Vernacular Typography

Today we had an introduction to Vernacular typography, a form of expressive typography that is created using the words meaning. In groups we then had to visualise our provided word, using our own space.

As inspiration for the project we researched some work from the NYC company Sagmeister & Walsh. Their work has really inspired me to experiment more with this form of typography, especially after seeing the ” Having guts always works out for me “project. My favourite thing about the project isn’t just how the words are visualised and created, but also how the picture itself is set, so that it’s exiting to look at and really makes you think about how they arranged it and what inspired them to do so.


My group was given the word implicit to experiment with, meaning something that’s suggested but not directly expressed. We found this word to be quite challenging at first as it was hard to visualise a word that was suggested but wasn’t actually there. Our first idea was create the word out of chocolate blocks and melt it until the word was no longer visible, but it didn’t quite go to plan!

The next idea was to write the word on a steamed up window to show how the word would last for a while but then gradually vanish. I thought that this was an interesting idea  as it made you think more about meaning  of the word. However as a group we decided that the word needed to be less visible to get the best result.


Another peculiar experiment we did was to cut the word out of tissue paper and boil it! The video shows how the letters were visible in the pan for a while until the water started to boil and the word was no longer visible. I really like the idea behind the video as it showed the words meaning really well, but for this project we needed a still picture so we tried something else.

The next idea was definitely one of my favourites! To create it we cut out the word implicit on plain paper and then shine a light behind the word so it would reflect onto the wall. However we did have to experiment with how and where we placed the word so that it was suggested and not direct. To do this we decided to place the word so that it its shadow cascaded  over the bend in the wall to make it look less intentional. We also tried holding a piece of folded paper to create extra shadows. If we were to do this again I think we need to experiment with using more objects to see what it would look like over different backgrounds.

After experimenting with many ideas we decided on a final piece. We placed the word in the picture but made it difficult to find. Using the outside space we scattered the letters around and took a picture from afar. The ‘I’ is placed next to the stairs, under the person in the bottom left corner, the ‘m’ and ‘p’ are placed on the first recycling bin, ‘L’ is placed on the corner of the wooden hut, both ‘i’ and ‘c’ are placed on the ground and the last two letters ‘i’ and ‘t’ are hung  on both of the trees. I am really  happy with this idea  because it shows you the meaning of the word visually and we’ve used the space well.



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