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DESIGN: Paula Scher's Serbian (Non)Sensibility
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Pentagram/New York principal Paula Scher is the guest designer of the newly released 2007 Publikum Calendar. This annual art project of Belgrade-based publisher Publikum and a Serbian collective called FIA Art Group debuted in 1993, and has featured the work of artists and designers including Christo, Barbara Kruger, Oliviero Toscani, David Byrne, Mirko Ilic and Karlssonwilker. The 2007 edition, themed "Gobbledygook," is a "visual and verbal journey that juxtaposes Cyrillic and Roman alphabets whose convergence creates a world of absurdities, anomalies and eccentricities, as well as similarities that result in a heightened consciousness of both the Serbian and English-speaking worlds," notes Richard Wilde, advertising/graphic design department chair at the School of Visual Arts, in the introduction to the calendar. Scher herself writes that gobbledygook is "how an alphabet looks to an illiterate person. It seems impossible that the odd shapes and forms that comprise the character of letters have sounds attached to them, and that those strange sounds depicted by forms have meaning when they are strung together. I can't read Cyrillic characters. Neither can any of the designers who work with me. We took this rare opportunity of accidental illiteracy to explore a foreign typeface and language (Serbian) formalistically and compare and contrast it to the one we understand (English)." Some pages from the 2007 calendar are seen here. See Pentagram.com for more.