Ethel Reed: I Am My Own Property

Isometric Studio

We designed a custom variable typeface called Ethel as a contemporary interpretation of Ethel Reed's world of transgressive imagination.
The typeface is used quite large to identify the exhibition sections, and it is reflected and distorted by mirrors in the gallery space.
The letters have big and bold counterforms, and serifs are often connected to create sweeping curves.
The variable type stretches even more when it curves along arches. Each letter is angled and connected so that it appears to glide effortlessly.
The custom Ethel typeface is also used at a smaller scale to set quotations that follow curvilinear hand-painted lines on the wall.

Isometric collaborated with Poster House to design the dream-like exhibition Ethel Reed: I Am My Own Property. The exhibition explores the life and work of the wunderkind poster designer who shot to brief, ecstatic fame in the late 19th century and whose legacy was then largely forgotten. Cascading, curvilinear mirrors form a privacy screen, representing the claustrophobic interiority of the domestic space, which for Ethel Reed also became a space of limitless imagination and creativity. Isometric created a custom variable typeface, Ethel, that expands and contracts to capture the distortion and change the artist experienced throughout her brief career. The type design evokes the curvilinear Art Nouveau period, while asserting a contemporary, geometric quality in its counterforms. The typography and hand-painted linework weave throughout, swelling and curving alongside the exhibition design.

Andy Chen
Waqas Jawaid
Design Director
Maria Loes
Type Designer
Corinne Ang
Graphic Designer
Ingrid Schmaedecke
Architectural Designer
Abhishek Thakkar
Director of Design & Exhibits, Poster House
Ola Baldych
Chief Curator, Poster House
Angelina Lippert
Associate Director of Exhibits, Poster House
John F. Lynch