See and Seek

The politic of typography, the muti-layered information.

This January, five-thirty was invited to Saturday Type Fever for holding two workshops. And “See and Seek” was a workshop that I and Jonathan took charge of. Since we were asked to create a workshop based on the topic “politics of typography”, the idea of researching the internet culture of Ptt popped up in my mind in the first place.

Ptt is one of the trendy anonymous BBS in Taiwan, has over 20,000 boards covering a multitude of topics. People critique politicians or gossip about social issues on there every day, but overly aggressive posts might cause legal disputes. Therefore, some users had started to create a type of “acrostic posts” to try to evade legal penalties.

The mandarine owns two features that provide both the users to be able to write and “decode” the acrostic posts.

-Multiple reading direction
Mandarine was used to be written from right to left as a vertical direction but after been influenced by the Western writing system, writing from left to right as a horizontal direction becomes mainstream nowadays, which means, mandarine users are mostly able to read from every direction.

The characters are based on square shapes, therefore, in the article, the sentences are able to be composed in horizontal, vertical, or even 45° direction.

To apply this research to Latin typography design, we decided to break down a single glyph into several “pixels” and use those pixels as canvases to paint the second layer on top of them.

The participants were asked to use several square-shaped papers to compose a word as a first layer context. Then they would have to paint another word on top of those papers/ grids, in order to create a multi-layered glyph.

Kuan-Ting, Chen 2020

# saturdaytypefever,, KFG