2.07.2011

Experimental typography. Whatever that means.

The article, "Experimental typography. Whatever that means." by Peter Bil'ak examines the usage of the word 'experiment' in the field of graphic design and typography. It becomes evident that the term holds a significantly different connotation from the scientific understanding and greatly varies amongst designers. In the article Bil'ak thoroughly explains the more common definitions of the term in addition to providing a counter argument for each. For instance, some designers define experimentation as going against the norm. However, if only one designer existed in the entire world then there would be no standard to attempt to defy. Yet regardless of which notion of 'experiment' you subscribe to, there is ultimately no definite explanation for the word in typography. I personally don't have much of a stand as to what I feel is experiment as of this moment, but the second notion Bil'ak mentions was quite interesting to me because I've never thought about it in that manner:
"An experiment in this sense has no preconceived idea of the outcome; it only sets out to determine a cause-and-effect relationship. As such, experimentation is a method of working which is contrary to production-oriented design, where the aim of the process is not to create something new, but to achieve an already known, pre-formulated result."

It is a bit mind boggling that we so often and carelessly throw this word around without fully understanding it. After reading the article, experimentation seems mostly individualistic. Everyone has different levels of experiences and backgrounds so what is new and unconventional to one person may not be to another. Especially as a young designer with only one semester of typography, all of this is new territory and it feels like every assignment I'm having to experiment (if it even exists) in order to explore all of the possible outcomes.

Article: "Experimental typography. Whatever that means."

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