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.

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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.

-Composition
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.

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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.

# saturdaytypefever, nofoundry.xyz, KFG