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101 Typographic Tributes To David Bowie, Collected On One Glamorous Poster

Before the wedding dress and the pointy cone bra and the Kabbalah tattoos, at a point when Madonna was a star only of the New York City club scene and still establishing her first public persona, David Bowie had already cycled through enough different looks to fill a coffee table book. What Gaga has distilled down to a science, Bowie approached as art form unto itself, morphing from Ziggy Stardust to the Thin White Duke and exploring countless other styles in between and beyond.

It’s fitting, then, that U.K. creative type Mark Blamire didn’t try to limit himself to a single vision for his contribution to David Bowie Is, an upcoming exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum, in London. For his limited-edition piece, printed on appropriately glamorous holographic rainbow paper, Blamire enlisted 101 different artists to contribute their own typographic identities for the musician—and then compiled them into a single, beautifully discordant graphic.

The main idea, Blamire says, was to represent Bowie’s “chameleon-like persona” through typography. And at that it clearly succeeds. In some cases, designers made use of their favorite typefaces, where others styled the artist’s name by hand. Some treatments are fairly straightforward nods to the Duke’s album covers, others include more subtle allusions. 

Here’s the full story.

The exhibition for which the poster was made is an unprecedented career retrospective, featuring artifacts like photographs, instruments, handwritten lyrics—and yes, plenty of costumes. It opens March 23 at the Victoria and Albert Museum. The print will be available at the museum and through its website. You can pre-order one now for £45 here.

 

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