Book Alert: Body Type

I just discovered a very cool book by the fabulous Ina Saltz.
If you’re into all things to do with type and typography, and you’d like a provocative, conversation-starter kind of coffee table book, then check out Body Type, Intimate Messages Etched in Flesh.

Released back in September of 2006, this is, without a doubt, the best book documenting typography in tattoos that I have ever seen (still waiting for Tom Phinney’s definitive treatment, which would include proposals for cost-effective and humane methods of implementing reflowable type in tattoos, and the ethics of force justification.)

The genesis of Ina’s project was a tattoo of the word “Happy” that she spotted on a young man on a cross-town bus. She recognized that the tattoo was done in Helvetica and then took note of the tight kerning. After mustering the courage to talk to the owner, she learned that he was a graphic designer. The more Ina explored the subject of typograhpy in tattoos, the more interesting it became. This book is a collection of tattoos and commentary arranged by subject matter:

  • Literature, Poetry, & Lyrics
  • Typography
  • Self Expression
  • Self Love
  • Love
  • Politics
  • Religion
  • Belief Systems
  • Homage

  This book makes me wonder if the lack of a series of Body Art templates is a glaring oversight on our part…

3 Responses to Book Alert: Body Type

  1. Arle Lommel says:

    Here’s a site dedicated to Chinese and Japanese typography in tattoos gone bad: A great many of the examples posted there involve someone who got a little drunk and wanted something like “I’m one tought dude!” in Chinese, but who gets nonsense instead.

  2. I couldn’t resist picking up this book on your recommendation, Tim. But goodness, it makes my arm, leg, neck hurt looking at these tatoos. I think the text-on-inner-lip tatoos are the ones that really get me, though. Fascinating.

  3. Tim Cole says:

    I think the text-on-inner-lip tatoos are the ones that really get me, though.

    Yes. Kind of makes you want to get the kerning right the first time.