The social-financial crisis that Greece is facing nowadays and the love of typography, lead designer Alexandros Papantoniou to design a typeface based on Times New Roman with a reconstructed grid, created by Architectural elements retrieved from the Monumental Classical Architecture. The designer’s attempt aimed to communicate the ideas and moral values of classical age but also…
… rather than have an empty and arrogant proudness of our past, we shall begin to study and capture its essence, in order to shape our future. We as a society, as a whole, shall look back to the classical age, and retrieve the values, the morals and the ideas that shaped democracy and the citizen back then, and through them redefine ourselves and reborn…
Few words from the book
Greece has been lately characterized with a deep social crisis. a crisis of values. within the Greek society, “i” has replaced “we”. and this as a matter of fact, is what eventually led to the financial crisis. Τhis matter, can be addressed as one of the major factors, that transformed the country into a place where the young generation is denied of a prosperous life. Τherefore, financial crisis, as a result of the social crisis, has become the reason why more and more people of the new generation choose the hard path of migration.
However, someone could have claimed that Greece has always been like that. as a matter of fact, since its formation, the modern country of Greece has witnessed several financial crisis, a dictatorship, a civil war etc. although this is true, nevertheless it is not the only history that has been written for this land. Βy taking a closer look in Greece’s landscape, someone can notice the ruins of a civilization that goes very deep in the centuries. the land we Greeks are living in today, has once witnessed the formation of democracy, meritocracy, philosophy, the exchange of ideas, patriotism, sciences, theatre, etc. these ruins, especially within the capital city of Αthens, not just witness, but shout the existance of a great civilization who gave the fundamentals for the foundation of what we today call “western civilization”.
Today Greeks, and especially the citizens of Αthens, live amongst these signs that witness this land’s long cultural history. Ηowever, unfortunately the modern people of Greece do not represent, neither trying to do so, the essence of its glorious past, although they yet claim credits upon it.
Hence, we might be able to suggest that the social – economical problem of Greece today, lies behind a crisis of moral values.
At this point, it is appropriate that Ι shall clear my position before concluding this introduction. Τo me, it is of no interest if Ι am or not a descendant of the ancient Greeks. Ιt is of no interest to me to claim to be one either. Ι also do not agree with those who say that we are not the continuation of the ancient Greece. Τo my perspective, modern Greece it is the continuation (whether this is “good” or “bad”, doesn’t change the fact) of the ancient Greece, with all the things that intervened in the meantime. Τherefore we are not the same with ancient Greeks, neither we do share the same worldview with them. Αnd there is no point to try and do so. Βecause between classical age and today lies 2000 years of Greek history, whether this is called roman age, or byzantine years, etc. However, what i am suggesting, is that as classical age is part of our history, as it has happened in the very land we are living on by the people whom the language we speak (in its developed form through the centuries), we shall try and keep it as a reference point and as an aim for the future. Because to achieve, someone has to look high. We shall stop claiming credits for the glorious past of Greece, because although it is of our country, we are not those who marked it. Even if Pericles or Aristotle is my ancestor, this does not make me equal to them or give me any reason to feel proud. Our great actions are those that will allow us to stand next to them, if and when we will have such courage, bravery and wisdom to take them.
What i am suggesting is that rather than have an empty and arrogant proudness of our past, we shall begin to study and capture its essence, in order to shape our future. We as a society, as a whole, shall look back to the classical age, and retrieve the values, the morals and the ideas that shaped democracy and the citizen back then, and through them redefine ourselves and reborn.
The attempt within this project, suggests a “reactivation” of the moral values and ideas of the classical age which aims to bring forward, as a way out of the social-financial crisis that Greece is facing today. the idea focuses on the classical age, and it is developed around two major polarities which aims to bring forward. the first one, is the classical age’s moral values and polymorphic way of thinking that signified athens during the classical years, and the second one, is the importance aesthetics within the arts paid upon people’s lives during that age.
For this attempt i decided – as a graphic designer – to create a visual language, to help me communicate my idea. contextwise, the best way to represent the ideas and moral values of classical age, is through the work of the people who marked it. hence, i decided to make a selection of the most significant personalities along with their most influential quotes, which encapsulate the ideas that influenced and signified classical age. these ideas have also gave the fundamentals to the development of what we today call the “western civilization”. for the representation of the aesthetic value which has been paid during that age, i decided to use architectural elements from the classical monumental archi- tecture to create a grid for the design of an illustrated typeface for the Greek alphabet. the alphabet stands also as a protest against the ugly, unfortunate and dangerous phenomenon of “Greeklish” (the writing of Greek with latin letters).
The link of the two polarities, breathes life through an urban installation. spread around different public places within the centre of the city, large marble blocks will bare the letters printed on them in large scale. each letter will stand for the initial of the selected personalities. hence, some letters might stand for more thaν one name. from certain distance of the marble installation, a static binocular device will be installed, which will enable the viewer – when looking through it – to see the complete concept. the binoculars will consist of a digital screen that will be broadcasting the quotes that link with each individual whose initial lies in front of the binoculars. for those who have more than one quote, there will be a rotation system, although the viewer will not be able to control. that aims to make an impact on the public, and possibly convey the curiosity for them to engage and embrace the ideas and the work of the personalities who marked the name of Greece in the centuries, and understand the importance of redefinement, as a way out of the social-financial crisis that the country faces today.
Who is Alexandros Papantoniou
Alexandros Papantoniou is an Artist and Graphic Designer from the Greek Island of Cyprus. His passion for Arts has evolved in a very young age, and to that extend he undertaken Artistic studies for the last three years of school. Whilst just completed his degree of BA (Hons) Graphic Design at the University of Huddersfield, his restless artistic nature has always been kin on learning, hence, parallel to his studies he has boost his experience with internships and collaborations with clients on a local as well as international level.
Concerning his practice, this consists of a multi dimensional, complex and detailed mixture of design with a great interest on Aesthetics. Idea and storytelling is a kin principle, but an aesthetic execution is also equally important to him. Although his key aspect lies with Typography Art and illustration, his curiosity leads the way for experimentation that broadens his horizon within the Creative fields.
Keep in touch with Alexandros Papantoniou: www.alexandrospapantoniou.com
Check out some of the letters here
Or visit for more images Times Classical illustrated
Thank you for reading!