For my Fall, 2010 Graphic Design 1 class at CCA, student Man Ee Wong designed this museum exhibit poster based on a show at the Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco. As It Is Written: Project 304,805 is an exhibition featuring a specially trained scribe who writes the entire text of the Torah over the course of one year. The completed Torah is in the form of a scroll, and is comprised of 62 connected sheets on which are written 10,416 lines of text and 304,805 individual letters.
To design her poster Man Ee photographed a Torah at Congregation B’nai Emunah in San Francisco. (Thank you, Rabbi Melamut!) Man Ee is especially interested in the scroll’s physical seams, what might be thought of as the document’s “connective tissue.” As a result, her photograph is cropped to highlight a seam which bisects the poster on the right. Using a negative of the photographic image adds drama and challenges our preconceptions about how a Torah should be presented. In brief, she makes the Torah “new.”
Concurrent with her efforts in my class, Man Ee worked with Angie in Typography 1 and it is clear to me that the finished poster is a synthesis of Man Ee’s learning experiences in both classes. Man Ee recreates Theo Van Doesburg’s experimental alphabet of 1919 for the exhibition text and sets it in a justified block to echo the Torah’s justified columns of text. Van Doesburg’s letterforms provide a contrasting voice to the Hebrew: geometric versus organic; modern versus ancient; minimal versus complex. The placement of the colorful text block, bridging one of the Torah’s seams, suggests both reinforcement—a strengthening of tradition—as well as continuity. The Torah will live as long as it is read, and written. [MF]
See more examples of student poster design under Design is Play Classroom Posters.