 1-color screenprinted envelope, 11.75 × 8.5 inches

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