Amalgam is an ad-hoc transdisciplinary journal that explores the intersection of type, language and the visual arts: a perfect combination of subjects for anyone who, like us, obsesses over design and typography. With a graphically bold cover and equally intriguing name, Amalgam is the latest project from Swiss graphic designer Pouya Ahmadi.
“An amalgam is generally an alloy of mercury with another metal, like silver, in the case of dental amalgams,” Pouya tells It’s Nice That of how the publication’s name came to be. It was when he came across an article that mentioned the use of dental amalgams being banned or restricted in certain parts of the world that he realised that it perfectly summed up the content he was trying to create. The use of such amalgams is prohibited due their potential toxicity, however they continue to be one of the most popular types of filings around the world – a clear contradiction.
“My intention behind the journal was to bring together people who worked with language and typography, but I wanted them to reflect on each other’s profession. So the linguists would write about design and the typographers would write a piece of fiction; a somewhat contradictory situation,” Pouya explains. It was this contradiction that made “_Amalgam_ a weirdly appropriate name.”
Throughout the publication, a diverse range of voices is brought together to discuss what typography means today and how it can be expanded and enriched. As well as an index-like growing organism of a text by Alexandru Balgiu, Amalgam features a study on the history and development of the Korean alphabet by Alice J Lee and Gregory Vine’s process of translating a piece of architecture into a typographic design.
When we last spoke to Pouya, it was the simplicity of his monochromatic designs that caught our eye and_Amalgam_ continues this aesthetic. It utilises a simple grid and a limited number of typefaces including Dinamo Standards and Nemesis by Baptiste Bernazeau. However, in an appropriately clever move, this system is constantly disrupted to reflect the publication’s content. This results in a tension with the content and the design where, as soon as a tone is established it is immediately dismantled. “This is much like the design process,” Pouya remarks, “chaotic, never-ending revisions, rash decisions, happy accidents and so forth.”
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