Critical typography is not functional or practical. It is not interested in legibility or transparency.
Its purpose is to disrupt and arrest the reader/viewer.
It interrupts the unconscious state with dissonance. It is often achieved by creating a gap between what is seen and what is understood.
It doesn’t fit expectations.
It seems out of place.
It’s somehow not right.
Often it involves an unexpected context, re-contextualization, and juxtaposition.
It can seem unfinished or unresolved; it can seem like something is missing.
In freeing typography from its function as arrangement of language, critical typography blurs the boundaries between text and image.
Text becomes image.
Critical typography is not concerned with perfection.
Critical typography may not identify its source or author.
It is ambiguous and purposely designed to challenge.
It is unexpected and frequently experienced by walking in public spaces.
Its purpose is to make those that come in contact with it think and question fundamental assumptions.
It can be uncomfortable, and funny.
The best craftsmanship always leaves holes and gaps in the works of the poem so that something that is NOT in the poem can creep, crawl, flash, or thunder in.
from Notes on the Art of Poetry, The Poems of Dylan Thomas
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Project 1 Critical Typography Aug 27–Sept 24
In this project you should use a published text, on a subject of your choice, to design an expression with only typography. Your typographic design—its content/form, style, scale, medium, location, etc.—should provoke and inspire, making those that come in contact with it to re-think and question fundamental assumptions. (intro to vinyl cutter/Risograph in printmaking shop).
Readings for Sept 1: Critical Design, Design Noir, and Critical Design FAQ, Dunne & Raby
Conversations With the Network, Khoi Vinh
Practice From Everyday, Goggin
What is This Thing Called Design Criticism?, Rock, Poynor
Installation (anonymous) – inventory of German cottage possessions?
Last Words, Tom McQuaid, 2012
Forms of Inquiry: exhibition featuring graphic designers who base their work in critical investigation.
Rick Poynor speaks in Helvetica, (on http://www.lynda.com/ www.upenn.edu)
Type is saying things to us all the time. Typefaces express a mood; an atmosphere. They give words a certain coloring.
Graphic design is the communications framework through which these messages, about what the world is now and what we should aspire to; it’s the way they reach us. The designer has an enormous responsibility. Those are the people putting their wires into our heads.
—Rick Poynor, Helvetica
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