Spike Lee’s new monograph comes with custom fonts inspired by his work

How would you encapsulate the prolific profession and generation-defining movies of a cultural icon like Spike Lee? Recognized for his daring and uncompromising strategy to controversial topic issues, Lee has over 35 movies, 7 documentaries, greater than 15 TV collection and pilots, dozens of music movies, plus a Broadway present devoted to Mike Tyson.

Spike Lee [Photo: courtesy Chronicle Chroma]

His physique of work might fill a number of volumes—and it begins with this one.

Spike Lee’s first career-spanning e-book is a visible celebration of his life and profession up to now. Out as we speak and revealed by Chronicle Books, the aptly titled Spike is packed with lots of of movie stills, on-set images from Spike’s brother David Lee, private images, and quotes. “This e-book revisits all da werk I’ve put in to construct my physique of work,” Lee writes within the Introduction. “Movie is a visible artwork type and that sense of my storytelling has been considerably neglected. Why now, in spite of everything these years? Of us be forgetting.”

Tré Seals [Photo: courtesy Chronicle Chroma]

The e-book is a treasure trove for any Spike Lee fan, but it surely’s additionally a strong instance of visible storytelling, courtesy of graphic designer Tré Seals, who created an array of custom fonts for the e-book. Greater than a monograph documenting the work of an acclaimed filmmaker, Spike is a graphic gem that makes use of coloration, typography, and an total cinematic strategy to seize Spike Lee’s persona.


Seals is finest recognized for his kind foundry Vocal Kind, the place he designs fonts inspired by protest actions all through historical past. Examples embody Martin, a “non-violent typeface” that was inspired by the Memphis Sanitation Strike of 1968, and Du Bois, inspired by hand-drawn infographics by the black sociologist W.E.B. Du Bois.

Now, Seals is making his debut as a e-book designer, with homework that concerned watching “an entire lot of films.” The result’s a visible delight of over 30 chapters, every dedicated to considered one of Lee’s works. Every chapter title comes in the identical daring font—inspired by Radio Raheem’s unforgettable “love/hate” brass knuckles from Do the Proper Factor in addition to the all-cap titles on film posters for College Daze and Get on the Bus. Within the void between the phrases, Seals added thick black blocks to imitate movie strips.

SPIKE by Spike Lee. [Photo: courtesy Chronicle Chroma]

In whole, Seals created 5 custom fonts, together with an angular one on the backbone that was inspired by the kind on the New York Knicks jerseys. (Lee is legendary for his near-religious appearances at Knicks house video games over the previous 28 years.)

SPIKE by Spike Lee. [Photo: courtesy Chronicle Chroma]

Seals was first approached to design a number of custom fonts, however he ended up designing the complete e-book. He says Lee himself had little involvement besides when it got here to the quilt, which consists of the identify “Spike,” painted in gold and set in opposition to a vibrant pink background. “[Pink] is his mother’s favourite coloration,” says Seals. (The gold got here from the LOVE/HATE rings.)

SPIKE by Spike Lee. [Photo: courtesy Chronicle Chroma]

Whenever you open the e-book, the within cowl is stuffed with photographs from Spike’s Instagram account. “Individuals get an concept of who he’s on a private degree,” says Seals. Then, about 99% of the background is black, “so it feels such as you’re in a film.” Every chapter title is awash in a single background coloration that hints to the overall coloration of the film: Military inexperienced for the epic struggle movie Miracle at St Anna; soiled blue for Inside Man, a thriller centered round a financial institution heist on Wall Road. This wealthy coloration palette interprets right into a putting rainbow on the contents web page. “Spike is such a colourful particular person, I needed the contents web page to really feel as vibrant and thrilling,” Seals says.

With a nod to Lee’s introductory phrases, movie is certainly a visible artwork type—and so is that this e-book.