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You are here: Home / Type & typography / The Sound of Shapes & Shape of Sounds

The Sound of Shapes & Shape of Sounds

Just Van Rossum ATypI 2016 • Warsaw, Poland Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw ASP

There are many parallels between sound and letters, music and typography. While interesting, these are often based on subjective perception and therefore remain rather vague.  This talk documents a serious, yet playful exploration of shape analysis and transformation based on signal processing, inspired by trigonometry, analog synthesizers, Lissajous and Fourier (but not Fournier!). Imagine we take the cold hard numbers that define shapes digitally, and pretend they are sound waves. What do letters then sound like? What does an ‘E’ sound like? Can we hear the difference between Gotham and Garamond? What can we learn from looking at the harmonics of letterforms? But things become less abstract once we do the reverse: reconstructing shapes out of sound waves. What happens when we apply audio effects to letterforms? Can we meaningfully modify shapes via that route?

 

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