The Changing Spaces of Reading and Writing

The Art of Text

Coming from a design background, I have come to see text as an art form that is often manipulated as content or as part of a layout and for me, that is usually how I intermingle text with technology. Text is no longer a static form but it can also be animated. Looking back at the origins of text in its more static form, some examples of text as an artistic, symbolic form is its use in hieroglyphs and asian characters. Technology works to, in some form, mechanize the text through writing tools, printers and other text-making tools.

One mingling of text and technology that came to mind is the use of calligraphic tools not just for communication but as an art form. In Asia, the calligraphic brush was more widely used in the past to paint characters in languages. When painted, the symbols have flowing strokes and lines, with some strokes more emphasized than others. Today, those same characters in print have been “mechanized” and converted into harsh lines and strokes that are even throughout. The same can be said for handwriting.

What are the implications of text and technology today: How much have computers created a kind of convenience in the way we communicate and will handwritten texts still exist in the future? In the last 10 years alone, I think technology has done a great deal in changing the way we look at and learn how to use text using computers, cell phones and other, more advanced non-traditional devices.



1 Erin Gillespie { 09.19.09 at 4:37 am }

The art of calligraphy has certainly changed. We had to have specialist teachers come in to teach the kids at my school (Tokyo based)because it is such a skill. You’re right about MS Word calligraphy: harsh lines! Erin

2 Natalie Giesbrecht { 09.20.09 at 12:20 pm }

Wacom tablets have merged handwriting/drawing with computer manipulation. There are just certain curves and nuances of handwriting that you just can’t capture through pre-defined computer fonts. However nowadays with font software one can turn their own handwriting into a computer font! Ultimately I hope the uniqueness of handwriting isn’t totally replaced by digital alternatives – it’s part of what makes us different. Natalie

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