Edit (22/04/12) My original plan for my major project. Left here in case the references are useful to anyone looking into type & typography.

I suspect this will get updated as I start to delve in. Things will get crossed off, written in proper English, removing the word “stuff” etc.

My Major Idea

Essentially, I’m looking at the importance of words – not only what they say, but what the way they’re designed says. What happens if you take words out of the picture? What if you don’t know what the word means? Does it still have meaning? Why is the way they’re designed so important? Can you communicate effectively without words – or without words you understand? What makes a happy, sad, etc typeface?

Random Thoughts on the Above

  • How we make sense of signs and symbols
  • How words describe. How they have meaning on their own.
  • Do all lowercase ‘e’s look happy?
  • The fact that I chose a question mark for my blog logo – it has meaning on it’s own? It said more than a word could? It’s just a symbol.
  • Why do (some) serifs look “dated”?

Things I need to find out

  • Some history of typography – why we have 26 letters etc, where they came from.
  • Some cross cultural stuff – other alphabets
  • What is semiotics? I know what it is, but… more.
  • Other peoples’ experiments with typography

Important People


Books I have/have started looking at

  • Stop Stealing Sheep
  • Ways of Seeing
  • Thinking with Type

To Look At



  • Some study/podcast Ed mentioned about how babies form thoughts before they learn how to speak
  • One of the broadest definitions is that of Umberto Eco, who states that ‘semiotics is concerned with everything that can be taken as a sign’  http://www.aber.ac.uk/media/Documents/S4B/sem01.html
  • Reactions to BBC changing typeface


  • Semiotics
  • Typography
  • Meaning
  • Communication
  • Purely visual
  • Kinetic typography
  • Signs
  • Symbols
  • Language


  • Photographing a scene, room, poster, magazine page, website etc and removing all the words. What do they mean now?
  • Removing the words being sung in a song, and trying to recreate them with type
  • Writing something angry with “happy type” (Comic Sans? Ha.) vice versa.
  • Concept – website with no words, only posting pictures, no words allowed. Comments have to be pictures.
  • Blocking out letters – are words still recognisable?
  • Changing recognised typefaces in logos