VELOCIDADE by Ronaldo Azeredo (1957/8 & 1968)

News|Fonts in Use|Stephen Coles 2015-11-26 06:08:51

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VELOCIDADE, published in Anthology of Concrete Poetry, 1968.

[Ronaldo Azeredo (Rio de Janeiro, 1937/Sao Paulo 2007)] was one of the many active concretists in Brazil during the heyday of concrete [poetry]. I haven't followed his work since the early 1960s, so I can't say what he's done since then, but I find it remarkable that his most famous work VELOCIDADE is now just under a half a century old. … With the right typeface — in this case, some gorgeous fat display face with serifs like flying buttresses [Latin No. 2Wide] — even the simplest of permutational poems can take flight. This poem is nothing more than a study in motionless movement: The type is frozen in place, yet we imagine speeding, we see something flash before our eyes. Excepting the florid typeface, this is hard cold classic concrete: simple, sure, steady, with a little twist of our spine." — Futuraat about 24pt.

Source:© Ronaldo Azeredo. License: All Rights Reserved.

VELOCIDADE and ESTEOESTE, published in Noigandres 4 (each 39.5 × 28.5 cm). The

Source: via poesia concreta. License: All Rights Reserved.

There are many variations of VELOCIDADE (Velocity) shown online. Most of the images must be re-creations using digital versions of Futura, as the type and its placement are not always the same. The image at right is the one I've found that comes closest to the original as it appeared in Noigandres.

Over 50 years after it first appeared, Azeredo's concrete poetry still has relevance and appeal. It is a frequent reference in both the poetry and graphic design scenes. Another version (perhaps also a re-creation) was on display in a

Source: Stephen Coles. License: CC BY-NC-SA.

Claudio Rocha at ATypI 2015 in São Paulo.

It's making its mark on new work too. See the dynamic identity designed in 2013 for clothing brand Escuyer which must be inspired by VELOCIDADE and another Azeredo poem, ESTEOESTE (Eastwest), that appeared in the same issue of Noigandres (shown above).

Identity for Escuyer by DesignPractice.

Source: DesignPractice.License: All Rights Reserved.

While DesignPractice refers to heraldry as the main reference for their Escuyer identity program, it seems clear that Azeredo entered into the river of influences somewhere upstream. Whatever the case, they did something new and interesting with it. Azeredo's ideas are so immediately appealing this is likely not the last time we'll his work in contemporary design, whether it's poetry or commerce.

Thank you to Claudio Rocha, João Bandeira, and Augusto de Campos for their research assistance.