Tuesday, 4 December 2012


Today we had another design principles sessions with Fred, the focus of the session was put on how letter characteristics can affect the way a word is said. We started the session by recapping the importance of semiotics in design. They are useful as they visually communicate words with images.  We then looked at the use of visual metaphors

The three images above are all visual metaphors of New York City, they represent new york because they are all images that we accept as symbols of the city.

‘Work the metaphor. Every object has the capacity to stand for something other than what is apparent. Work on what it stands for.’

Visual Metaphor

A visual metaphor is used to transfer the meaning from on image to another. Although the images may have no close visual relationship, a metaphor conveys an impression about something relatively unfamiliar by driving a comparison between it and something familiar.

Visual Synecdoche

This term is applied when a part is used to represent the whole, or vice versa. 

Visual Metonym

A visual metonym is a symbolic image that is used to make reference to something with more literal meaning. For example, a cross might be used to represent the church. By way of association the viewer makes a connection between the image and the intended subject.

‘In trying to separate words from pictures we have to accept that words are ‘pictures of letters’ – David Crow.

We the started looking at type hierarchy, fonts with different characteristics have different jobs, such as display fonts. They are used for titles and signage, as they are bold, attention grabbing and legible from a distance. A good example of how type hierarchy can control the audience’s eye, we were shown an example from ‘Editorial’ magazine. The use of display fonts pulls your eye from the article and across the page.

After we finished discussing type hierarchy, we got out the ‘Who are you?’ task that we were required to complete for this session. The first task required us to re-arrange the words mixing the bold, light and regular versions, at this stage we kept the point sizes together.

Then we had to verbalise how we thought the sentence would sound, regular words were said at a normal tone, contrasting this I put emphasis on the bold words.

In the next task we could mix the different point sizes to add further emphasis to certain words. Moreover, we could also experiment with the leading between each word to add pauses. Working with these techniques enabled us to portray different feelings such as confusion.

However, the sentences were often still said in a monotone, as they had no context behind them. In the final task we were required to think of a context such as anger, then say the phrase portraying this. Each person in the group had to portray the sentence using their words, aiming to portray the context in which it was said.

Finally, at the end of the session we were given a task to complete. We are required to produce ten landscape A4 sheets, each with a font portraying the lingual traits of an accent. The accents that we have to word with are listed below.

  • Scottish
  • South African
  • Italian
  • Texan
  • Mexican
  • Somerset
  • Brummie – (Birmingham)
  • Cocknie – (London)
  • German
  • Chinese
  • Swedish
Firstly, I started by finding audio examples of each accent. I want to portray the phonics of each accent, rather than stereotypically portray each accent based on its country/place of origin.  


South African 









In our next design principles session with Fred we used our accent-fonts in the first task of the lesson. We were first required to leave our fonts in a pile rotate round to a different table.  When seated around the new table our group had to make a pile of fonts that we thought portrayed each accent, as we had no indication of the accent this was very hard. 

Some fonts portrayed the origin of the accent rather than the phonetic sound, these were much easier to categorise due to our association with the accents origin. Moreover, some fonts relied on using point size to highlight certain characters. After we finished sorting the fonts we had label the sheets with the name of the accents we believed they portrayed. Finally, we had to select the three font piles that we believed were fully correct and, our choices were South – African, Chinese and Texan.

Finally, we moved back to our tables and correctly arranged our original fonts, this way we could check how many fonts were put in the correct pile. Overall we managed to place around half of the fonts into the correct piles. 

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