TABLE OF CONTENTS

EDITOR’S LETTER

FORMS AND FUNCTIONS

YOU MIGHT MISS THEM AT FIRST. The deadpan numerals on the cover of this issue slowly emerge, one after another, only to recede back into a slightly tremulous gouache lozenge. But these digits are all around us. We know their glowing, electric font from hand-held calculators and dashboard clocks, from Casio wristwatches and their retro reissues (for nerd-chic cognoscenti wanting a ’70s throwback). And if the look is highly resilient, more widespread than ever, it’s because the design is so incredibly economical: a closed scheme of seven segments capable of generating a full range of alphanumeric characters. A style, it turns out, can also be a system. This movement between gesture, manner, and structure is the surge we seek to chart—not only in this month’s special feature directly addressing questions of style, but throughout the pages that follow.

The aim is an elusive one. In artworks

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