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Hanzi-Graphy

Mariko Takagi talks about a research project started in 2011 to bridge the two “contrary” writing systems by typographic means. From the 2013 ATypI conference in Amsterdam.

 

As soon as we visualise language in a written form we make use of typographic methods, wittingly or unwittingly. It starts by selecting a typeface, setting the font size, putting a text block on a page and arranging it in a layout. In a bilingual city, like Hong Kong, the typographic landscape consists of a colourful mashup of two writing systems, which are regarded as “world-historical opponents” as the linguist Stetter phrases it: Chinese characters and Latin letters. Thanks to globalisation, international visual designers, typeface designers as well as laymen nowadays need to deal with the two writing systems. Observing this development, being a graphic designer, researcher and assistant professor, I have started a research project in 2011 to bridge the two “contrary” writing systems by typographic means. This project concentrates on micro-typography and on applying English typographic terms on Chinese characters. During the presentation, I will choose two to three topics to demonstrate the concept and idea of my research. The research project “Hanzi-Graphy: Typographic translation between Latin letters and Chinese characters” is planned to be published in Autumn 2013 by a Hong Kong based publisher.

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