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Typografi, teknologi och politik: pågående språk -och kulturvetenskaplig forskning om typografi

Lecture, Research profile seminar

Forskningsseminarium om typografi. Karin Wagner presenterar sitt bokprojekt om typografi i den digitala tidsåldern. Johan Järlehed och Maryam Fanni presenterar ett artikelprojekt om stadstypsnitt. Arina Stoenescu presenterar sitt avhandlingsprojekt "Connections between Typography and Politics in Romania during the Communist Period 1948-1989".

Seminariet arrangeras av forskningsområdet Språk i samhällskontext (institutionen för språk och litteraturer) och ingår i seminarieserierna "Skrift och samhälle" samt "Språkliga, sociala och kulturella perspektiv på urban förändring" (fakultetsgemensam).

Seminariespråket är svenska. Alla intresserade är välkomna!

Typographic Imagination in Digital Culture

Karin Wagners projekt behandlar materiella och visuella aspekter av text och typografi från 1960-talet fram till idag. Typografi har under den digitala eran intagit en central plats i visuell kultur och flera populära praktiker har uppstått: ASCII- konst, desktop publishing, nya digitala typsnitt. Hur har dessa använts i populärkulturen och vilka betydelser och värden har tillskrivits dem? Hur samspelar teknologi och estetik? Projektet kommer att resultera i en bok med titeln ¿From ASCII Art to Comic Sans: Typographic Imagination in Digital Culture¿.

City fonts: Creativity and ideology in typographic stylization and branding of cities

Through stylistic work, including the design and usage of city fonts, cities tell others about their perceived and desired position within the world's social and economic order. By using exclusive fonts, cities create and display particular personae and stances that is aimed at increasing the cities' visibility and attraction for consumers, tourists and investors of all kinds. This presentation discusses the creation, presentation and reception of a number of different city fonts with the aim to reveal the political and economic interests behind them.

As a playful and bottom-up artistic intervention into urban space, TilburgsAns makes writing more imagelike and urban space more writing-like. Dubai Font is launched as an expression of diversity and openness, but is a structured top-down intent to brand one of the worlds¿ leading tourist destinations and polish the totalitarian regime behind it. Alfabeto Bilbao creates a tension between city and nation, and potentially different interests. Stockholm Type, finally, illustrates the prototypical urban entrepreneurial idea that a city can be conceived as a simple and coherent entity, with a single identity and public image, which lend themselves to smooth branding work.

As a subtle but increasingly more common form of "typographic landscaping" (Järlehed & Jaworski 2015), city fonts contribute to the ongoing semiotization, commercialization and commodification of both urban spaces and writing. This paper examines city fonts as part of urban entrepreneurial stylization, where stylization refers to the "knowing" and strategic deployment of style for particular communicative goals (Mortensen, Coupland & Thøgersen 2017:10). Studies of urban entrepreneurialism (Harvey 1989, Franzén, Hertting & Thörn 2016) show how the perceived growing competition between cities for economic growth forces them to continuously creating new public images. They further stress its speculative character and point out how economic concerns are put before social ditto. The city fonts discussed in this paper are part of this new entrepreneurial image and contribute in a tangible way to the ¿new writing¿ (van Leeuwen 2008) of the "new" city. Ideally, city, writing and image become one.

However, a detailed examination of the personal, economic and political reasons behind the production of different city fonts (TilbergsAns, Dubai Font, Alfabeto Bilbao, Stockholm Type) reveals how creativity and normativity, agency and structure interact in different ways in the different cases.


-Harvey, David (1989) From managerialism to entrepreneurialism. The transformation of urban governance in late capitalism. Geografiska Annaler. Series B, Human Geography, 71(1), 3-17.

-Johan Järlehed and Adam Jaworski (2015) Typographic landscaping: creativity, ideology, movement, Social Semiotics, 25:2, 117-125, DOI: 10.1080/10350330.2015.1010318

-Mortensen, Janus, Nikolas Coupland, and Jacob Thogersen (eds.) (2017) Style, mediation, and change: Sociolinguistic perspectives on talking media. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

-van Leeuwen, Theo (2008) New forms of writing, new visual competencies, Visual Studies, 23:2, 130-135, DOI: 10.1080/14725860802276263


Karin Wagner är professor i konst- och bildvetenskap på GU: https://www.gu.se/omuniversitetet/personal/?userId=xwagka
Johan Järlehed är docent i språkvetenskap på GU: https://www.gu.se/omuniversitetet/personal?userId=xjarjo
Maryam Fanni är grafisk formgivare och doktorand på Högskolan för design och konsthantverk, GU: https://www.maryamfanni.se/
Arina Stoenescu är grafisk formgivare och doktorand i bokhistoria vid Lunds universitet: https://portal.research.lu.se/portal/sv/persons/arina-stoenescu(a5d12c6a-dcfe-4c73-99a3-3fd58bfa4ef2).html

Date: 2/27/2020

Time: 2:00 PM - 5:00 PM

Categories: Humanities, Research, Kulturstudier, Language

Organizer: institutionen för språk och litteraturer

Location: Faculty of Arts, Lundgrensgatan 1B

Contact person: Johan Järlehed

Page Manager: |Last update: 1/14/2009

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