Author: Hannah Smith

Now you see me?

 

For this project we were tasked with noticing and capturing letterforms in the environment around us. We are used to being bombarded with messages on signs and posters, but we often fail to see the more subtle ways letterforms are guiding our steps and our thoughts throughout the day. When walking around campus with my camera in my hand, ready to capture all the letterforms I could see, I was quickly overwhelmed by how confidently set they were on near enough everything I encountered. Being aware of how much I was seeing, I was sure there were many more I wasn’t.

I chose to take a series of photographs that explored the shape, function and setting of the letterforms I came across on campus. Some were of interest to me because of how they played with, or were reliant upon, the light to communicate clearly. In others I enjoyed the often bold, and sometimes mysterious shapes that combined to create legible letterforms. Then there were those that were seeking to clearly convey a message. As fun as I found it to explore light and shape, I was particularly interested in the letterforms wishing to convey a clear or instructive message. The letterform itself was not sufficient in and of itself to communicate the desired message, perspective and positioning were also key factors in having these letterforms produce meaning in a given context.

After collecting our photographs we were to organise them into a system that made sense to us. I went for three groupings; shape, light and message, as these were the three things that stood out most to me as I was observing the use, function and creation of these letterforms. In allocating my photos to each of these groups I found light and shape relatively easy to assign, whereas ‘message’ was rather ambiguous. Most of the letterforms that have been created and installed in our environment could be argued to have a message, or a purpose for being where they are. I suppose what I meant by this title was looking at the combined letterforms in their context. Going forward I would take more time to consider my choice of words when organising my work to ensure my system still makes sense to me when I come back to it later, and anyone else who many need to understand it.