In 1852 a group of typesetters and printers in New York began organizing what would become the International Typographical Union. They were reacting to the difficult working conditions that faced many industrial workers at the time. Eventually, they negotiated a 40-hour work-week and other benefits which would become standard across all industries. Today the typesetting profession has virtually disappeared. 'Typographical labor' is now performed by graphic designers.
The working conditions we face are different than the ones workers faced 160 years ago: Typesetting/graphic design work has shifted from 'trade' to 'creative' work, and from industrial to immaterial labor. We don't punch a clock or go to work at a factory. Instead our workplace is wherever we can set up a laptop. In a world where mobility and flexibility have become the norm, the concept of a 40-hour work-week has eroded into a life where work and leisure time blend into one another in an endless cycle.
We are reviving the I.T.U. name in 2010 as an homage to the original mission of the International Typographical Union. However, we are not forming a labor union (nor a studio), but a platform through which to explore and question the conditions of typographical and creative labor today. We do not necessarily see our clients, or even commercial work, as the 'enemy' because we see that they have their own problems. If there is an enemy, it is the situation of post-Fordist capital itself and the constantly shifting demands of the market. This is the condition we are resisting.
Our union is flexible and casual, a shifting support network of friends working together, that allows us to react differently to each project. Through our union we examine the way that graphic design work is performed today — the relationship between money, time, clients, designers, and technology — and we shift things a little bit each time. Like the radical typesetters of 160 years ago that we are aligning ourselves with, we believe that it is time to re-tool the current production model so that it is better suited to the needs of today's typographic laborer.
— Detroit/Zagreb, 2010
Text on a Detroit poetry book cover design.
Journal article on the traces left behind in file sharing.
"Excavations II, Logos of Production – Production of Logos", focuses on visual identities, or more precisely, logos for businesses and industries in Croatia during the Yugoslavian era (1950-1990).
A research project focusing on Croatian book cover design of the Yugoslavian era (1950-1990).
The Center for Abandoned Letterhead took place originally for two days in a corner of Franklin Furniture store in Detroit.
Published in 2006 by Various Projects.