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Design School Confidential by Lita Talarico, Steven Heller

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project brief
Each student is asked to research a subject of
their choosing. Working with one to three prima-
ry texts, they develop four printed panels of any
dimension that approach typography as meta-
phor. The fi rst panel is composed of paragraphs,
sentences, phrases. The second panel is individu-
al words. The third panel contains syllables. The
last panel has individual letters. Employing re-
search and writing skills, critical thinking, mind-
mapping, and experimentation, students give
form to metaphoric connotations they discover
within their text, through compositional arrange-
ment, juxtaposition, and typographic manipula-
tion. Placing particular emphasis on the research
process and text analysis, students use a lateral
approach, trying many possibilities before refi n-
ing their four-panel solutions. While we embrace
technology, we discourage the use of fi lters and
other instantaneous computer bells and whistles,
and encourage combining handwork with the
computer, as well venturing into the physical
worlds of the subject matter.
project goal
This project can help design students see type as
image, bridge meaning with form, and go beyond
utilitarian, overliteral, or preordained approaches
to typography.
Class: Advanced Typography
Level: Junior
Faculty: Warren Lehrer and Robin Lynch
Duration of Project: Four Weeks
State University of New York, Purchase College,
School of Art and Design
Purchase, New York, USA
33
Type as Metaphor
e
f
t
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o
e
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Dementia
Student: Hidetoshi Takahashi
Dementia is an illness that affects the brain and
memory, making you gradually lose the ability
to think and behave normally. I want these pan-
els to be a typo-cinematic portrayal of the fear,
anxiety, and sadness, particularly of Alzheimer’s.
The deep indigo background expresses fear of
the illness. The blue type represents the symp-
toms of the condition—memories, thoughts, and
feelings puzzling, fading. The orange type repre-
sents the patient’s hope, bright but diminishing.
The love and voices of family and supporters
generate light against the darkness of a bifur-
cated machine losing its power. September 21 is
World Alzheimer’s Day.
the projects 149
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Í
Selacaphobia
Student: Chaya Herman
These panels attempt to convey the terror and
anxiety that go through the minds of people
affl icted with selachophobia—the abnormal
and persistent fear of sharks. The fi rst panel
describes the condition. The second panel uses
the words shark, swimmer, and water to set the
stage for the anxiety the swimmer experiences
fearing a shark lurking beneath the surface of
the water. The third panel uses the word mon-
ster to build the image of the shark and then
the words torture, agony, woe, shred, and pain
to build the teeth signifying where the physical
and psychological torment takes place. Lastly,
the word water (now turning red) is used to
visualize the gruesome attack of the victim.
The fourth panel uses the letter S (for shark) to
create the image of bloody water showing all that
is left of the victim after the shark has attacked.
Ï
Battery Cages
Student: Brandon Campbell
The copy in panel one describes the gruesome
conditions of egg farms. The type is stacked and
distressed, representing the claustrophobic na-
ture of the hen cages. In panel two, a “debeaked”
K illustrates the process of beak removal in fac-
tory farms. Using only syllables in panel three,
the letterforms are further mutilated and crowd-
Ï
S
D
r
t
p
p
a
c
d
p
i
t
l
ed into a contained space. The suffi x “ing’ is
repeated, representing a constant fl ow of eggs
below the caged hens. Panel four zooms out,
revealing a graveyard of disfi gured letterforms.
The dying forms rest atop mounds of their prod-
uct, the way a mother hen tends to her nest.
150 design school confi dential
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