This body of work is the first concrete product of a number of ideas I had formulated on fusing design, art, and computer technology. Chief among these ideas was to merge a typographic and visual communication into one unified composition and to accomplish this with unique technical innovations I had developed. This work was both an exercise in experimental typography and computer science. I describe my work as experimental typography. For most people, this intention is not understood at first glance because all that is seen is an image. On closer inspection of the work, it is discovered that the larger image is constructed by use of smaller images that are combined by the eye. The smaller images are actually characters of a font of type I have designed. In fact, the pictures are a paragraph of text and the font could be changed to another with the result of totally changing or destroying the picture. In a sense, the individual pictures (letterforms) can be seen (read) and combined to form a more complete idea than if my specially designed letterforms had not been used.
The fonts for my work are obviously not he conventional drawings of the letters ‘a’, ‘1)’, or ‘c’. The various font designs I developed are the same in every way to the design and structure of any font. Each character of the font still performs the role of identifying a particular letterform; the letterform, however, ultimately is used as a picture’s pixel. The first character of the font represents black, the last character is white, and in between are a range of greys. This opens a variety of creative opportunities as to what the letterform could look like. The letterforms in my fonts are both the symbol of a pixel’s value and the value. The only criterion of communication is that it is the correct grey value it symbolises.
A digitised picture is, in a sense, a paragraph of data. Data that in most cases does not give a clue to its content. It would be very difficult to know something about the picture by reading its data. The challenge in this poetic game is to treat a picture as a paragraph and to design letterforms using pictures and text. My intention is to articulate a new, more complex vocabulary of my life and ideas by the unique juxtaposition of symbols, phrases and pictures.
240x240cm linotron print
- John Sherman, USA