Ray Johnson: Correspondences
Ray Johnson: Correspondences
Ray Johnson: Correspondences

Ray Johnson: Correspondences

Heavy Meta, New York, New York, 1999


Ray Johnson was once referred to as New York’s most famous unknown artist. He maneuvered around the traditional distribution systems of the art world through his invention of mail art and the “Happening,” making work that deliberately resists categorization and often plays off previous pieces and miscommunications. Hand-rendered graphic elements such as bunny heads and squiggly lines appear throughout his fabulous flyers and collages.

For this book, I wanted to “write” with Johnson, so I used some of his hand-drawn elements typographically: a series of tiny bunny heads indicate the end of an essay, while three dots on a line (referred to as ants in one of his collages) separate sections in the bibliography and checklist. I also used a monospaced version of The Sans to indicate Johnson’s quotes throughout the book that refer to his typewritten flyers. On a much more arcane level, Font Shop sells a smaller package of weights of The Sans named “Correspondence.”

Collections: 50 Books | 50 Covers of 1999
Repository: Denver Art Museum
Discipline: Book design
Format: Book


Design firm
Heavy Meta
Creative director
Barbara Glauber
Barbara Glauber, Beverly Joel
Donna De Salvo, Catherine Gudis
Trim size
8 1/16 x 10 5/8 inches
Century, The Sans, The Sans Mono Condensed, Lucky State (a combination of the letters off the Lucky Strike package and Interstate Bold), Count Ferdinand (from Johnson’s hand-drawn numbers)
Quantity printed
Pollina (France)
semi matte 150 gram technosatin
Detail of black shapes from a Johnson flyer printed in four color with a gloss varnish over the shapes
Wexner Center for the Arts, Flammarion