Critical Signs: Investigating Typography as an expanded practice

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Typography, the visual manifestation of language communicates meaning through alphabetic and non-alphabetic forms, which in turn are producers of linguistic value. In this study, the inter-relationship between language, typography and communication is explored and questioned through the process of experimental typography. Through a series of practice-led formal and non-linear typographic experiments, letterforms and glyphs are deconstructed and framed in alternative ways. As a communication device, typography embraces two opposing positions, rational, where typography is an ‘invisible’ conduit of information, and abstract, where typography becomes non-linear, unconventional and pushes boundaries of legibility and readability through experimentation and manipulation. Experimentation in a scientific context is an empirical procedure carried out to examine a hypothesis in a controlled environment in order to seek a definitive set of readings or outcomes. In contrast, when
experimentation is applied to typography, an open, fluid, non-formulaic relationship is formed where boundaries of typographic forms are examined and manipulated without any pre-determined outcomes. Experimentation in this sense is an interactive process whereby new readings of typographic forms can be viewed and interpreted. Synthesising practice with semiotic and communication theory, this study examines how typographic abstraction can reconfigure meaning and offer alternative readings in the visual presentation of language.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPhD by Design. Design Research Society (DRS) 2018
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - Jun 2018


  • Typography
  • Experimentation
  • Meaning


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