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Oded Ezer's expressive Hebrew typography

Ever marvel at how a particular font can totally change the tone or meaning of your text? You’d never write, say, an academic research paper in Comic Sans (see “I’m Comic-Sans, Asshole,” for a strong rebuttal) because it would make your thesis seem flaky or unserious. Nor would you choose Cooper Black (a big, bulky typeface) for a casual e-mail to your boss, lest he or she think you were trying to outmuscle them.

Israeli artist Oded Ezer is a genius when it comes to unraveling or manipulating shades of meaning and visual cues contained in a given typeface, often translating letters into sculptural objects or 3-D installations (he even has a typographic tattoo). Now on view in Sao Paulo and Brasilia, his latest exhibit, “Tripocriaturas,” showcases Ezer’s most recognizable works along with pieces from his recent exploration of Hebrew and Latin type.

The thing I find most interesting thing about Ezer’s Hebrew typefaces (which you can explore in more detail on his website, HebrewTypography.com) is that even though I haven’t the faintest idea how to read the language they’re still incredibly expressive. Certain texts have a futuristic, faintly Art Deco feel with lean, angular lines and razor sharp accents, while others are chunky and heavy, calling to mind old signage from the American West. There’s even a kind of loopy, embellished Hebrew cursive. It just goes to show that design might be the universal language after all.