‘Feedbacks’ is a series of vibrant, dynamic 3D type posters created by Florence-based digital artist Leonardo Betti—better known as Leonardoworx. With a background in contemporary music composition, Leonardo’s Feedbacks posters are struck through with lyrical, rhythmic compositions. Bursting with energy, the colour palettes give off an artificial neon glow—merging the atmospheres of dappled sunrise light and city lights at night.
The series came to being through Leonardo’s fascination with relationships between human beings, as they are mediated through the digital world. As he puts it, he was driven by the ‘necessity to enhance the humanity that lives behind the almost perfect digital world’; highlighting the nuance behind the two-dimensional, snapshot narratives we often come to know of one another through screens and social media.
Scrolling through Instagram, he often found his feed to be inundated with posts where people had commented quick—perhaps in some ways, ‘throw-away’—words of encouragement on art and design posts. Whilst he didn’t view this as something negative, Leonardo tells us he became fascinated by the culture behind them. ‘I read thousands of these comments’, he says, ‘and from my point of view, I translated them like “prepackaged”, iconic, short feedbacks…I think users write them ‘cause comments like “so cool” or “pretty clean” are quick—they don’t lose too much time, so they can proceed with the “scrolling adventure” that involves all of us everyday…My intention was to highlight these “prepackaged” and “social visibility” concepts, but in an elegant and happy way’.
The posters are clearly deeply considered and conceptually fascinating, but perhaps one of the most standout elements enhancing the overall series is Leonardo’s manipulation of colour. For Leonardo, colour works like a dialect or inflection in someone’s tone of voice. ‘When you hear a sentence in a conversation, the real meaning of it depends on the tone of voice, the facial expression, the glance’, he elaborates. ‘In this case, the composition and colour palettes helped me to express my intentions, and the reason I chose a specific word or sentence…Colours and forms help me “to speak with my voice” to the viewer.’
Led by a block-like structure, the compositions in this series rely on the letterforms to tesselate and build on one another to create dynamic, graphic layouts. ‘The first idea was to relate the layout of the compositions to the images you can find about printmaking with movable types’, says Leonardo. ‘So, all the letters had to stay connected inside a rectangle, like a unique “prepackaged” block. But, in order to give them a more “fresh” and funny appeal, I distorted and rotated them, and gave each a different ratio. The focus was on finding the perfect balance—the result had to be dynamic and joyful, but preserve legibility at the same time.’
First creating sketches for each artwork, Leonardo moved forward with digital tools to create in 3D, before building a virtual photoset that highlighted the ‘social visibility’ concept for the backgrounds. ‘Last but not least was the texturing, colour and lighting in 3D for each element, in order to increase the contrast between the letters and make it more “tasty” and playful’, he adds. ‘I like the idea that I can virtually sculpt what initially I sketch on paper, and another cool aspect is that you can see your compositions from so many points of view. In my case, that often inspires new, undiscovered design ideas.’ In all of his artworks, Leonardo uses Illustrator, Cinema4D, Procreate with iPad Pro and Lightroom, for colour correction.
Having never attended art or design college, Leonardo’s skillset is primarily self taught. Driven by an adoration of contemporary art, modern design and typography, over the last six years he’s been studying and developing letterforms in depth; treating them like ‘sculptures’ with an abundance of potential to explore. In the future, Leonardo tells us we can look forward to projects in which he’ll focus on combining hand-drawn stuff with digital tools—an area he says he finds ‘very exciting’—as well as more exploration of combining 2D and 3D. He’s also interested in playing with 3D type animations, so it’ll be amazing to see how that plays out. But for now, while underpinned by perceptive, timely readings of our collective virtual existence, Feedbacks reads like Leonardo’s love letter to letterforms; with colours, compositions and textures meticulously rendered to enhance and adorn the shapes of the type in stunning detail. Thank you, Leonardo.