All that is necessary for any language to exist is an agreement between a group of people. We have been taught, some might say indoctrinated into believing that certain letter forms correspond to a letter and all the denotations and connotations that come with it. For example, we are not conscious of the fact that the letter form A sound like an "Ayyy" from birth (obviously this is a phonetic approximation in order to make a point).
Letter forms develop from seemingly unconnected origins and their meanings and connotations develop differently depending on the people who believe the meanings. For example, a letter A could mean something completely different to people in isolated areas of china.
The reason that we have all accepted the latin alphabet is not only that the majority do and therefore it is collected by others but also because it is such a robust system that can with stand quite high levels of change and still make sense. this sense comes not only from the shape of the individual letter forms but also from their context within the alphabet and words. We are so used to using the system that we know not only the shapes of the letters but the relationships they have to each other. This is why we can recognise quite abstract type faces.
We then went on to look at the different production methods that contributed to the aesthetic of some type faces. These include:
-Stone (Stone carving gave birth to the serif, the lead into the main stroke of the letter was needed to stop the stone from cracking)
-Sable (brush strokes and the line width changes caused by the movement of the brush)
-Bone (Quill nibs and the sharp terminals and high contrast in line weight caused by them.)
-Wood (large block like lettering with angular edges to stop too much ware and tear on the movable type blocks.)
-Lead (Much smaller font sizes could be produced with very thin edges and delicate serifs.)
-Silicone (the silicone chip allow the precise production of nearly all the shape you can think of so the creation of abstract fonts increased.)
We sorted the letter forms that we had brought as part of the task from the last seminar and sorted them into the production areas that had influenced the aesthetic of each font. Our result is below. From left to right: stone, Sable, wood, lead, silicone.
We were then asked to find another way to categorise our letter forms, we came up with serif sans serif and humanist, transitional and modern. The result is below.
We then went on to look at the origins of the combination of typography and graphic design and the birth of the analytical way of thinking about type. The way they considered the relation of form and function and the way that form came after function.
The task that we deal with as graphic design is the fact that there are so many different usable font in existence, so we must learn to analyse and understand the fonts to apply them to the correct context and usage. type must change according to international requirements as well because of the shrinking state of international relations.
It will also be necessary to become aware of the combination of image and text and the way typographic rules may not be applicable to image type.
As part of an ongoing project we have been asked to create a type journal to document our awareness of the type that surrounds us, this will be constantly updated on my design practice blog.