July 24, 2008
WORDS: Legible | Visible
Words are legible, definitely; that is the purpose for their existence and why we invented them in the first place but we designers forget at times (though we use them as such) that words are also visible and at times audible... if you can strike the right notes... Another beautiful aspect about written word that is lost is about its tactile quality. Since the Gutenberg, we no longer touch 'words' as they are now printed as opposed to being carved, engraved or constructed.... That is why I think Brail is beautiful because it is a language of touch that touches you… Years ago, Victor Hugo wrote in “This will Kill That” about the ill effects of the printing press… describing the fear that the printed word would kill architecture, will replace our need to record history through great buildings, architecture and the sculpted, constructed word…. People no longer would need to visit historical places, buildings that incorporated and recorded history, culture and time itself through built words, paintings and sculpture… I am not sure if the printed word has actually killed art of architecture or not but is has definitely deprived us of the visual and tactile qualities of the word….
At their best, words are hieroglyphic and pictograms that perpetuate a meaning or two and are grossly abused for their multiple meanings or used effectively to seduce and be persuasive. In today’s technologically advanced and visually obsessed world, they have taken over our lives and have become bits and bytes that pixelate our imagination. Reading is constantly confronted by seeing and scrolling... while words float over and across the screen trying to draw our attention or distract us from reality as they bend every form of what is real. They have always been that way, actually! - But still, words are beautiful, however treacherous they may/can be... and as designers, we are always going to use them to seduce, persuade or dissuade; but more than anything else, never lose sight of the fact that they are 'visual' and graphic and can be used not only to tell a story but to also paint pictures....
‘Spaces between’, Oh the interludes!
Squeezed between words, silence hurts
Words turn my imagination into
A magical, legible, audible landscape.....