Letterform Book

Letterform Book: An Interactive Examination of Letterforms and Technology

By Kelli Anderson and Edited by Caren Litherland

This workbook invites readers into playful dialogue with mysterious dimensions of typographic symbology, technology and their own perception. It does this by presenting technical typographic concepts as toys — with interactive elements, prompts to draw letterforms, and collaborative thought-experiments.

At a mere glance, typography might transport us — the shape of a letter might conjure a debate over anything from aesthetics to philosophy. For example, one might be reminded of the Roman Empire while gazing upon stately uppercase serif letterforms, without realizing why. The first serifs were, in fact, wedge-shaped artifacts — the shape left behind when chisel pummels stone. A serif originated as the mark left by the technology of a ravenous empire.

It is with such an economy of expression that tiny typographic shapes connect us to an aesthetic and emotional experience of history and technology. On every bodega‚Äôs awning, post office’s signage, in Microsoft Office and in Google docs, in discarded electronics bins, there are letters embedded with different ideas about what civilization should be. Typography offers us all a handheld play-space to connect to these ideas through our own perceptual sensitivities.