A beautiful mistake

Posted by in Editorial, Trip on Sep/2022

Cover image ©OFFF TLV 2022 

In May 2022 we were contacted by Nitsan Rozenberg and Liri Argov, co-directors of OFFF TLV, the Tel Aviv branch of the worldwide famous OFFF Festival. They asked us to design the catalog for the forthcoming edition, and as soon as they mentioned the proposed theme “OFFF*UCK, celebrating mistakes“, we were immediately hooked. The idea behind the festival theme, created by Awesome studio and described in their “OFFF*UCK manifesto”, is that mistakes are an essential part of the creative process, and that we should embrace them instead of trying to avoid them.

This resonated deeply with us, since making mistakes is an integral part of our work. Designing typefaces is all about trying to create variations on shapes that are already perfect, and making little wrong experiments in the hope that they turn out as happy solutions. In our offices in Florence, just next to our original Aldo Novarese painting, we keep a framed letterpress print by Erik Spiekermann that states a great truth: “better done than prfect”. And indeed, we are big fans of mistakes. Without embracing them, we would never learn or grow, never push boundaries or explore new territory. We would simply stick to what we know, and the world would be a much duller place, with just Vignelli‘s canonical eight typefaces in the font menu.

A Beautiful Mistake

The book features not only a cover printed at an angle (and actually upside down), it is also intentionally cut at a slight angle to give the book a trapezoidal shape.

Image Courtesy OFFF TLV 2022.
Ph © Chris Milne

In July 2022, with just a handful of weeks before the date of the festival, we started working on the book design. We wanted to create something that could share the excitement of a festival that is chock-full of inspiring ideas and insights, and would embody the spirit of OFFF: celebrating our humanity, our imperfections, and our willingness to experiment and take risks. So we came up with the idea of designing a book that would collect all the possible mistakes done by graphic designers – from low resolution images and missing fonts to misaligned text, bad overprints, lorem ipsum leftovers and even an upside cover. We wanted it to be filled with typographical errors, but these mistakes would make it unique and interesting. A celebration of the creative juices, of the things done wrong that end up looking beautiful anyway.

A Beautiful Mistake - Low Res
A page from “Beautiful Mistakes” showing an image
intentionally printed in low resolution.

A Beautiful Mistake

A spread of the book featuring a full page error warning.
Img © Studio&more

The catalog opens with the “OFFF*uck Manifesto“, written by Awesome studio: a short text inviting everybody to “calm the fuck down, embrace the chaos & enjoy the ride”. The manifesto features the work of amazing artists and studios, such as Studio&moreNoelia Lozano, Domestic Data Streamers or Studio Furiousto name just some of them. It then features a section to show some of our own typographical experiments with artificial intelligence, using Midjourney AI and Dall-E as springboard to generate new typeface ideas.

A Beautiful Mistake - AI Poem

A spread from “A Beautiful Mistake” featuring AI poetry
typeset in a typeface generated with the help of neural networks.

Finally, the book showcases the work of the amazing speakers and guests of OFFF TLV 2022 in a portfolio section of over 100 pages. Our typeface Milligram is used as main display typeface, while the text is typeset in a Blacker Mono, a font family created for the occasion by Cosimo Lorenzo Pancini and Francesco Canovaro under the input of Isabella Ahmadzadeh who was editorial designer on the project.


Spreads from the Artist Showcase.

Featuring the artwork of the speakers of OFFF TLV 2022 (Adoratorio, Alef Alef Alef, Anagrama, Awesome – A Deloitte Business, Baugasm, Buck, Burton Rast, DixonBaxi, Esra Gülmen, Illo, Kiel M, Musketon, Ouchhh, Saffron, State Design, Studio Roses, Territory Studio, Tina Touli, Vasava, Vincent Schwenk), the book was lovingly produced by 4graph in Italy, taking care to execute every mistake with absolute precision, from deliberate rich black overprinting of some spreads, to the upside down cover and slanted diagonal cut of the book.

Cutting it wronglyThe cutting machine at 4graph was modified
to create a slanted, uneven cut for the book.

We are extremely proud of the 256 pages of “A Beautiful Mistake” and we hope it will help people to see mistakes in a new light, and to embrace OFFF Festival’s anarchic spirit, boundless creativity, and unbridled passion for design.