Expressions of Silent Cinema is a publication in response to Project 2 'Silence is Golden' which is a brief from the 2021 ISTD Student Assessment. The book passed the assessment, making me a proud member of the ISTD The brief was broad, asking students to design a typographic work that celebrates the world of silent cinema. The introduction of the brief spoke about the history of silent films, discussing the transition to films with sound. Here it is mentioned that silent films "represent the first and only example of a truly universal language". I found this idea very interesting and decided to focus my entire project on it by exploring how the dramatic expressions and gestures of silent film actors communicate the story to viewers in both classical silents and modern versions of silents.
The dramatic acting style of silent film actors is reflected in the design of the book, with bold expressive type treatments and dramatic images alongside a monochrome colour palette of black and white — working off the limited colours of classic silent films in a modern, graphic way. The impactful typeface Recent Grotesk was chosen due to its bold expression and variety of attitudes, reflecting the dramatic acting style of silents. It’s used in headings, pull quotes and expressive double-page spreads. Aktiv Grotesk Regular is used for the body copy. Its neutrality works in contrast to the bold expression of Recent, bringing balance to the book. Calluna is used for small type and script details throughout the book. The typeface was chosen to nod to the silent era with its traditional feel as well as adding another layer of expression to the book. Copy from film scripts is used to add to the cinematic experience using Calluna.
The shape and size of the book also match the bold dramatic acting style of silent films with the final publication aiming to be a large 200–page hardback coffee table book with the measurements W:240mm H:300mm.