1. Condensed, Bald. “Inside the fonts: optical sizes.” Type Network,

2. Lupton, Ellen. Thinking with Type: A Critical Guide for Designers, Writers, Editors, and Students (3rd Edition, Revised and Expanded). Princeton Architectural Press, 2024, 
page 158 and 160.

If a reader picks up any book off a bookshelf, they will likely be able to find approximately five to six different point (pt) sizes in use. It is achieved through the hierarchy of layout and typography, as the appearance of textual elements hints at their function and relative importance. It can be advantageous to structure type by blending different typefaces, as some of the examples mentioned by Bald Condensed, né Yves Peters in the article “Inside the Fonts: Optical Sizes like “Retype’s Laski Slab and Laski Sans,” or with less obvious and more abstract relationship such as “Kontour’s Odile and Elido (whose names are palindromes of each other), or Occupant Fonts’ Prensa and Amira (whose relationship is more conceptual).”1

In the book “Thinking with Type”, Ellen Lupton writes, “A layered hierarchy is more like an ice cream sundae, loaded with sizes, styles, and textures. If you love mathematical systems, try building a hierarchy with type scale, a set of proportional type sizes derived mathematically.”

In layered hierarchy theory, each element contributes uniquely to the overall structure, from easily digestible text and striking headlines to subtle details adding depth. Often overlooked by new designers, these nuanced components, akin to visual texture, play a pivotal role in unifying a design.2

Cells and Conduits

Jacket cover, inside cover, selected spreads,
perfect bound, 7.5 x 10 in., 152 pp.

1. “Peter Halley.” Wikipedia,

The selection of Peter Halley as the focal point of the monograph publication is driven by his remarkable mastery of color and his substantial impact on the domain of geometric abstraction.

Peter Halley is an American artist and a central figure in the Neo-Conceptualist movement of the 1980s. Halley’s paintings explore both the physical and psychological structures of social space; he connects the hermetic language of geometric abstraction—influenced by artists such as Barnett Newman and Ellsworth Kelly—to the actualities of urban space and the digital landscape. In the 1990s, he expanded his practice to include installations based around the technology of large-scale digital prints.

Halley is also known for his critical writings, which, beginning in the 1980s, linked the ideas of French Post-Structuralist theorists such as Michel Foucault and Jean Baudrillard to the digital revolution and the visual arts. From 1996 to 2005, Halley published Index Magazine, which featured in-depth interviews with emergent and established figures in fashion, music, film, and other creative fields. Having also taught art in several graduate programs, Halley became the director of graduate studies in painting and printmaking at the Yale University School of Art, serving from 2002 to 2011.1

The monographic book dedicated to Peter Halley encapsulates his critical writings, interviews, paintings, exhibitions, and is meticulously designed to complement and resonate with the essence of his artistic oeuvre.

Subverting the Grid Typography’s  role
in Graphic Design Disruption

Front cover, spine, selected spreads,
perfect bound, 7 x 10 in., 128 pp.
The publication delves into the intricate relationship between design history, stylistic innovation, and the role of typography in challenging conventions within graphic design. By examining the cyclical nature of design styles, the project explores how movements like the Memphis Group and Constructivism have experienced cycles of popularity, decline, and revival over time. 

Using examples such as the Memphis Group's bold geometric patterns and Constructivism's revolutionary approach to visual communication, the articles illustrates how understanding the historical and socio-cultural contexts of design is essential for driving innovation. It emphasizes that good design is not just about aesthetics; it is about understanding the deeper meanings and influences behind design choices.

Through an analysis of how designers like Shepard Fairey's Studio Number One appropriated Constructivist principles in advertising campaigns for luxury brands like Saks, the project highlights the power of typography to subvert expectations and challenge established norms. It argues that by embracing and recontextualizing historical styles, designers can create fresh and impactful work that resonates with contemporary audiences.

Through an analysis of how designers like Shepard Fairey's Studio Number One appropriated Constructivist principles in advertising campaigns for luxury brands like Saks, the project highlights the power of typography to subvert expectations and challenge established norms. By subverting the grid of traditional design conventions, typography emerges as a powerful tool for pushing boundaries and shaping the visual landscape of the future.

Exchange of Perspectives
Between Bella Tuo and Dhwani Garg

Printed booklet, Saddle stitched, 4 × 8 in.
A conversation is more than an informal talk; it’s an exchange where ideas flow freely between participants. For a conversation to thrive, there needs to be a harmonious balance, a mutual give-and-take where each party contributes and gains something in return. In essence, it’s a collaborative effort akin to constructing something meaningful through dialogue or dissecting and deciphering complex topics.

This booklet documents the engaging exchange of perspective between Bella Tuo and me on the iMessage platform from March 20–24th, 2023. Throughout our conversation, we delved into a myriad of topics ranging from personal backgrounds to culinary preferences, from navigating class schedules to exploring various interests.  The blue color indicates the use of the iMessage interface. 

This documented dialogue offers a glimpse into the richness and depth of our interactions, providing insight into the diverse array of subjects we explored and the connections we forged. 

Typography The Narrative Thread of Effective Communication

Printed Wiki-pamphlet
Saddle stitched, 5.5 × 8.5 in.
The Wiki-pamphlet intricately explores  the history of typography and its modern applications, particularly focusing on typographic hierarchy and grid-based layout structures. It delves into typography's essence, exploring its role in ensuring readability and visual allure through typeface selection, spacing decisions, and layout design. It encapsulates typography's evolution from a specialized craft to a widely accessible art form, spotlighting its significance across various creative disciplines.

Ben Fehrman-Lee

Read the full interview here.
Dhwani Garg
The first thing worth asking is also the most obvious: Can you talk a bit about your background and how you got into designing books?

Ben Fehrman-Lee
My road to graphic design is a bit more wandering than most. I think I grew up drawing and painting my whole life. I will say I had a big influence in a sort of unforeseen way. I grew up as an only child. So part of that, like creative space, was, I think, afforded by the fact that I had to invent my ways of playing and thinking. I would draw for hours and hours at a time, and I was studying anatomy by the time I was eight or nine. This is a great credit, and thanks to my parents. My mom had a big coffee table set of books, two big volumes in a case. It was like drawings and processes of Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci, and I would sit and draw what I saw. So, I had a real love and interest in that. It is just that there was never an emphasis. 

[…]. I can credit one friend who sent me a job posting for something. Oh, hey, I thought of you about this, you know, some artistic role at some company. I forgot what exactly, but it was just a moment where I thought of life as being a professional creative. I was making posters, and album covers for my friends at the time. We’re all musicians between Los Angeles and San Diego. I decided I would do this, and I ended up applying. I put together a portfolio over the course of about a year, and I applied to a place called Art Center College of Design. I was already 25 when I went to study graphic design and get a BFA at Art Center, and I fast-tracked that because I had already done many prerequisite courses, which was a big immersion. I went there because I knew I had read enough about some institutions. 

Simon Johnston was teaching at the Art Center College of Design, and he is a British designer who moved to Los Angeles a couple of decades ago and was a very influential force in the kind of contemporary typography that was part of Octavo. Anyway, it was wonderful to be around him, near him. He was a very humble, gentle, but brilliant presence, and very informative for me regarding typography, but I came to the end of Art Center. I didn’t know what kind of designer I wanted to be. 

[…]. It was not until I went to graduate school right after that, pretty much that I fell in love with publishing with editorial design. Also, the majority of my time work is on branding, frankly, and identities, but I have carved out time to design books and be involved with institutions, museums, galleries, and publishers to do that kind of work. That’s really where my love and interest lies. 

In summation of this, my interest went from a love of the written word to a love of the visual word. As a literature major all I did and theology, all I did was read and write, read books, read texts, write essays about it, and form opinions. A  lot of that has come to bear in many ways, for one, to pay attention to what the more does and then pay attention to what the typography, what meaning the typography carries for that work. It also is great as an asset. To articulate even for branding, you know, writing copy or writing strategy for a client or an organization, and envisioning things for them is helpful. So it’s kind of been a funny cyclical thing. 

Drawing itself requires focus on the human hand because I learned that at an early age, there’s an old adage. If you could draw the human hand, you know, in any way, you can draw anything because it’s such a complex form. Drawing and painting really laid a foundation for being able to draw type because understanding sort of figure just form in that’s really elemental state. I don’t know if I would be doing that if I hadn’t been, spending all that time as a kid doing that kind of thing. I’m not sure I would be the kind of designer that would necessarily be into it. But I am. (Laughs) Yeah. That’s how I got into graphic design if that’s low-end book design.

I love what you shared about your journey into graphic design and book design. In my case my parents enrolled me into drawing classes when I was like 4 years old. 

I finished my undergraduate studies right at the end of the pandemic, not knowing where I was going. When  I came here to Boston University to know what I really wanted to do and also have the option to design and print books using various type systems, I fell in love with it.

I think books to me and it’s not a secret there, especially in today’s very digital culture for many things. They are a total work of art because it has dimension, volume, sequence, and something cinematic about it. It’s both visual and tactile. It’s both a static and time-based medium. There’s just something so satisfying and a very complex process. To be honest, it’s not, and no book is the same. The work that goes into producing a book, from the authorship to the editing to the designing to the production, is extreme. But you know, it’s amazing.

I have books on my shelf designed in the ‘60s, in the late ‘80s, the late 1800s, or even in the ‘70s. Here’s this, you know, collection of images and texts that have been preserved, and it’s like, it can’t get wiped from a website, it’s physical, and it can, they can last, and it’s got this certain timestamp on it. It will never change outside of that. But every time you come back to it, it might surprise you, so there’s a lot that I love about it (Laughs).

It’s also about what the materiality communicates to you, which is as important as the typographic arrangement or tone of voice, and it all carries meaning. It all has an attitude, in other words, one can feel very casual and informal and ad hoc, and the other can be a very severe or polished astute kind of thing. They all have these personalities, have their own logic, and are almost a world unto themselves often when done right.