‘Typography and language’ research.

This week we’re looking into the history of typography and how it has developed throughout time, both in stylisation and application. Before the session, I done a bit of research into the history of typography, as well as how hip hop culture has influenced typography, using some old study notes from back at AUT and also, the links found on Moodle.

First, here is a Youtube clip I found that brings to life the history of typography though that of the various typefaces created for distinct purposes. I found this youtube video to be of great help in identifying when and how particular fonts were created, and by whom. It was interesting to learn that the first Roman typeface was made in the 15th Century, by Nicolas Jenson- I didn’t know about this! This was not only a good insight into how particular typefaces emerged and evolved in its stylisation ( such as form serif to sans and more modern posterised fonts), it was also a nice display of kinetic typography.

This was a good prelude into that of the kinetic typography hip hop clip: Taleb Kweli. ft Abby Dobson “State of Grace” (http://bit.ly/1S7JBSB). This was a beautiful example of kinetic typography with integrated influences from Jean-Michel Basquiat (http://bit.ly/1qIvIDA). Basquiat was a poet, musician and graffiti prodigy in late-1970s New York. his works included a style of scribbling, symbolism, diagrams and what is called mask and skull imagery. His artistic style was used to inspire this typographic music video in order to create a hip hop culture without the use of graffiti fonts.

But what about before all of the past and present printing technology? Language has been expressed for much longer than all of this! Humans were communicating by inscribing  various symbolic and indexical lines and images, preserving their form of language and currency through tartaria tablets (6000 BC), cuneiform tablets and so on. The Egyptians used pictograms and Hieroglyphs, as did the Myans, in order to tell stories and communicate ways that are culturally specific. Throughout many cultures, many writing systems are syllabic, such as the Chinese calligraphic scripts.

After class: The lesson today was really informative! We had a slideshow demonstrating just how much type has changed due to technological advancements and the need to change type in order to fit with the current eras and their messages. It was amazing to see how the process of sign writing has immensely evolved due to the introduction of technologies that allow for much faster ways of getting jobs done (http://bit.ly/1sXalZ2). I really admire the hard work and skill acquired from sign writing in the past. It proves that the only way to get good at anything is to apply yourself; to never stop practicing. I also really loved when Paul emphasised that graffiti is an art form and not rubbish. This is how I view these styles of fonts too; it takes a sheer amount of skill to create an illustrative typeface- especially from scratch!

I didn’t bring in any letterforms to class because I wasn’t overly sure what size to print, how much and what kinds of types to really bring in…but we were told after the slideshow to trace up various types of fonts in order to gain an understanding of them and a feel for their constructions. I will talk more about this in my ICA section.


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