Howl by Allen Ginsberg

Typography, Packaging,
Editorial & UX/UI

Howl is a seminal poem especially regarding censorship, written in 1955 by Allen Ginsberg and subsequently banned in 1956. Ginsberg paints with words an image of a dystopian world and a government dedicated to war and control. The poems in uence on society is still relevant, now more than ever.

The use of a digital book for the poem works to expand the audience and give a new exciting way to experience the poem. The medium gives the viewer additional options that wouldn’t be available in print, such as being able to see annotations on the same page with ease, digital bookmarks, ui/ ux and conceptual approaches, for example when the viewer uses ‘Explore mode’ they can explore the book in whatever direction they wish.

The final product is the result of Ginsberg’s own narration which in uences line length adding rhythm and pace, while also being re ected in the typography, leading, spacing and size. As the poem was originally intended to be read aloud much of the body type is set in italics.

Furthermore as the poem was intented to encapsulate a spoken word play as claimed in the poem’s own defense hearing, three typefaces have been employed to play the three main parts of the performance. American Typewriter is Ginsberg at home behind the typewriter typing, while Bressay is the poem set free and le to roam wild in the open world as Ginsberg forms the words in his mind and his imagination takes to the city. Objektiv is the authoritarian voice of censorship and Government control. Expressing a strong, strict, rigid form, which is heavy and unmovable.

The use of imagery within the piece reinforces much of the themes, the overlaying of type on the images adds tension and a sense of protest to government authoritarian control. The newspaper aesthetic re ects how the images were themselves news of the time, but also translate into this modern age.

Access to full project

This project was quite large and involved three printed books, a large A2 printed piece of the Map and also the main digital pdf banned book itself. If you would like to see the project in more detail please download the full project from the link.

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