Proposal: Typography – A holistic appreciation: A return to traditional methods.

Thesis/Research Question: In our world today, as designers, many fundamental aesthetic decisions have already been made for us. When we go to illustrator to pick a type-face it is rarely considered how to form was constructed. Leaving us with a convoluted appreciation for its true beauty and systematic construction. In a sense this distance is being created in many aspects of design.  For example, when an information designer used to be a cartographer their method included exploring and navigating in order to produce their design. Now it is someone on researching from the internet – producing the designs at the same desk in illustrator. 

My research will detail how the increased access of design tools has evolved our practice to a more immobile and convoluted practice. 

Five Key Words: Traditional Methods, Typography, Woodblock type, Hand painted type, Tactile. 

Theoretical Overview: My research and analysis will take place from Cartographies of time by Daniel Rosenberg, a study of woodblock type from the 1800s, BOBCAT digital archives – advertising from the 1940s,50s,60s. Quantitative display of visual information by Edward Tufte. As well as primary research from ‘Type @ Cooper Union’ & interviews with traditional hand sign painters.

Methodology & Form: I will make a print series of type collages ranging from different decades. I will be hand tracing the type to gain a holistic appreciation for the letter-forms. The prints will also contain color studies and graphic references from the era. The process of creating the letterforms will inform my analysis of a ‘holistic traditional understanding’. 


-Eli Rosenbloom


About parsonseli

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4 Responses to Proposal: Typography – A holistic appreciation: A return to traditional methods.

  1. jakeaparsons says:

    I am just realizing that I’m almost complete with design school, yet I have had little education on typography, especially from a traditional perspective. I’m really interested in this and think you have a really unique approach. I like that you’re focusing on a tangibly visual format as that will give everyone a true appreciation for typography and solidify how relevant it is to us on a daily basis.

  2. Just read your post, very interesting that you are taking into account specific dates and making the typography, maybe you can try and do the same typography that was used in that specific period of time and find a way to do it your own, one possible solution is to make your own letter mold maybe plaster or cork or plaster. Here are two videos I found in youtube of people who still use letter press paper instead of printing.

  3. aubreyd642 says:

    I think some of the ideas expressed in your first paragraph directly relate to concepts of alienation Barbara brought up on the first day of class this stems from Marx and his 1844 manuscript. I’m sure you don’t have tons of time to read that but I think it connects to the idea that we are so alienated from the very forms we are working in and don’t understand their origins and often use them for our own purpose without regard to their history. I’m not sure if you’ve ever used the print shop at 2w 13street on the 4th floor but they have metal type you can set out and a press. Everyone there is very welcoming, perhaps if you talk to a technician there you can gain access to the press and letter type. Also will you do all your research online, how could that change the meaning of these prints, how much tradition do we value without being stuck in the past. Are these traditional practices romanticized, should they be left in the past? ( I think you already answered that last one but I’ll just put it out there).

  4. suhs462 says:

    I can’t wait to see your project. I hope you make a vedio of the process because I never seen anyone who creates types.

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