These notes are pertinent to my project because they are about how type works. The whole book offers an excellent overview of type and typography, but these are the parts which jumped out at me. Since focussing my project with my proposal, I intend to revisit the book.
Lupton, E. (2004). Thinking With Type. New York: Princeton Architectural Press.
“The alphabet, rather than evolve into a transparent code for recording speech, developed its own visual resources, becoming a more powerful technology as it left behind its connections to the spoken word.” (p.67)
This sentence sums up what I’m looking at very well. Why didn’t the alphabet become a transparent code? What are these visual resources? Lupton isn’t wrong when she says it became a more powerful technology. A design discipline in its own right, there’s an art to communicating with type. It is just as important as any other element in design and using the wrong typeface can destroy a message.
“Redefining typography as “discourse”, designer Katherine McCoy imploded the traditional dichotomy between seeing and reading. Pictures can be read (analyzed, decoded, taken apart), and words can be seen (perceived as icons, forms, patterns). Valuing ambiguity and complexity, her approach challenged readers to produce their own meanings while trying also to elevate the status of designers within the process of authorship.” (p.73)
I agree that there is a crossover between type and pictures. If you look at a letter, it is still a picture, and it still has its own meaning. You can analyse, decode and take apart that letter. The letter itself has been designed – there are reasons for why it is the way it is. It is also speaking – all by itself.