I, Robotic Poster

As promised, we continue the series of literary and typographic posters. Today’s work reaches beyond paper as it let us experiment with different materials, inspired by a different subject matter. We tackled the classic stories of Isaac Asimov dealing with robots and robotics. Instead of choosing one (though if we had, it would’ve been The Caves of Steel), we decided to treat them jointly as a sort of anthology. We suppose this way, with the author’s name, the stories are easier to identify.

Isaac Asimov might well be our favorite science-fiction writer because we appreciate his lucidity and the fact that he usually managed to avoid the opaque philosophical passages other sf writers use to give their work appearances of profundity. In other words, he’s fun to read. Many of his stories and a few novels deal with the introduction of robots into human society. Asimov invented the famous (at least geek-famous and Will Smith-fans-famous) laws of robotics which determined what robots could and couldn’t do and then spent his time inventing ways for robots to overcome them. Writers.

Asimov is tricky in that he wrote about the future but his is already a classic and somewhat retro science-fiction vision so we were looking for a visual futuristic language that would include a nod to the past and again, materials proved to be an answer. We used aluminum foil which is soft and easily molded into shapes, and pressed it onto a form composed of old letterpress type, creating an imprint of the text. The silver foil stands for metals that robots are built of but the letters introduce a more human (and intentionally somewhat messy) aspect, present in Asimov’s writing. It’s the combination of the two that he found interesting.

As you might realize then we had only to flip the photo to get a legible, non-mirror version and, of course, post-process it to some extent.

But we usually look for something extra than just the letters to make the posters more fun, a sort of illustration without illustration. This time we went all-out and actually built a moveable type robot, which looked like this:

This is the lower layer of the poster, you could say, and we really enjoyed assembling it (no, it doesn’t do anything though).

Both layers of the robot’s head:

Robot head before and after applying aluminium foil

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