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The purpose of this research is to explore the value and objectivity of written language through investigating human perception of letterforms as abstract visual communication elements. While communicating with one another is not unique to humans, and other species have been observed to be able to produce, perceive and learn different forms of communication, the visual aspect of human languages, represented in a an organized system of symbols is uniquely human. Languages, as our primary way of communication, possess an enormous power which is used to create and destroy, unite and divide, facilitate progress and reflect.

This research will attempt to re-contextualize written symbols as abstract forms, look closely at their composition using basic design elements and principles and explore these abstractions outside their direct conventional meaning. During the research, we will look at typographic elements as subject matters in abstract art to challenge our accepted ideas of what is considered meaningful, explore visual aesthetics of letterforms in two and three-dimensional mediums, compare similar letterforms in different languages and touch upon the history of symbolic communication development from ancient to modern letterforms.

The findings of this research will demonstrate how we are able to recognize letterforms even when they are presented as basic abstract shapes within or without their usual context, which will show how deeply ingrained our visual perception of letterforms is. Additionally, we will learn about the role of human visual perception in creating mental letterform representation and get familiarized with letterform similarities and differences across different languages. Being one of the most important design elements, typography is an incredibly powerful tool. The findings of this study will provide an impactful insight to any designer who wants to broaden their spectrum of understanding typography.


This poster, the 1st place winner for non-STEM posters, was presented at the 31st Semi-Annual Honors and Undergraduate Research Scholars Poster Presentation at New York City College of Technology, Dec. 4, 2019. Mentor: Professor David Lucas (Communication Design).



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