Phase 2, born Lonny Wood, is a writer from the Bronx and was known as a member of the Zulu Nation. Word on the street is that he’s an elusive legend, but his graffiti and graphic design works speak for themselves. This flyer in particular displays some of Phase 2’s typographic tendencies that I find particularly compelling. For example, the composition of the title with that tiny “s” gets me every time. Also, the “NYC BREAKERS” along the bottom jumbled as if they’re breaking is excellent. Even the quotation marks are dancing. Phase 2’s attention to detail is great, cutting out the back of the “D” that overlaps the “G” in “EDGE,” and the consistent tight setting of all of the caps is quite lovely when you consider he rubbed each letter on individually.
A handful of African-American designers seemed exempt from Modernism’s influence, which may be because they didn’t work in advertising or commerce. Buddy Esquire and Phase 2 were self-taught as designers, yet began as graffiti writers and translated the expressive qualities of their life-sized work to letter sized paper using Letraset type, Exacto knives, pens, and glue.