Ray Dolby Quote

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"I'd say typography is the written version of sound," remarks designer Brett MacFadden, co-founder of the San Francisco-based studio MacFadden & Thorpe. It's perhaps the most complex yet succinct description of the art of type arrangement, akin to the artist's aesthetic: complex things with simple forms. Whether working on publications or packaging, MacFadden and his company design typography that encapsulates the personality of the project. "Through type itself, you can add tone and personality, and that's one of the greater things about typography — there is so much to do with the alphabet. There is endless expression."


Medium: Graphic Design
Location: San Francisco
Date: 2015

When it came to create a wall of type to display a quote by Ray Dolby — "To be an inventor, you have to be willing to live with a sense of uncertainty, to work in this darkness and grope towards an answer, to put up with anxiety about whether there is an answer" — MacFadden began by researching Ray Dolby, the person. He sought to represent the words in a way that complemented the character of the inventor and company founder. "I found images of him working in his home workshop and working with complex and mechanical electronics. There was something about him working on circuit boards that gave me a starting point," MacFadden explains. This translated to a basic block typeface that evolves from one line to the next. "To me, that felt true to the way an inventor would work on a problem," MacFadden says. "It's about the way you gnaw on a problem, trying one thing and then another, strategically meandering towards your goal. So this looks to illustrate that process typographically."

As for translating the concept into the creation, MacFadden had to change his technique based on the scale of the project. Typically, the MacFadden & Thorpe team will frame a design with tape and paint directly on a wall. For this project, they digitally produced the design as a decal.