Monday, March 28, 2011

Reading Response: Radical Type Design Openers

New technologies directly initiate typographic experimentation. Weingart used hand-composed lead type, letterpress, and transparent film that created a new aesthetic for typography by referencing the experiments of VanderLans and Licko. "You have to know the rules to break them." Friedman, a student of Weingart, encouraged a new typography through computer driven photo typesetting that investigates "formal conventions" of legibility and communication of information in linguistic and literary theory and the codes found within them. April Greiman used digital technology (mac) as a key element in the creation of her self portrait. This marked, "one of the first forays into the possibilities of expressive layout in the digital era and indeed the confirmation of a 'new wave' aesthetic." Mark Holt and Hamish Muir (with Michael Burke and Simon Johnston) combined clear, typographic structure from the Modernist thought taught at Basel, with the new aesthetic of overlapping texts combined with various colors and point size.

Language also plays an essential role in typographic experimentation seen in the work of Kathrine and Michael McCoy in their "new" typographic ideas. It was based on Postmodernism and Post-structuralist literary theory in the relationship between type and image and the symbolic codes that allow the viewer to understand the message and its meaning. This included "deconstructing Modernist typographic paradigms and developing a self-critical awareness..." This links "linguistic technique" to "typographic play." In other words, McCoy encourages a conscious use of both language and form. In the 1980-90s, experimental typography added another level of meaning that was contained in the interpretation of the actual text in publications such as Fuse. 1990 marked the influence of Postmodernist theory on experimental typography through fragmentation, hybridity, parody, pastiche, wit and play. In that, the reader was a participant in the construction of the message. This was practiced by Jeffery Keedy who attempted to, "promote multiple rather than fixed readings." In my experiments, it will be interesting to emphasize this specific point possibly through the use of layering of information in the message or a combination of the basic components of the message that allows the viewer to construct their own.

Triggs established the integration of experimental typography as an accepted and useful part of the design process, however, questions whether or not it has ceased to be experimental or if it is just a, "continuation of earlier experimental strategies and processes." Contemporary typography uses new techniques such as sound and choreography and the use of architectural and virtual space. In my opinion, all of these surround the idea of the experience within the typography. These aren't just about forms, but using materials, available technology and construction of multiple messages to create and actual experience.

Typographic experimentation should grow and develop at the same time as technology. They should always respond to one another. A present-day technology equivalent to a desktop computer would include items like iphones and ipads. Exploring the second order of denotation expands the message. This is emphasized in Keedy's promotion of multiple rather than fixed meanings. This has the potential to allow the user to become a part of the message, a discovery, and become something the reader might not have foreseen.

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