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New Work: ‘Conundrums’

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“Sometimes the more cornered you are the more fun you have.”

Designed by Harry Pearce, Conundrums is a new collection of elegant typographic puzzles constrained by three simple rules: one box, two colours, a single typeface.

In the introduction to the book Pearce writes:

“I grew up in an age and a home where the words of Spike Milligan, Edward Lear, Peter Cook and Monty Python, among many others, filled the air. Nonsense that made sense; irreverence that became pure pleasure. Words became images, images words, and where was the line between the two? It didn’t matter as long as they gave you a smile of recognition.

So, visual games with words have stayed with me. And, strangely, these little games seem to have a life of their own. I started them years ago, a love affair between typography and phrase, and they’ve been one step ahead of me ever since.”

Published on 8 December by It Books, an imprint of HarperCollins, Pearce’s first book Conundrums is the perfect gift for anyone with a love of language or a playful sense of humour.


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The Conundrums project was initiated through a meeting with the publishers instigated by Terron Schaefer, Saks Fifth Avenue’s senior vice president of marketing. Schaefer had sprinkled Saks’ 2008 holiday catalogue with a series of Pearce’s typographic puzzles and was convinced that they would make a great book.

The conundrums have also appeared in a brochure for the writers’ association 26 and in a 2001 holiday poster. “I’ve been designing typographic conundrums for as long as I can remember,” says Pearce.

The puzzles are set in AG Old Face. The answers appear in the back of the book.

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The book will be launched on 10 December at an event in Pentagram’s New York office. All proceeds from the sale of the book on the night will be donated to WITNESS.

Pearce has had a long association with WITNESS spanning nearly two decades. His designs have introduced WITNESS’ mission, campaigns and stories to the world and have become symbols of a movement for change. WITNESS was co-founded in 1992 by musician and activist Peter Gabriel and uses video and online technologies to open the eyes of the world to human rights violations.