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Fifty and Fifty State Mottos

Typographic slogans from native designers on view at the Ace Hotel in NYC

by James Thorne in Design on 20 December 2012

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On view at the Ace Hotel in NYC, "Fifty and Fifty State Mottos" is an exhibition of prints paying graphic homage to our historic maxims, curated by designer and illustrator Dan Cassaro. After designing a print for his native New York, Cassaro reached out to friends and colleagues in the design world to each create one for their own home state. Cassaro provided the patriotic color palate and stipulated that the designs should center around the state motto, but left the field otherwise open to the highly capable individuals. The upshot showcases a hodgepodge of design notables, serving as a nationalistic who's who of people working in the field today.

Each print shows off a distinct illustrative aesthetic, ranging from infographic-inspired layouts to letterpress styling to cartoonish representations. Most chose to treat their home states kindly, although there are a few political digs here and there. For the 51st motto, Oliver Munday takes Washington D.C.'s message of "Justice for All" and playfully lays it over "Cash for Gold."

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"It's kind of a mini history lesson," says Cassaro. "Because obviously, whenever the state was becoming a state—that was when they came up with the motto." Most of the mottos are known popularly in Latin, which explains why many won't recognize the various phrases—except, of course, a few iconic ones like New Hampshire's "Live Free or Die."

"Fifty and Fifty State Mottos" will be on view at the Ace Hotel through 1 February 2013. All prints are available for purchase through a dedicated shop on Society6. See images of the individual prints in the slideshow.

Installation photography by Alonzo Felix

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