Encoding Semantic Data in Texts

In many historic examples of font attributes used in visual representations, fonts are used to differentiate categories of information. In the late 19th century writers began to experiment more with typography and layout. In the early 20th century Futurist poet  Filippo Tommaso Marinetti encoded the sound and sense of the word with typographic attributes such as italics for quick impressions, bold for violent noises, etc.:


Calligrammes by French poet Guillaume Apollinaire uses typography and layout to convey meaning as well as words. Change in size, case, italics, bold, etc are used.


Other examples follow, including beautiful examples adding illustration into the mix as well, such as Le Bestiaire Fabuleux a result of a process from Jean Lurçat, Patrice de la Tour du Pin, Vairel Edmond, Jules-Dominique Morniroli.


Dynamic layouts and variable type to convey semantic information is now more common, for example flowing animated italics for a Mazda sports car in a commercial or clunking heavy sans in a truck commercial.

ford-150  mazda-mx5

About richardbrath

Richard is a long time visualization designer and researcher. Professionally, I am one of the partners of Uncharted Software Inc. I have recently completed a PhD in data visualization at LSBU. The opinions on this blog are related to my personal interests in data visualization, particularly around research interests related to my PhD work- this blog is about exploratory aspects of data visualization not proven principles.
This entry was posted in Font Visualization, Text Visualization and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Encoding Semantic Data in Texts

  1. Pingback: Why Visualize with Fonts Now? | richardbrath

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