Critical Typography

Critical typography is not functional or practical. It is not interested in legibility or transparency.

Its purpose is to disrupt and arrest the reader/viewer.

It interrupts the unconscious state with dissonance. It is often achieved by creating a gap between what is seen and what is understood.
It doesn’t fit expectations.
It seems out of place.
It’s somehow not right.
Often it involves an unexpected context, re-contextualization, and juxtaposition.
It can seem unfinished or unresolved; it can seem like something is missing.

In freeing typography from its function as arrangement of language, critical typography blurs the boundaries between text and image.
Text becomes image.

Critical typography is not concerned with perfection.
Critical typography may not identify its source or author.
It is ambiguous and purposely designed to challenge.
It is unexpected and frequently experienced by walking in public  spaces.
Its purpose is to make those that come in contact with it think and question fundamental assumptions.
It can be uncomfortable, and funny.

The best craftsmanship always leaves holes and gaps in the works of the poem so that something that is NOT in the poem can creep, crawl, flash, or thunder in.
—Dylan Thomas, Notes on the Art of Poetry

Type is saying things to us all the time. Typefaces express a mood; an atmosphere. They give words a certain coloring.
Graphic design is the communications framework through which these messages, about what the world is now and what we should aspire to; it’s the way they reach us. The designer has an enormous responsibility. Those are the people putting their wires into our heads.
—Rick Poynor, Helvetica

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Project 1  Critical Typography  Aug 29–Sept 26

In this project you should use a published text, on a subject of your choice, to design an expression using only typography. Your typographic design—its content/form, style, scale, medium, location, etc.—should provoke and inspire, making those that come in contact with it to re-think and question fundamental assumptions. (Complete Fab Lab Safety Course and get intro to vinyl cutter/Risograph in printmaking shop).

Readings for Aug 31:
Design Noir, Critical Design and Critical Design FAQ, Dunne & Raby
What is a Designer?, and Is Designer an Artist?, Norman Potter
Who’s Responsible?, Michael Rock
Practice From Everyday, Goggin; The New Aesthetic and its Politics and Works, James Bridle

Critical Typography TumblrType Only TumblrType Class Tumblr (Germany)
Day 1 Themes 2017
The New Aesthetic
Design and Violence, MoMA
MoMA Design Office
Parsons/New School Trans Disciplinary Design
Printed Web and Library of the Printed Web
Monument Lab

Yale Billboard (Manos)

TypeTalk 2016 AdvDes
Wordwall 2016

* Protest signs and t-shirts

* Adv Des Selected 2014-16

Code of Academic Integrity

2015 Project 1
Class Action

Selected projects 2015

Jenny Ho, [subject] [phrase] [action] [object], 2015

Inspirrational Quotes, Hallden, 2013

Contemporary Is, Hallden, 2013

Noise of Time, Anastasiya Shekhtman, 2014

Resistance Checklist, Mia Landsbergis, 2016


Helvetica Trailer

drone shadow




More from Andrew Sloat

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