Type specimen: Willison

Exhibition poster

Willison F Poster

The Wagner Free Institute of Science

Art direction: 
Dermot Mac Cormack

Dermot Mac Cormack
Patricia McElroy
Julie Lam

Dermot Mac Cormack

Dermot Mac Cormack

Dermot Mac Cormack

As part of the interactive installation for “Type Specimens” at the Wagner Free Institue of Science in Philadelphia, we created a series of promotional posters for the permanent installation. These posters were created to promote the opening of the exhibit in the museum, along with the typeface we designed for the museum called Willison. You can read more about the project here

The Willison font is based on handwritten labels by Charles Willison Johnson, one of the Wagner Institute’s founding curators in the late 19th century. Our approach was to create a poster that would reveal the historical context of the font but to also create a contemporary interpretation of how the font is expressed.

The unique typeface, what’s called a reverse italic, is showcased here in a series of posters. In this iteration, we showcase the lower case letter “f”. The poster contains pertinent information about the installation, and about Willson. Behind the large letter “f” we created patterns derived from importing the newly created font into a Processing sketch I created, which essentially animates the contours of the font in randomly generating linear extrusions of the letterform. I was able to capture the desired frames of these animations, convert them to eps files and embed them into the poster layout. This is a process I first explored in my “C” poster for the AIGA exhibition.  

We also added an AR (augmented reality) component to these posters. When the App ‘Artivive‘ is downloaded, viewers can view the posters through the App, and see the 26 letters that have been created floating above the image in 3D.

The posters compliment 26 cards each containing one letter that is placed inside cases around the museum. 


Creative Quarterly 58 (The Journal of Art & Design)
Graphic Design Category Winner
Artisanal Media, May 2020

2021 Graphis Poster Annual (International)
Silver Award
Pedersen Design Group, New York, NY 

2021 Graphis Design Annual (International)
Silver Award
Pedersen Design Group, New York, NY 

Design Philadelphia Type Specimens Exhibition and Presentation
Wagner Free Institue of Science
October 2019

Wager Free Institute of Science
Permanent installation
October — present

Posters for the public good

Event & miscellaneous posters