When attitudes become typeface
Certificate of Typographic Excellence, Type Directors Club 63, 2017
Gijs Bakker award nominated. 2016
recent video by creators project:
How to write Bodoni lowercase; Recently Sooji Lee has worked on a project for DAE master thesis, under the theme of 'Craftsmanship'. This project is literally about how to write certain typeface. She designed physical tool, process and behaviors for handwriting Bodoni. Since the mechanization has been intensified, lots of humane qualities have been deleted and replaced by machinery. Sooji Lee wondered what’s the non-reproducible humane originality and she found the possibility of a humane ‘aura’ in ‘craftsmanship’, which machines can never imitate.
Generally craftsmen stick to use their old tools because those tools are already ‘trained’ by craftsmen. As a graphic designer, Sooji Lee thought, the computer that she depends on most of times, doesn’t have that kind of material properties. She says, she is ‘training herself’ to follow newly developed software rather than ‘training it’ as her own tool. This is why she decided to design physical tool to write Bodoni.
Craftsmanship doesn’t come from the aesthetically well-made art piece; it comes from one’s attitude shaped by endless repetition to achieve the highest level of perfection. To draw the perfect Bodoni, she deconstructed lowercases and found 26 elements from which all letters can be constructed. For one letter ‘a’, it needs 74steps of strokes, 60curves from perfect circles, two different widths and directions of pen points and she steps on the pedal 43times to pull the pen up and down. It takes 30minutes to complete one single ‘a’.
We can reproduce an infinite quantity of identical letters of ‘a’ with a push of a button. The letter ‘a’ in her project takes long time, and the results of it will have all-different shapes; depending on the speed of hand, the spread of ink, the effect of the tool can’t be constant. Those autonomous differs become the humane perfection that the machine would never represent.
Literally our calendar is nothing more than a stack of 365 flat sheets of paper. But actually it is the container for life during one year: a collection of experiences, expectations, disappointments and moments of joy. Those things are immaterial. To me the accumulation of time (and experience) had to become the object. I decided to see a calendar as a square mass, made out of time.
Normally we would flip through the calendar to see inside. But when the calendar becomes a solid object, we need to slice it to look inside. So I sliced it to pull all information out. On the top surface, you can see equally sliced 365 days. The right side of surface reveals the months (hollowed small squares), weekdays (small prominent squares) and also school classes (thin black blank lines). The front surface displays school schedules and vacations.
Invisible space in the story of ‘The Purloined Letter’. Focused on the relationship between events, characters and the signifier
When we read a book, we can easily find out that the story doesn’t stay on one-dimensional line. Sometimes context that located at the end of the book could be a ground of context in the front, and sometimes one’s identity revealed in the end of the book. They are not only just a context located behind, but also they are originally existed like that from the beginning, but reader just didn’t realize the meaning behind it. So they could be located at the beginning of the book on the spatial structure.
I intended to eliminate meaning of the text -emotional figural context- and remain just three important elements -events, characters, and signifier- as symbols on the spatial structure. What I am going to show you ultimately in this project is that, the storyline of the book doesn’t exist on the flat structure. It has complicated invisible three-dimensional structure. I am going to visualize every event and relationship between each character spatially.
The story that I selected is [The Purloined Letter] by Edgar Allan Poe. I consulted ‘Jacques Lacan’s Seminar’ which reinterpreted [The Purloined Letter] to proceed this project.
Story of ‘The Purloined Letter’ is very simple. There are three important things, which are five characters, the plan and the letter. There are the king, queen, minister, police and Dupin for five characters.
The letter which doesn’t show It’s content until the end of the book, it was belonged to the queen at the beginning and the queen felt threat by opening it to public so she hided it with her own plan. However, minister found out the plan and stole the letter from queen and hide it just as queen’s plan, police failed to find it because he didn’t know the plan, and finally Dupin found the letter and fooled minister by using same plan and the letter went to queen again.
I paid attention on character’s inversion in every scene; they shift their position continuously with the letter as the center. Each of five position has their role every time, first position is for the one who doesn’t know anything about the event or plan, second position is for character who knows the event but not the plan therefore he fooled again, third is for the one who knows about the plan so he gains the letter, forth and fifth positions are for the people who don’t intervene in the event. Every character seats on these five positions every scene differently because the letter goes to here and there. I thought I could figure out three-dimensional space in their complicated but uniformed figures of relationships so I divided this story into 8 scenes and tried to symbolize their characters and relationships to visualize it.
Invisible space in the structure of book. Focused on the horizontal and vertical relationship between elements of book structure.
(title / index / prologue / chapters / epilogue)
I believe structure (frame) of book doesn’t exist on the one-dimensional line and each part of book has their own roles in specific position. But sometimes we feel the book flat structure; it is because we read a book as time progresses, page by page. So, I tried to ‘see’ the book as a meaningless three-dimensional massive spatial structure.
To visualize this thought, I’m going to exclude the meaning of text through some processes, which is like breaking up the book and condensing pages. I’ll come up with a general book -which I made with meaningless paper for this project- and break up their positions and rearrange them three-dimensionally by their roles.
Title is superordinate concept of book which represents whole book to reader in a brief time, it just like a exterior of a building. It seats the top position in the three dimensional structure. Index is the most objective position. It doesn’t include any of writer’s thought and just guide a way to read, to reader. So it will be located outside of structure as a looker-on. Prologue and Epilogue are opener and closer, so they include brief contents about whole book. They will take seats up and down with chapters as the center. Chapters are seperators, which divide contents for their context, and they are essence of the book so they will be located in the middle of structure.
I tore up every single pages to break up this one-dimensional general book frame, then I folded them into a small square forms to exclude the meaning of text.
Except Title and Index, the rest of parts have contents in their subordinate position. I arranged thetically these parts in order of their roles and importance. Some of parts have contents in their subordinate position and its quantity of pages are over than a page so they need to combine.
I designed a content box which combine all the pages of a chapter, I skewer condensed pages on the stick and they aligned in order of page number and then, I made a regular hexahedron with these sticks.
There are millions of various patterns in the world, however sometimes they just exist as a repetitive arranged graphics. I attempted to put some stories in the pattern so i designed readable pattern. If we could read the pattern, the pattern will turn into a meaningful graphic, which include someone’s story.
The main point of this project is continuity. I put continuity into every units of pattern. I duplicated every typefaces eight times and rotated them into circular shape so that they could be shown as a flower shapes. These repetitive units will repeat again to make a whole pattern.
Certainly this conceptual font doesn’t have highly efficient readability, it is much closer to pattern, however, the clear thing is that we can still read it.
We can find square shapes in our daily life easily. We face square ceiling at the beginning of the day; windows, televisions, books, laptops and a lot of things that we use in our everyday life don’t have shapes of star or circle. Difference, the power of exception, It is creativity. Standard cannot lead extraordinary thinking.
The most popular standardized square shape is International standard paper size type A and B, and I thought the most natural thing, which isn’t standardized, is the natural object, like plants. I wanted to represent a awkward gap while standard sized paper makes a shape of natural flower shape. I put these standards into natural rose shapes.