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    Permanent Marks: Typographic Tattoos and Their Stories

    Filed Under: Inspiration, typography

    One in five of all adults in the U.S. has at least one tattoo, as revealed in a 2012 Harris poll. And among those who are tattooed, typographic tattoos are becoming more popular than ever. I have been documenting these tattoos for more than ten years, and many of my subjects are “creatives”—art directors, type designers and graphic artists.

    I’ve discovered tattoos of excerpted poetry and prose, classical literature and song lyrics, everything from Shakespeare and Homer to Vonnegut and e.e. cummings. So much can be expressed typographically, whether in a phrase or a passage of text, one charged word, cryptic acronyms or a single, significant letter—intimate messages etched in flesh.

    To date, I have photographed and interviewed more than 700 individuals for my two volumes of Body Type, and I continue to uncover beautiful, heartfelt messages adorning the skin, sometimes in the most surprising ways. The slideshow offers a sneak peek at some of my new images for a forthcoming addition to the series. It’s a work in progress, but I hope you enjoy the stories behind the type.

    About the Author: 
    Professor of Design, CCNY; author, lynda.com: "Foundations of Typography" series; "Typography Essentials" and "Typography Referenced"; author and principal photographer, "Body Type" book series, former Art Director, Time Magazine (International Editions).

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