Rafael Barontini

Creative destruction

“Evolutionary economics” is a term used to describe the ever-changing landscape of capital markets. These markets bring pain as well as gain — over time some will benefit, while others will be worse off. Evolutionary economics can be viewed as a sport or battle in which only the fittest survive, retaining economic relevance.

Economic news headlines often incorporate the aggressive and destructive language of battle: “Did Amazon Just Sound the Death Knell for Groupon?” These kinds of headlines resemble military lingo, which is also inherently destructive. Target group, price surge, downfall, uprising, and hostile takeover are terms commonly used both in economics and military slang.

This project, a wall installation, incorporates economic headlines alongside financial data. A typeface designed as part of the project differentiates the destructive terms in each headline; its form derives from a grid-based study of the letterforms used on both checks and stock market exchanges. The installation incorporates a long, scrolling sheet of paper that alludes to ticker tape — a historical point of intersection between economic and the military displays of might.

The thesis publication adapts many of these elements into the form of the book; incorporating a scrolling version of the headlines, a riff on the overlap between military and economic acronyms, and an index of the military symbols used to describe target detonation.

The project seeks to expose the close relationship between destructive language and economics. By weaving a multi-narrative, the clear lines between these separate disciplines become less distinct. Through the project, I hope to connect economics, graphic design, and the military under the umbrella term “creative destruction”; drawing public attention to this relationship to help viewers understand the lexicon’s subtle use.