By Silas Munro
280 pages, hardcover, $45
Published by Letterform Archive
So long as people abuse power, there will be the oppressed, marginalized, persecuted and ill-treated who will fight back and demand to be heard. From abolitionists, Black suffragists, war oppositionists and Black Panthers to LGBTQ+ rights and female equality supporters, protesters typographically visualize their voices on posters, pamphlets, pins, magazines, fine art and other printed media.
One part typography plus two parts history equals Strikethrough: Typographic Messages of Protest, a curated archive of the titular gallery exhibition from Letterform Archive. Drawing on more than 100 years of protest documentation, author Silas Munro takes us on a historical journey to fight against injustices that have plagued our society. Munro creates a narrative about the causes and creators of protest ephemera by dividing the book into chapters that focus on ways in which dissent is expressed: RESIST!, VOTE!, STRIKE!, TEACH! and LOVE!.
However, the distinctive typography lens sets this book apart. We get to know not only the issues and creative works but the decisions behind the design choices, such as calling out “fascist rants” by setting Times New Roman in capitalized italics to undermine its neutral connotation or fighting the opioid crisis through a custom typeface in which the “type’s digital bitmapping” suggests “moral degradation.” While there could be more in-depth information about the typographic choices, the abundance of high-quality, colorful and well-researched imagery holds your interest from cover to cover and inspires you to fight for your own beliefs. —Denise Bosler