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2nd Place, 2009

Typographic Cities

Banan Al-Ansari, Graphic Design

Typography and printing have had major influences on human development. In my thesis I will combine Arabic and Latin typography in order to harmonize them visually and to increase their efficiency as a communication tool for cultures that understand one or both of the languages. The thesis will investigate the effect of juxtaposed typefaces from different alphabets: what do they represent and reflect as they communicate with different cultures?

My processes include studying both alphabets and understanding their essences. To recognize the differences I wrote a paragraph, once in Latin and again in Arabic. Then I tried to abstract the typography by drawing rectangles on the letters in order to observe the differences and shared principles between these two opposite scripts. The results show not only the differences between those alphabets but also the cultures represented by the architecture of cities onto which the typography is overlaid. The abstracted Latin typography is juxtaposed over an aerial photo of Chicago and the abstracted Arabic typography over Marrakech in Morocco. Just as a city can impart a certain identity to its citizens, so can a script lend a particular identity to a language and to a culture’s cherished heritage.