Dissertation in. #finally




Yes, dissertation done. #finally

It would be common practice to deliver a beautiful, carefully typeset piece for one’s final dissertation, but in the case of my project, this seemed almost preposterous. I knew from the start as I chose this topic, that I would be handwriting my 6000 words. I won’t go into the 6000 words here, but my dissertation is basically my case for handwriting in this age of texts, tweets and emails, and how survives in the forward-looking world of graphic design.

Something about the irregular loops and arches of handwriting has always intrigued me, so I was actually quite happy to be researching handwriting. One thing that I really enjoyed about my research was going down to Manchester to interview designer Craig Oldham about The Handwritten Letter Project. Brilliant stuff if you haven’t yet come across it.

This project, though centered on handwriting, is really about much more. It is not only an exploration into handwriting, but an exploration into the way changes in society have affected the simplest things in lives, and how these changes will continue to affect us and our immediate environment.

I started this project with a nostalgic, perhaps childish, indignation at the diminishment of the physical act of writing. I wanted to make a case for handwriting, and to get people to treasure and return to this cultural practice. The research and people that I have encountered, have made me realise that I have been narrow-minded and simplistic. Although I still maintain my fondness for the unique expressiveness of the old-fashioned way of writing, I see a place for both handwriting and digital writing in the context of a modern society. In fact, I see now that technology and handwriting do not rule each other out, and in fact, can coexist beautifully to suit the changing demands of society.

Ok that sounded quite good, that bit’s going to go into my Modes of Design report. That’s it, enough writing for now. (We hardly write  essays at all in CSM, I’m still in shock at how much I managed to write.Thank god for my blog and my strict art teacher back in junior college. )

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I hand-bound my book at Byam Shaw, with lots of help from the ever-so-sweet Douglas! To bring the point of difference across more strongly, the same piece of text is given two completely different treatments, and presented alongside each other. The form of the book aids this visual comparison; Pages unfold both ways on opposite sides so the reader can flip through the pages on either ends together, drawing direct links and juxtaposition.


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