As we use typographic information every day, each letter, word, and sentence is perceived not only as the language they represent, but also a shape. Thanks to the design of these shapes, we can perceive their different forms; every typeface has its own image, which is provided by the tool with which the typeface was produced.
At this point in history, I should like to ponder the shapes that are drawn within a medium that is best known for its expressive use of typography and where this behaviour is welcome: the poster.
The poster itself has many faces and triggers different emotions. It wants to sell, to inform, to get attention – and in all cases it has to be readable and understandable. This raises the following question:
what does the design of and with typographic images mean for the formal aspects of poster design and – in particular – the meaning of the content?
Today, these shapes are being drawn by a computer, which allows for better-calculated shapes. It provides designers with a new set of tools and a new type of aesthetics, not to mention the programs that create the illusion of space and 3D. Shortcuts speed up our work and we tend to forget about the basic shape which helped create today’s trends: letters are being drawn more freely and it seems with less, though already agreed on, rules – not least when it is a matter of formalism.
To avoid getting lost in this abundance of possibilities, all the drafts of the first development stage are produced in an analogue manner.
In my thesis, I focus on the typographic images that have occurred throughout the history of poster design in the 1970s, analyzing on how they display typography by focusing on the images provided by a letter, a word, or a sentence. While it is important to transmit a message by our system of language in the poster, it is also important to intuitively see and decide whether we like what we see or not. This also addresses the question of aesthetics and the trends prevalent within our society and our environment.
The practical process proceeds with the same questions: how do I display typographic images by using a strict system? What parts of systematic designing are helpful in order to achieve the expected goal? What do they look like when designed intuitively? And how can the findings of both approaches be combined?
On the one hand, this addresses the technical handling of adding a specific character, while on the other one, it addresses the moments of decision-making in the field of designing typographic letters in order to get to the very character of an image.
The first drafts are a series of formal explorations on how to formally add an image character to the letterform. The second step is to apply the systems and qualities found in a first phase on words reflecting the different changes in meaning that occur. With these findings, the last step consists in exploring the qualities of a word with several different meanings that are being compared through different drafts. When refining the drawings to get them into their final shape, there is a phase of balancing what is seen with what is read that is explored more in-depth.