I like how Munari considered typography as various kinds of shapes, and how they meant uniquely to us humankind. The development of type seems to be a necessary step for every civilization to reach a certain level of development, which means it only generated by one species in the world, and thus meaningful. I just found this view really intriguing and worth thinking.
On the other hand, Mucari wrote about how different characters could be read in different speeds, as well as the pace of how they were written. In addition, Munari also mentioned how we deal with the frequently used words easily than the unfamiliar words, which I found same phenomenon in Chinese words, too.
In this excerpt of Bruno Munari's book, Design As Art, Munari explains the relationship between typography and our human perception of it. I think there's a very psychological effect that typography has on how we interact with its design, and Munari exemplifies this through illustrated logo designs (both current in the context of the book and dating back to Ancient Rome). These typography examples show the careful consideration of size, spacing, line curvature, etc. in their design that provide the reader with a very specific, desired experience. It's something very helpful to know and be able to consider when designing for this project, because I want to explicitly illustrate a word and the essence of it successfully.
Bruno Munari in this reading speaks volumes about how lettering is affected in our society. Primarily for many reasons. One of the things I found most interesting is his definition of usage of characters. How the usage of the characters, as well as how they are written, can drastically change the manor for which you read the sentence. These characteristics define what make a fast work fast, and a slow word slower. It also provides the mood and context for the word. In this example he uses a comparison between MAMMA, and OBOLO, wich different lines indicating speed, while the curvature of OBOLO makes it appear much slower. This is interesting as it has been ingrained so deep in culture that we don't think of it anymore. Spacing letters and speeds are basic rules for the alphabet, that skulpt it entirely. There is a reason why the A reads faster than the O.
Another thing I found extremely relevant in this reading was the definition of logo usage. How logos are meant to be so ingrained in humanity's heads, that you don't need to show the text clearly to ingrain the product. How the shape and typography does that for you. Allowing to be more abstract in branding, as well as an emotion to the brand. What separates a fun logo form one that is more logistical? How do government agencies show their product and IBM shows theirs. These are both extremes that through typography can be better shown.
Munari introduces a new way of seeing type as nothing more than shapes. It reminds me of the amount of human innovations that are only significant to us, but carry no meaning to other species. With language development, we have formed associations with words and letters. To us, they can convey heaps of information in which we find value, both through diction and underlying connotations, but to all else, they are just marks on a page. The written language has transformed the way in which we communicate, which has, in turn, informed the underlying connotations associated with certain styles and presentations of words and letters. The use of accentuations and punctuation can significantly alter the message these shapes carry. The idea of seeing them as shapes can transform the way we interpret them, as it allows us to take a closer look at stroke weight, fluidity, spacing, color and other factors that add to the implicit gestural quality of mark-making. I find negative space to be an essential characteristic in designing type. For example, there is a specific technique involved in bolding characters. It does not always entail equal distribution of extra pixels around the outline of the letter, but rather, adding more pixels in certain areas to preserve the style of the letter and the respective connotations. Furthermore, the size of the triangular negative space at the center of the ‘A’, for example, needs to be preserved to maintain legibility, and hence, the horizontal line of the ‘A’ needs to remain at the same level when bolding the letter. This is a good example of the intricacy of type in terms of design, such as stroke weight and spacing, that becomes prevalent when considering type as shapes. Employing this analytical lens can allow us to get a stronger grasp of how these factors can inform the mood of the type we design and present, in order to form harmony between the meaning of the shapes and of the words the strokes represent. Munari's excerpt has allowed me to see type as a vessel for both the explicit and implicit.
In this reading, Munari makes the point that in some cases, text is not only meant to be read, but to be looked at. Typography is an art form, and good typography will be able to enhance the meaning of the word or influence the viewer to interpret a word in a certain way. Visual clarity is also an element of good typography, in my opinion, and making good use of letter shapes is key to getting people to understand intent. The example used on the first page is a good demonstration of how the geometry of letters contributes to visual clarity, with certain letters using common forms (diagonal lines) while others may not use those shapes at all (composed only of curved lines). At the same time, as with different typefaces or styles of handwriting, this geometry can be changed into any sort of form, potentially also changing how people read it.
Typography exists everywhere in the design world and also plays an essential role in many cases. One of the examples in the reading indicates that the shape of the words would totally change the expression and communication ways. For example, the author says “One of the effects of the total lack of punctuation in the last chapter of Joyce’s Ulysses is that it changes our reading speed.” It reminds me how I change my view to critic the typography while I am reading the magazine or newspaper after I learn certain rules from typography. I will see the columns of the paragraph as different patterns and how small adjustments would much improve the readability and reading experience. Of course, also the aesthetic appreciation. The experienced good designer would manage them much better under different needs and circumstances. As the reading shows the example which is really tiring to the eyes. I hope I can have a better understanding of the typography that I can have the chance to go back to the old age, we still need to use handmade physical word cubes, and use them to make the typography and printing.
For the text, when we change the curve, open space, line weight, shape, and other small elements in the letter or world would change the meaning and function of the text. As designers, we need to make so many versions to fine-tune the best design although normal people might not notice the precise changes. However, it definitely will affect the receiving feeling. Like you change certain beats or notes in the melody.
I like that he sees typography as caring more about evoking an emotion than being legible. When he used the phrase “words are just shapes” it brought in a new perspective for me. I thought the part about the speed at which poems are read was very relatable. I’ve always had a hard time understanding poems, and the speed that they are read in makes a huge difference to the meaning. (I tend to skim). He also brings up "in" words, words that we are familiar with, and how we process this more easily than words we don't frequently use.
This excerpt talked a lot about all the things that makes typography so fun and interesting and something that everyone should pay attention to no matter if you are a designer or not. The statement about not reading poems as a telegram and slowing down makes everything clearer to me. I have always had trouble reading poems and never seemed to understand them, I always read them by “skimming”, but maybe if I slowed down, I might understand more. I really enjoyed how the article used examples to push its point. In the final paragraphs, the sentence “One can only eliminate so many spaces between words” made me go back and read the sentence a few times before understanding the sentence. I have a friend who’s a graphic designer and she was talking about how her friends were making fun of her for carrying what type she picked for her resume. However, It was clear who’s resume was more legible because her friend’s resume had side to side text while hers was much more legible.
Seeing typography as shapes can allow us to go beyond the original meaning of a word and create new meaning with the shape. Munari rightly points out that factors such as punctuation, spacing and color can. Affect. Our perception and reading speed of type. I think it is also interesting to consider individual letters and the feelings they evoke as themselves, particularly in the case of rarely used consonants. This is known as the ‘Kiki and Bouba’ effect where the way in which a word is said affects its perceptual meaning. For example, a sharp letter like a k gives off a different feeling than a soft letter like u, and this feeling can be compounded with the right type.
One thing that I have learnt and found very important in designing type is to give a lot of consideration to negative space. Since type can also be looked at as a shape the space surrounding it should also be deliberately controlled. Creating miniscule type and positioning it in a large white space is totally different from exaggerating type so much that only part of a letter hints at the word in a composition. These traditional parts of composing type can become extremely dynamic in a coded poster due to motion and animation. It is thus, maybe even more important to consider the choices made while designing interactive typography because the nature of such a composition can change over time.