These graphics started with an idea for minimal marks that use very condensed text to create tall vertical bars to form a shape that is also a single word or phrase. I started with a typeface called Unique, and in most cases, exaggerated its base form by extending the characters’ stems. I also fine-tuned the kerning in each case, as you do, and messed around with some skewing. The unplanned theme that came out of this exercise was a message of acceptance—we’re all fallible and it’s no big deal and nothing really matters anyway. But because it can come across pretty dark to say something like “nothing matters”, and also I don’t entirely believe that, and also because humor is good, I stole the phrase “nothing really mattress” from some graffiti that was in the background of something I saw on TV. I really wish I would’ve written down where I saw that. But it made me laugh out loud when I did, because the word mattress is so unexpected. Dumb funny word play.
The face that appears in some of these is Arthur Balfour (1848-1930) who was quoted as saying "Nothing matters very much, and few things matter at all".