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Unique Fonts on Display at Honolulu Bookstore


Honolulu's newest bookstore could be the first of its kind in Honolulu. Bas (pronounced base) Bookshop on Nu'uanu Avenue is dedicated to art, architecture, fashion and design. Its newest exhibition showcases unique typefaces and fonts.

Typeface designer CJ Dunn said his work cuts across physical and virtual media.

"From printed work like I have in the show here, to film titles to motion graphics and website interfaces, anywhere we're reading, we're looking at different typefaces. So it can connect work in many different mediums," he said.

Dunn's work is bold and eye-catching, proclaiming phrases like "Burn your computer and go to the beach" in wavy aqua italicized letters on a butter colored ground.

Credit Noe Tanigawa

"The choice in typeface and the usage of different typefaces has an effect on perception and meaning," Dunn said.

He said fonts and typefaces have cultural and historical contexts that created their shapes. One font might relate to writing with a quill, for example, and be associated with scholarly texts.

"It's also interesting to go against those conventions as well, either leaning into those associations or even working against themon purpose," he said.

These are ways to have fun with fonts and add wit to your documents and projects. Dunn encourages getting past the old stand-bys like Helvetica or Times New Roman and feeling out distinctivefonts, matching the font to the occasion.

"There's a wonderful website called futurefonts. It has people who are putting out new designs."

Dunn said you can encourage designers and find distinctive fonts at futurefonts and at fontsinuse.com.

His show at Bas Bookshop titled "After the before/Before the after" is about the liminal state we're in. The exhibition will be up until May 12.

Credit Neal Izumi
Graphics and typeface designer CJ Dunn

Noe Tanigawa covered art, culture and ideas for two decades at Hawaiʻi Public Radio.
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