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Speculatype Book | 254x178mm | Print on Demand


Self-published book of my doctoral thesis completed in 2014.

This book explores my typeface development, methods, processes and practical outcomes over roughly a decade and how they have influenced my perception, creativity, understanding and approach to Latin letterforms.

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It is not commonplace to engage in a line of questioning that provokes a creative response that departs from the foundations of the Latin letterforms and their history. However, it’s by taking something as implicitly known as the Latin letterforms and applying a completely new interpretation to their creation, perception and understanding that I contribute new knowledge to the field of typographic research.

Based in creative and reflective practice, this research focuses on the transformation of my perception and understanding of letterforms, through my constant interaction with compositions and shapes that deviate from those expected in the Latin alphabet. Embracing a bricolage of research methodologies, theories and concepts, this thesis presents nine of my typeface designs and documents the ways that I have been inspired and influenced by each exploration, as well as the reflective observations and discussions that have transformed how I engage in the act of creating letterforms.

Deviating from the usual models of typographic research through its novel approach to the investigation, this study employs an open and speculative perspective towards letterforms and separates them from not only contexts and influences such as language, history, reading and print, but most importantly, any expectations of form. I argue that the associated ‘baggage’ that can extend into the design of their forms due to these environments and the minimal tinkering with the strokes and shapes of the Latin letterforms will potentially lead to a creative ‘dead end’. The reasons for this are that it enables an investigation of letterforms from an experimental and speculative viewpoint and that these investigations present little to no limitations from which to create. First and foremost, this is not a study about fonts, nor a study about alphabet, language or printing history, as many other authors have already comprehensively covered each of these topics.

This thesis explores the letterforms of our alphabet, not as a problem-solving project, but instead as like a scientific lab experiment or an artistic body of work and from a position that enables creativity through open thought and investigation with the potential to extend into innovation and unknown possibilities.

Title: Speculatype: A Transformative Approach to the Perception, Understanding and Creation of Latin Letterforms.
Author: Barry Spencer
Format: Hardback (Case Laminate)
Size: 254mm×178mm
Pages: 256
Colour: Black and White
ISBN: 9780648084204

4 in stock

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© Barry Spencer Design 2005–2024
I often make letters that may or may not look like letters.
info [at] barryspencerdesign.com.au
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