Tinctures, Or, 2018

This tile belongs to a set of 11 tinctures, a coded system for translating colors into line patterns developed around the year 1600 to reproduce heraldic designs (coats of arms) in books by etching. The tiles can be used discretely for a large color-coded surface or mixed and matched in any combination for a more psychedelic effect. The full set comprises the generic patterns used in heraldry: sable (black), or (gold), argent (silver or white), cendrée (grey), gules (red), vert (green), azure (blue), purpure (purple), murrey (maroon), tenné (tawny), and sanguine (blood).

Heraldry is one of the earliest concrete incarnations of graphic design. The emblem-like patterns seen in heraldry render coats of arms according to a limited formal vocabulary. Additionally, the graphic conventions represent specific families and their relationships over time. As a family descends through birth and joins by marriage, new lines appear through coded graphic forms on the heraldic shield. The name Dexter Sinister is derived from heraldry, where Dexter means “right” and Sinister means “left”. Heraldic design uses a hybrid lexicon from French and Latin, leading to a particularly graphic result. The written recipe for a form is called its "blazon" and to make the particular coat of arms from its written source is to "emblazon." This language is usefully both graphic and verbal.

Dexter Sinister is the shared name of Stuart Bertolotti-Bailey & David Reinfurt. Founded in 2006 in the basement at 38 Ludlow Street on Manhattan's lower east side, Dexter Sinister since has constituted a triangle of activities: (a) a publishing imprint, (b) a workshop & bookstore, and (c) a pseudonym making site/time-specific work in art and design settings. DS was set up to model a "Just-In-Time" economy of design production — avoiding waste by working on-demand, utilizing local cheap machinery, considering alternate distribution strategies, and collapsing distinctions of editing, design, production, and distribution into one efficient activity. Since then, their work has branched (pragmatically) into many different contexts and venues. David graduated from the University of North Carolina in 1993, Yale University in 1999, and formed the design studio O-R-G in 2000. Stuart graduated from the University of Reading in 1994, the Werkplaats Typografie in 2000, and co-founded the journal Dot Dot Dot the same year.


6.00" x 6.00"