Simply Phonetics; and other things

The group were given a presentation on Expressive Type & the Format. We explored the use of expressive typography, typography conversations, type and space, pace and tone, reiterating and phonetics, and creative ink and how colours can be used to express a tone or a meaning of a word. For example, the colour blue is commonly used to express a cold temperature.

Examples of artists’ work we looked are as below:

As you can see, AJ Meek created this piece of expressive typography by producing phonetics out of words he/she had heard, which made out for an interesting and effective piece of art.


And Graham Rawle produced pieces of text out of old cuttings of women’s gossip magazines.


As a task for the group, we analysed three clips of Stephen Fry speaking. The three quotes we listened to were:

  • ‘Please let me go on; I’m dying to see how it all turns out’
  • ‘He was so famous simply for the way he dressed’
  • ‘I have nothing to declare but my genius’

We all took a piece of A1 paper and a pot of ink combined with water. Based on what images we had seen in the presentation with expressive typography and reiterating and phonetics, I used a variety of brushes to paint the words out onto the paper. This was a completely different way of working to using computers and printers to generate text and type on computers. It gave me a wider perspective on how expressive typography can be created to portray deeper meaning.

I purposely made my expressive typography swirly, curving and flamboyant to characterize the high-class and opulent accent that Stephen Fry has been educated and brought up to speak.

My favourite characterisation of his accent through typography that I had created was ‘I have nothing to declare but my genius’. From this A1 sheet, I then created a folding book to express the pace of the sentence Fry spoke. This enabled me to listen out even more carefully to understand how pace can influence what the reader thinks of when the sentence is read. It can give the reader a clear enough thought of how a sentence can be or was spoken.


This workshop would aid us in our Ephemera projects to allow us to be creative in our choice of typeface, tone, pace, and expression, which would make the outcome more interesting and aesthetically pleasing.


Author: jennifertaylorgraphics

First year student studying Graphic Communication at the Cardiff School of Art and Design

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