From Typography to Design Interface

A Case Study on Designing Icons for an Info-Assistant System Interface by Asım Evren Yantaç and Oguzhan Özcan/ Low technology in the digital age by Nur Balkır Kuru and Roberley Ann Bell/ Beyond Typography – a multi-channel platform with radio-frequency identification integration by Jesvin Puayhwa Yeo/ Rethinking The Baseline by Travis Kirton/ Dynamic Landscapes by Sara Franceschelli/ Sonification of Emergent Urban Events with Granular Synthesis as an Urban Design Tool by Emre Erkal
Friday, 16 September, 2011 - 14:45 - 16:45
Chair Person: 
Anastasios Maragiannis
Asım Evren Yantac
Oguzhan Ozcan
Nur Balkir Kuru
Roberley Bell
Jesvin Puayhwa Yeo
Travis Kirton
Sara Franceschelli
Emre Erkal

Considering User Specific Design Criteria Gathered From a Participatory Design Study: A Case Study on Designing Icons for an Info-Assistant System Interface

by Asım Evren Yantaç and Oguzhan Özcan

This paper takes on a research on two sub-questions: 1: How effective cultural factors can be in the design process of icons to be used in info-assistant system interface? 2: How can these factors be transformed  into usable data by for the designer? In the present cross cultural studies, the results of the tests applied to user groups have only been subject to evaluation but not established into design. However, our research looks for concepts through surveys applied to user groups, which are turned into designs with a participatory evaluation study, and finally presented to user groups again via control tests. In the end, all the data collected from three studies are turned into design guidelines for future studies. In the pilot study carried out, design guidelines have been established by a certain group of designers at the end of the first stage in which 210 users participated, and designs have been realized according to these guidelines. And the study resulted with %10 percent increase in user success. 

Low technology in the digital age; Designing with post consumer waste

by Nur Balkır Kuru and Roberley Ann Bell

This presentation will examine the Turkish and American university students’ approaches toward utilizing the post-consumer waste for design purposes in their own classroom settings. It will compare how students designed and fabricated a product toward achieving the goal to go from the waste to the function.

Post-consumer waste is the garbage that individuals routinely discard, either in a waste receptacle or a dump, or by littering, incinerating, pouring down the drain or washing into the gutter. Post-consumer waste is distinguished from pre-consumer waste, which is the reintroduction of manufacturing scrap (such as trimmings from paper production, defective aluminum cans, etc) back into the manufacturing process. Pre-consumer waste has been commonly used by industries for many years, and is therefore often not considered recycling in the traditional sense. Students were required to use some of those reuse objects or a non-reuse product of assembly, hardware, glue, etc. Project outcomes needed to meet the criteria of sustainability and originality created by environmentally conscious minds. 

Beyond Typography – a multi-channel platform with radio-frequency identification integration

by Jesvin Puayhwa Yeo

Letters are the signs and signifiers that we use to create meaning and to communicate. They tell stories and convey news but there is more to a letter than simply its sound and shape. Before the age of digital typography, most typefaces were designed for very specific clients and purposes. Now, their histories are often overlooked or forgotten, the characters dislodged from their original context. Given the existence of over 100,000 typefaces, many of which are freely accessible to designers, what are the processes through which one chooses a font?  Are our choice of typeface based purely on our aesthetic preferences or influenced by the associations we have of a particular typeface's history and cultural significance?

This paper reports the journey of making a interactive platform for learning the history and characteristic of typefaces. The approach is a combination of art with technology. Using the radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology, this project uses images, videos and projections to create a typographic world that reveal the history, inspiration and experimental design of typefaces.

The result is a multi-channel platform that forms up by three sets of interactive installation: The journey of a font, Type Personality and Pangram Art. The journey of a font consists of ten typographic videos that explore the concepts of spatial dimension, human/environmental scale and motion to show the history of each typeface. Type Personality is an interactive exploration of the typographic form. It shows how the uses of letterform, colour, contrast, scale and layering give typefaces their distinct personalities. Pangram Art uses the pangram to give expression to the colloquial, yet unique, Singlish spoken in Singapore by merging language, illustration, and typography.

The experience of the multi-channel platform is designed to be interactive and informative. It allows viewers to choose the aspects of information they want to know by activate it using an alphabet tag or a cube. Survey result shows that the multi-channel platform can serves as a useful resource for novice graphic designers, as well as satiate the curiosity of anyone with even a passing interest in the typography. In addition, the use of typography in video allows us to reclaim the lost art of arranging typefaces in a way that would make an 18th century typesetter’s head spin.

Rethinking The Baseline

by Travis Kirton

This paper presents a vision for rethinking old paradigms, and ideas we take for granted in our everyday lives by revisiting them through the eyes of new technology. While open to many fields, this paper focuses on methodologies in the field of typography that have been defined and understood for centuries. Many aspects of modern typography were defined at the time Gutenberg's press was presented to the world, and are now deeply rooted in everyday perception.

Rethinking The Baseline considers the impact of new technologies on the linearity of typographic practice. It does so by presenting a media-art research project that exemplifies the possibility for non-linear typesetting through original artistic software as well as exhibited artworks that support a challenge to fundamental concepts in the field of typography. The software, called TypeIs, utilizes two elements that separate it from modern commercial typesetting software. 

Foremost, a weighted baseline is used to determine the look and feel of individual characters. Second, a custom system for managing text allows for the individual retrieval of characters for rendering in real-time. Rather than setting a line, copying text, adding it to the line, then performing a variety of typesetting functions in a step-by step manner, the artist can draw directly to the canvas, but instead of ink, letters flow from his pen. Pressure, speed, angle, and direction are all mapped directly to each character which appear individually as the artist draws through any kind of text. Software applications are presented as a series of ongoing media-art research projects which can be thought of as digital canvases, such that the artist plays a predominant role in the creation of artworks, rather than submitting to generative or computational techniques.

The projects, however, are only example applications that utilize new technologies to rethink old ideas. The work that forms the basis of this paper also has ties to the field of gaming. Through the use of intelligent interactive surfaces, it is possible to reinvent our relationship to the idea of the grid, the turn, and rules that we inherently understand in the field of board games.

Dynamic Landscapes

by Sara Franceschelli

In every day language the term “landscape” has several acceptations. The most obvious are perhaps the ones referring to landscape as an expanse of scenery that can be seen in a single view: a desert landscape, for example, or a picture, or an artistic representation depicting this expanse of scenery. In this paper, however, I’m using another acceptation of landscape – I will not consider a material landscape or its image, but an abstract one, emerging from contemporary scientific research. Nevertheless it also concerns vision: it is a mental picture offering a theoretical view on systems of interacting agents in an environment.

From the theory of evolution to embryology and statistical physics, the ”landscape” metaphor - qualified as “adaptive”, “epigenetic”, or “energetic”, depending on the domains under consideration – presents a characteristic shape defined by peaks, pits, and cols, and synthetically captures several essential questions for the modelling of complex systems :

What are the nature and the evolution of equilibria that characterise the landscape? How is their stability characterised? And their robustness? What is the effect on a landscape of different kinds of disturbances or interactions with the environment? At what spatiotemporal scales is it suitable to situate such analyses and investigations? What are the variables that are represented by the landscape? In what space do they live?

In this paper I will illustrate how, on the basis of a  structural (albeit dynamical) interpretation of the figure of landscape, this set of questions can be taken as an agenda for a performative design research program, DynLan, lead at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs, Paris.

Sonification of Emergent Urban Events with Granular Synthesis as an Urban Design Tool

by Emre Erkal

Parallel to the increase in problems due to contemporary urbanization, it is not possible to state that today’s cities are better analyzed, designed or known, all yielding to a current crisis of comprehensibility. One set of the reasons has to do with the qualitative change in the urban realm, while another set of reasons arise out of the tools we try to understand our cities with.

Rapid urbanization brings unexpectedly dynamic problems in certain parts of the world. In addition, technological advances increase mobility and communicative connectivity. Clearly these new dimensions have to be included in urban analysis with their fully temporal nature and inter-scale relationships in the city. An operative framework based on the notion of ‘event’ could be devised for a novel understanding of the effects of new technologies on the emergent transformations in the city, as well as design and intervention tools, in mind.

The old tools for urban representation such as plans, sections and maps have remained non-temporal spatial tools that reflect abstract Euclidean space ideals. With these, it is not possible to trace the temporal processes on urban networks and the environment. Mathematical and computer models devised later also relate to the same conceptual fundamentals. Following these observations and the reported insufficiencies of the tools that have been used, it seems logical to argue that new tools with digital interfaces could begin to provide a new sense of understanding and intervention.

It is shown that the auditory sense is fit for the task of tracking emergent events with its temporal qualities and knowledge processing capacities*. Furthermore, ecological psychological principles could be used to map these events to our sensory matrix. Therefore, a sonification environment with operative principles of granular synthesis is proposed in order to explore emergent events in the temporal and multi-scalar processes such as urban mobility. Real-time applications as ongoing research show the perceptive potential for developing such a new urban design interface.

* Erkal, F. Emre, 2006. Ecological Event Perception In The City: A Proposal For An Urban Design Tool Based On Sonification. Doctoral Thesis, Istanbul Technical University, Faculty of Architecture.