“Hello Brooklyn” Spells Lyrics Out In Akzidenz Grotesk

As you may have gathered from the previous post – and many others for that matter – I am very interested in music and pop culture in general. I recently found this music video for Jay-Z‘s Hello Brooklyn, a song built around a sample of Marvin Gaye’s Sexual Healing. The track is taken from American Gangster, the unofficial musical companion to the film of the same name. The music promo was produced by Gregory Solenström, a freelance designer based in NYC, as a tribute to New York, Brooklyn and Jay-Z.

Jay Z – “Hello Brooklyn” from Gregory Solenström on Vimeo.

The video is entirely based on typography and images of Brooklyn. The starring role is for Akzidenz Grotesk, the precursor of Helvetica which was also commercialised under the names Standard and Basic Commercial (see also Bitstream‘s digitisation Gothic 725). The choice of the typeface makes perfect sense, as Standard was used by Massimo Vignelli for the New York City Transit Authority signage system designed in the late 60s–early 70s. Read all about in Paul Shaw‘s superb account The (Mostly) True Story of Helvetica and the New York City Subway.

Making of “Hello Brooklyn” Video from Gregory Solenström on Vimeo.

What’s really interesting is that the author of the music promo also posted a Making Of… video, showing how still images were treated with the Vanishing Point feature in Adobe Photoshop, and Adobe After Effects, to create the illusion of motion and depth. The end result is very impressive. Unfortunately, and I know some readers will hate me for pointing this out, quite a few single quotes are upside down.

To learn more about Standard/Basic Commercial/Akzidenz Grotesk read this epic thread on Typophile, with contributions by Erik Spiekermann himself amongst others.

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  1. Brilliant! The textures, black and white photos and clever vanishing point effect work well together. The whole video really captured the ‘soul’ of Brooklyn. Well done!
    It reminded me of the ‘Panic Room’ title sequence which was also using New York cityscape. Aah, nostalgia!

    Posted by Yodhi Soemardjan on Jul. 5, 2010
  2. Awesome!

    Posted by Dragos on Aug. 3, 2010

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