A few weeks ago, I had my students do an in-class exercise. It involved cutting and tearing pieces of typography in various publications to collage and create abstract compositions. This was to help understand typography as shapes and graphic forms, not just as carriers of information. This exercise was then used as a jumping off point for an assignment where a visual composition or story could be told through abstract typographic forms. The most important requirements were to use only typography and the multi-panel piece had to be in black and white.
I also decided to create some graphic compositions during class, simply based on overlapping, negative space and contrast. I decided if a letterform or series of words became to legible, I would tear them or cover them to create a more abstract layout. Below are my various compositions.
I was happy overall with the collages created in an hour, so I decided to play more with the possible compositions. By rotating, zooming in and changing the contrast, I came up with several different pieces.
There seemed to be endless, really extraordinary possibilities for abstract compositions or possible elements in other layouts. It really was a fun exercise that I hope to use as a technique or a possible concept for posters with other typography or just aesthetic pieces in and of themselves.