The small East German town of Zeitz, not far from Leipzig, is currently having an image problem. The official abbreviation is ZZ and can be found everywhere in the city. What initially looks typographically interesting and somehow funny has been rather difficult to handle since the Ukraine war. When I ask the residents of Zeitz about it, they always say, no, we have the letters twice, that doesn’t count. This cute attempt to prevent any association made me wonder when are letters good and when are they evil? Can letters be evil or good at all? Similar radicalizations of letters can be found in the anarchic A or the fascist-Croatian U. Letter combinations like the Nazi double S or racist triple K also evoke resentment and fears.
With this poster project, a kind of semantic poster discourse, I would like to approach this topic. Please don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to offend anyone. But someone who deals with letters on a daily basis and is certainly a grammarphile finds it interesting when certain letters suddenly become taboo. I’m fascinated by the fact that it’s not a specifically designed symbol, it’s just letters. And it doesn’t really matter how these letters are shaped, as long as the letter is recognizable.
The hand made posters depicting double letters were installed in one of the many abandoned factories in Zeitz. From Mid June till End of August 2022 I was a resident of this small town, which still has to deal with the post-socialist economic transition. And recently also with its name. Do you know any other examples where a single letter stands for something? Should I dare to do a PhD, I think I’ve found a topic.