Typography and illustration have long been combined to create humorous displays of expression. The French graphic designer Massin, for example, was well-known for his innovative experimentation with typographic forms that often involved animals. But in its latest, rather disturbing iteration, graphic designer Takayuki Ogawa has created “Oral:phabet,” a grotesque, three-dimensional typeface modeled after the mouth, frozen in time while enunciating each letter.
“The mouth alone is able to express many emotions,” says Ogawa, speaking about the impetus for his project, which was presented as his graduating thesis last year from Tama Art University. “For example, in email we use the letter D to create the smiling emoticon :D. But what if we gave similar attributes to letters like B or N which are never used as expression forms?” The result, as you can see is a disturbingly realistic serious of mouths, lips, teeth and tongues, all hand-crafted from clay and mounted to a wooden frame.
(all quotes translated from Japanese to English by the author)