Text Invader (ISType Workshop Series)

Workshop Leader: Onur Yazıcıgil

In 1996, Adobe collaborated with Microsoft on developing a format for scalable computer fonts. This new format, named OpenType, was intended to expand the use of typographic behaviors as well as to provide a platform where all the world’s writing systems could be managed in a single font file. It is a cross-platform format which is recognized both in MAC OSX and Windows operating systems. OpenType fonts allow around a hundred specifications for typographic behavior. This provides the typesetter with the choice to apply various glyph substitutions in order to enrich the content like, small caps, ligatures, text figures, scientific numerals, and alternative glyphs, which are just five specification features out of the many available variables. These OpenType features are programmed in Fontlab where much of the type-design work takes place.

The workshop intends to use Fontlab’s OpenType panel as a creative medium to generate typefaces that modify the intended use of common typographic behaviors. It aims to experiment with the possibilities that are provided by the OpenType format to create the unexpected rather than the established conventions of typesetting. In other words, to interfere with the conventions that serve for linguistic flow.

As the name suggests, Text Invader aims to generate fonts that can attack and infect the ‘content’ in search for a pattern that may alter the context ironically or metaphorically. We will implant the Text-Invader ‘virus’ as various visuals: graphic images, letters, and abstract forms, which will be generated as an OpenType font format. Virus images will not be used arbitrarily to alter the look of the content. It will rather substitute the images with certain repetitive letters, words and even lines of text in search for creating a meta-text: Text in which the author’s intentions have been intermediated by the typesetter. This will further open a discourse and discussion about the author’s and designer’s roles in typesetting.
Bio of the Presenter
Onur Yazıcıgil is a typographer and illustrator who currently lives and works in Istanbul. He received his MFA in Visual Communications Design from Purdue University where he researched the evolution of humanist and grotesque types. During his stay in the United States he collaborated with the Purdue Theatre by creating multi lingual typographic animations for the 11th International Exhibition of Scenography and Theatre Architecture at the Prague Quadrennial in 2007. His further involvement with the theatre and performance arts resulted in his illustrating of the 2008-2009 season posters for Purdue Theatre. He won the first prize in typographic excellence in 2007 from the Society of Typography Arts in Chicago, and his posters were exhibited in the United States, Italy, South Korea and Turkey. At the present, he is a faculty member at Sabancı University in the VCD department concentrating on typographic design and graphic design education. He is currently developing a multilingual typeface, Duru, to be used for the proceedings and other publications of the Inter-Society of Electronic Arts. His other interests include lettering and the creative use of OpenType programming. He is currently co-creator of the first Istanbul Type Seminars to be held in September 2011.

Posted by:  Ebru Surek