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Typography and Linguistics in Making Sense of Visible Language

The growth of multimodal linguistics in recent years has led to an increase in the study of the visual aspects of language by non-designers. Such a study has led to the analysis and description of a number of variables within typography that may seem self-evident to the typographically engaged professional, yet unnoticeable in other fields. Alongside the increased interest in typography from other fields, new uses and technologies for typography are developing and changing at a rapid pace. This rate of change means that even attempting to talk about and describe variation within the field is challenging. Based on Ph.D. research conducted at the University of Reading, this presentation compares and unites established typographic theory and professional practice with research and analysis from other fields of study. For example, what is meant by a ‘genre topology,’ and does this have meaning to typographic practice? Examples of typographic language, displayed through everyday documents, will be used to explore how theory articulates practice and where this articulation breaks down.


Matthew Lickiss

Lecturer in typography and communication design University of Reading

Matthew Lickiss is a lecturer at the department of typography and graphic communication at the University of Reading. As a researcher and teacher in the field, Lickiss is interested in the use of typography and graphic design, and how these features are identified and articulated to enable meaningful discussion of visible language.