Expressive Typography

TwitterMaze – Chronotext

Chronotext is a sketchbook of typographical structures made with proce55ing, many of the pieces utilise 3-dimensional space and some of them are interactive. Textworm and Textwire are kinetic sentences that can be pulled around the screen to be reconfigured at will. The Book of Sand is an interactive version of a short story by Borges, coincidently one of my favourite storytellers. The sentences of the book flow according to the contours of piles of sand, try affecting the flow of the sentences by forming mounds of sand.

Peter Cho’s letterscapes at Typeractive explores each letter of the alphabet, giving each glyph character through interaction and motion. It’s interesting how each letter’s shape has to some degree dictated the type of transformation, interaction and motion used. DataIsNature’s favourite right now is W!

Uncontrol’s ‘One hundred million poems’ is a modular combinatorial piece that explores ‘expressive typography’ – a phrase initially coined by Robert Massin. (Click the square on the second row, 4th from the right labelled ‘massin’)

In the past poets and writers have tried to free up their poetry and prose to avoid the static rows and columns of the standard printed page. In 1918 the French poet Guillaume Apollinaire published a book of poems that did not look like poems, he named the book ‘Calligrammes’.. The poems were essentially configurations of letters or words forming an image of the subject of the poem itself. In “Il Pleut” (1916), words appear to cascade down the page like raindrops on a windowpane itself.

Picture poems actually go back a lot further than Apollinaire. When travelling through Morocco with a friend a few years ago I managed to pick up some beautifully illustrated books containing typographical pictograms and intricate geometric patterns made from words in stylised geometric type – a tradition that has existed for centuries.

My own fascination with calligraphy and kaleidoscopes lead me to make a set of experiments that I called Calliscopes. Calli means ‘beauty’ and Scope means ‘to look at’. These are essentially circular formations of dynamic text fields with skew transformations and rotations set by the position of the mouse pointer.

Try changing the typographic formation by entering a new message in the dynamic text field at the top of the page, especially with unorthodox characters.

see also Expressive Typography #02

Leave a Reply