©2020 Built with love by Nick Howland.

type four : experimental typography : magnetic alphabet

type four : experimental typography : magnetic alphabet
April 1, 2015 nick howland

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If someone sees a blank surface, they are immediately drawn to mark on it. People mark out words on a sign to form other words. If letters are laying out, people grab them and spell something. People piece together things to make a whole. For my experimental typography project, I would like to create a large scale magnetic alphabet board, similar to the refrigerator magnets we had as kids. The idea is that I can set up the board in a public space with the letters and see what people do with them, what they spell with them. I will also include a cutout hashtag so people can use it along with the letters to form a physical hashtag, which they can then snap a picture of and post to social media.

A further part of the experiment could even be to place the board and letters in a room with children, then place it in an area with adults to see how the interactions change. It will be interesting to see what adults spell with these letters compared to their younger counterparts.

Creating the letters and a space to manipulate them will entice people to play with them and create something all their own. When children create something, they tend to call over an adult to see their creation. But when adults in today’s age create something, they are more likely to take a photo of it and post it to social media. Being able to have a social media element attached to the project will allow people to share their creations for everyone to see.



The board itself will be seven feet wide by 4 feet tall and the letters themselves will be 6 inches tall. This should be a large enough space with large enough letters to form a small paragraph if one wanted. The letters can either be made of painted foam board or of cut out wood, with small magnets placed into small, shallow circular holes in the back. The board itself will be a large sheet of metal with a simple wooden frame around it, or a large board of wood painted with chalkboard paint and magnetic paint.



Week 1: gather materials

Week 2: test materials / prototype

Week 3: build this shit

Week 4: continue building, refine it

Week 5: document

Week 6: final presentation