Vernacular typography is defined as a vanishing part of art that can still be studied in global retail. All over the world, there are cities and towns that retain their rich traditions of vernacular signage. Unfortunately, the fate of these typographic havens is being threatened by the uniformity of corporate advertising, which ignores and subverts local history and tradition.
During our lecture I particularly enjoyed the designs of French illustrator, graphic designer, music producer, vernacular typographer and artist director So Me (Bertrand De Langeron). “So Me's work is often described as influenced by the iconic pop art of the 1960's, French comic books and graffiti, and contemporary iconography."
So Me started off as a young comic book illustrator he was heavily influenced by the skateboard graffiti culture this lead him to work with publications such as the Chanel-Colette ephemeral boutique were he was asked to customise Chanel bags with his a strap line “come on its only Chanel”, he has also been part of companies such as Arktip, Dazed, XLR8R, Clark Magazine, Sleazenation, and has created a Nike campaign for France.
In addition to this So Me has also become a visual identity by expanding his horizons and exploring various other avenues of the market. In doing so, So Me has customised limited edition t-shirts for H&M, created designs for a Japanese clothing line called revolver and designed several items of merchandise for Ed records. So Me is also known for being the art director of Ed banger records brand having created album art and award winning videos that have gained an abundance of recognition thus boosting So Me’s reputation. So Me has worked with famous hip hop music icons such as Kanye West in his flashing lights video seen below as well as playing a role in creating the videos for justice and Dj Mehdi. Both these videos show So Me‘s colourful care free personality and design creativity.
Justice DVNO directed by machine molle and So Me 2007 ed banger records
I would describe So Me’s work to be bold, dramatic and explosive with the use of contrasting block colours with a limited amount of highlights and shadows. So Me places extra emphasis on thick outlines that create a statement for each piece of work which as mentioned above promotes the pop art movement that he has been heavily influenced by from a young age. The Majority of So Me’s images are accompanied by a variety of different font styles varying in sizes that are mostly compressed curved lettering with no structure that look as though the words are struggling to fit and ready to burst off the page. This particular type of lettering emphasises an expressive and energetic feel to the image that allows the viewer to appreciate So Me’s playful, creative and expressive personality.
Above is a picture from the studio gallery exhibition which displayed a series of portraits done in So Me’s trademark style, incorporating the vibrant colours and tongue-in-cheek references which define his work as Art Director for Ed Banger Records.