please help!...type topics

mel77's picture

please help!

I'm a graphic design student and have just started my final year. In this year we have to do a major project which runs in two parts over the year, first part (where i am now) is research based and the second is the studio practice and actually designing something that has come out of this research.

My topic from the end of last year was expressive type and legibility, with questions like does type need to be read to communicate ideas etc. From this i was told i need to ask harder questions and "go much deeper and in more fresh, even idiosyncratic directions with your research."

i am interested in the development of type like how it started purely as a function - a way to communicate but is now an important means of communication and can show visual evidence of thought and emotion.

But i need something else to apply type to or some sort of social issue etc....which is what im really stuck with so please help if you have any ideas or thoughts, it would really be appreciated!

some examples from other students :
ballroom dancing - showing the movement and dance through type
and someone last year redid a book of personal letters (cant remember the book title or by who) in a typographic way.


jslabovitz's picture

Political protest signage?

Book cover spines?

Junk mail envelopes?


blank's picture

Type as a social issue is pretty easy—write about how the communists typographers of the Russian constructivist movement helped establish the second-most murderous and second-most repressive slave state in human history, condemning tens of millions of people to death. Take a look at the work of Lizzitsky and Rochenko and you can just churn out volumes about how typography can be used for evil in the guise of liberal social causes.

ben_archer's picture

(James – way off topic man; and for your own sake learn how to spell their names before you diss them; that's El Lizzitsky and Aleksandr Rodchenko to you. I'm really looking forward to seeing a post from you that doesn't announce your politics first and your ignorance second).

Mel – as for your project, well, look around you; I remember a big fuss (national newspaper headlines) from a few years ago about the graphic work done for Te Papa by Saatchis Wellington. Even the fairly recent 'concrete poetry' project along the waterfont there is not free of contention. Wellington does an international arts festival no? What do you think are the key criteria in selecting the typefaces for the festival collateral? How does this translate from the local government brief to what the agency actually ends up using? And how? Much of the time it's not the type itself that is emotive, so much as the way it has been used...

Research; I notice that the 'local' ProDesign magazine had become a lot more type-friendly in recent issues (they now have Kris Sowersby writing a regular column) so why not go through the back issues?

timd's picture

Fashion’s use of thin typefaces?
Do companies or organisations in the same sector use a particular kind of typeface, for example, finance, political parties or food retail. What meaning(s) are they trying to impart by their choice, are there any “rebels” do they have a different meaning etc. etc.


btw El Lissitzky

ben_archer's picture

Agh! Knew I should've looked it up : (

timd's picture

I don’t mean to embarrass anyone, just to make it easier for Mel to research the area, if she is interested, although I suspect our takes on the subject are similar.


mel77's picture

cool thanks for that Ben, yeah i remember the concrete poetry along the waterfront, so will look into that more - have heaps of pics, and true that it's the way type has been used thats emotive, which is what im more interested in rather than the typefaces themselves, (sorry was hard to get out what i was thinking properly in the first post) and sweet i actually have a subscription to ProDesign so will go through all them this arvo...

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