As the top of the homepage of this website suggests, I’m a Legibilitator, Speculator, Type Designer and Doctor, and while the word Legibilitator is obviously a made up title, the others bring attention to what I would actually label myself, a Speculative Type Designer.
What this means, and what I tell people, is that I often make letters that may or may not look like letters.
Based in Melbourne, Australia, I am currently a university lecturer and freelance designer. However, throughout my career as a designer I have also researched, explored and played with the Latin letterforms. By undertaking this research and exploration it has allowed me to reach a point where I have now fundamentally altered the way that I create, perceive and understand the shapes of the alphabet.
Looking through this site you will be able to follow the many visual avenues that I have taken over time with some leading to further exploration, some inducing confusion and some purely undertaken just for fun. However, every piece of work has influenced the ways that I create and makes me look forward to what comes next.
I hope you enjoy.
Also, if you are interested in collaborating on a project or having me contribute to an exhibition, journal, magazine or book, I’d love to hear from you.
Speculatype: A Transformative Approach to the Perception, Understanding and Creation of Latin Letterforms, Self-Published – 2017 (Buy Now)
The Essence of Latin Letterforms, Honours Dissertation – 2010
Speculatype: A Transformative Approach to the Perception, Understanding and Creation of Latin Letterforms, Doctoral Thesis – 2014
Usbek & Rica, ‘Alphabets codés : l’étrange beauté des typographies spéculatives’, Feature/Gallery – 2017 (Online) (French)
Subtle Disruptors Podcast, ‘Barry Spencer: Subtly distrupting the Latin alphabet – SD54’, Interview – 2017 (Online) (iTunes) (SoundCloud)
étapes, ‘Barry Spencer, typographe futuriste’, Feature – 2017 (Online) (French)
VICE/Creators, ‘An Australian Type Designer Created a Kaleidoscopic Alphabet for the Year 3000’, Feature – 2017 (Online)
Melbourne Lettering Club, ‘Barry Spencer – Speculatype’, Interview – 2017 (Online)
Medium, ‘Cryptic Clara and her search for search for clarity’, Article – 2016 (Online)
Type Worship, ‘Can you crack the typographic code?’, Feature – 2016 (Online)
Typism, Book Three, Artwork – 2016
TypographHer, ‘Bravery, abstract thinking, and creative leaps’, Interview – 2016 (Online)
Lettering Hub, ‘Gridded Type Design’, Article – 2016 (Online)
Type Worship, ‘Unique Type Gridded Sketchbooks’, Feature – 2016 (Online)
Typism, Book Two, Artwork – 2015
Typograph.Journal, Volume 2, Artwork/Interview – 2014
Typism, Book One, Artwork – 2013
Computer Arts Magazine, Issue 167, ‘114 new pro tips for type’, Guest Contributor – 2009 (Online)
Typotastic Magazine, Issue Two, ‘Labyrinths & Facades’, Guest Interview – 2006
Work-Shop Melbourne, ‘Experimental Type Design Workshop’, Fitzroy VIC, Australia – 2017
Saint Gertrude Letterpress, ‘Featured Artist for Letterpress Workshop’, Brunswick VIC, Australia – 2016
Academy of Design, ‘Grids and Letterforms Workshop’, Collingwood VIC, Australia – 2016
Tractor Design School, ‘Guest Speaker for LunchMeet’, Melbourne VIC, Australia – 2016
Work-Shop Melbourne, ‘Speculative Type Design Workshop’, Fitzroy VIC, Australia – 2016
Typism Conference, ‘Transformation, Speculation and Letterforms’, Gold Coast QLD, Australia – 2015 (Intro Video) (Wrap Up)
Charles Sturt University, ‘Getting out of a rut (Practical strategies for motivating yourself, overcoming writer’s block and getting out of a rut. Presented by those who have been there!)’, DocFest (Online/Wagga Wagga, NSW), Australia – 2014
Swinburne University, ‘Guest Lecture on Folio Presentation’, Prahran VIC, Australia – 2007
Upwey High School, ‘Guest Speaker on Design Practice’, Upwey VIC, Australia – 2007
Live Gridded Type Demonstration, Blip Market, Collingwood VIC, Australia – 2017
Pegboard Wall Typographic Installation, Academy of Design, Collingwood VIC, Australia – 2016
I’d Letterpress the Shit Out of That, Work-Shop Melbourne, Fitzroy VIC, Australia – 2015
The 100 Day Project Exhibition, Sun Moth Canteen and Bar, Melbourne VIC, Australia – 2015
Do What You Love, Academy of Design, Port Melbourne VIC, Australia – 2015
Tone of Voice, CATC Design School, Melbourne VIC, Australia – 2014
What I Know Now, Academy of Design, Port Melbourne VIC, Australia – 2014
I Wear My Heart On My Tee 2, The Town Hall Gallery, Hawthorn VIC, Australia – 2009
Image courtesy of Lee Bolan Photography.