RTD2015 13 DAY1 PM Powley 266.pdf (5.71 MB)

RTD2015 13 Exploring interpretation as a creative strategy within type design

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journal contribution
posted on 11.04.2019 by RTD Conference, Caroline Powley

This paper describes an investigation into interpretation as an alternative approach for developing type design concepts. My practice-based project explored different interpretive strategies, with the intention of identifying a framework to provide structure to the initial stages of type design. It also aimed to create a set of interpretive type design processes that were generative and flexible.

The key interpretive strategy I drew on was conceptual metaphor theory. Metaphors can aid understanding by structuring a complex process in terms of a simpler, often physical or spatial, experience. I used two metaphors for linguistic translation to reframe and develop two interpretive type design processes, called Neighbourhood (transfer) and Build (assimilation). I used these to translate aspects of selected New Zealand suburban architecture (single-bay villa, Californian bungalow and state house) into letterforms. The outcomes were communicated through two sets of artefacts, including process publications, prototypefaces and design guidelines. The processes were then extended into an introductory type design assignment for undergraduate students.

This paper reflects on whether interpretative processes can expand existing idea generation options for type designers and act as a learning tool. It also highlights the potential of conceptual metaphor theory as a framework for reviewing and developing design processes.

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