Typography relearns its ABC with a retro 1970s throwback

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ABC We Print Anything’, by Carolee Schneemann and Abyme, 2017. Photography: Philippe Fragnière

In 2017, designers John Morgan and Adrien Vasquez launched Abyme – a digital foundry, that creates visionary typographic stuff – from fonts to Ouija boards. Now, they’ve screenprinted a punchy, Seventies throwback sweatshirt with American artist Carolee Schneemann, and basically, we want it now.

Collaborations come naturally to Morgan, whose eponymous studio (established in 2000) revolves with cultural and creative figures (he has designed projects for the likes of Edmund de Waal, Helen Marten, the Barbican, Valentino). ‘Many Abyme ideas have developed through working together on other projects,’ he explains. ‘A work often begins life within another work.’ The same is true for the Schneemann sweatshirt.

The collaboration began when John Morgan Studio designed the second issue of The Magazine (of the Artist’s Institute, New York) which was dedicated to Schneemann. It features previously unpublished images from her studio, documenting half a century of morphological connections between her work and other visual material, including art, advertising, and popular culture.

Carolee Schneemann wearing the ABC sweatshirt in the mid 1970s

‘While working on the publication, I saw a faded and tightly cropped photograph of Carolee with a hand holding her around her waist, from the mid 1970s wearing a sweatshirt with the slogan “ABC We Print Anything”,’ explains Morgan. ‘The typography, erratic colouring and care-free sentiment was irresistible, so we proposed – with the support of Carolee and The Artist’s Institute, New York – to remake the sweatshirt in a limited edition.’

The shirts are on sale from today (23 March), for a short period at Tenderbooks in Cecil Court, London, where they will ‘hang in the window as Carolee may have originally seen them.’ They’re also available at the Abyme website, which is a work of art in itself. The site is a masterclass in digital design, with a dancefloor of typographic wizardry to feed your browser, and imagination. Happy typing.