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So Bad It’s Good
By MONICA KHEMSUROV
April 26, 2012, 11:00 am

As an original member of the Berlin graphics bureau Hort and a founder, with Lupi Asensio, of the Barcelona firm TwoPoints.net, Martin Lorenz is used to watching other designers scramble to impress him. But he was still amused when his followers found out about his latest book and flooded his inbox with attempts “to top each other in doing things uglier.” “Pretty Ugly,” out next month in the United States from Gestalten, is his and Asensio’s survey of “new ugly,” a groundbreaking graphics, art and design movement exemplified by Mike Meiré’s 2007 restyling of 032c magazine, which features wonky stretched type and other taboo techniques. The irony of this purposefully amateurish style (as in Aldo Lanzini’s crocheted mask, above) which has become influential in contemporary design, is implicit in the book’s title. “You can do something pointless or boring,” Lorenz says, “but it’s really hard to make something ugly these days. There are no rules to break anymore — they’ve all been broken.”