View Project
School Directory

Project. Typographical Dialects

Purpose. Typographical Dialects was an experiment during the Typography-Seminar at the University of Arts Berlin in the summer term 2005. The participants of the seminar researched characteristics and
peculiarities of shaped types. Every type speaks its own language. If one compares types with spoken language, one can say that this can be understood as a form of dialect. In my opinion it is a typographic ability to consciously draw peculiarities, or rather dialects, into consideration of arrangement and selection of type.

Assignment. Fabrication and playful use of type contributes to the comprehension of type. On account of this approach, typographic dialects were developed during the seminar. The typeface Georgia represented High German language. Georgia was also the basis for experimenting and for further development. The students did not develop new types, they rather developed typographical transformations of Georgia with the software FontLab. As a result, the students created type experiments worth seeing, from cool Küsten-Platt to singing Schwiezer-Dütsch, from crude Berlinerisch to broad Bayerisch.

The experiment was influenced by several factors: the selection and characteristics of language dialects as well as the characteristics of shapes of letters. We chose Georgia as the basic type on account of it’s minor differentiated letters and pleasing legibility. Together we investigated shapes of letters of the font-family Georgia choosing the basic font Georgia Normal. Subsequently, the students investigated a dialect of their own choice, working out its characteristics and peculiarities. As mentioned before, the students did not deal with the linguistic analysis of phonetic scripts – they chose five typical characteristics of the spoken dialect. The students developed a metaphorical visualization of these five characteristics, converting them in the software FontLab. The intensive work on type and letters was put into the foreground of the experiment.

The results of the project are reflected in very interesting works. The students developed typeconcepts with an experimental character, visualizing type letters of a certain dialect. Working with typography on a playful level provided emotional access to designing fonts, taking formative and technical aspects into account. Finally, lovingly prepared type-fragments were developed during the project associatively combining both language and type.

Format. 2.4 X 8 Inches (60 X 200 centimeters)

Time. 8 weeks (4 hours a week)


Andrea Schmidt was born in 1975 and completed her studies in Graphic and Interface Design at the University of Applied Sciences, Dessau in 2000. After graduating, she worked for 2 years as research assistant to Prof. Dr. Rainer Funke on the project "Leben im Alter" at the University of Applied Sciences, Potsdam. From 2002 to 2006 Andrea Schmidt was assistant to Prof. Ulrich Schwarz at the University of Arts Berlin, where she worked in the department of Visual Communication and taught in the fields of Typography, Principles of Design and Digital Basics.

Since October 2006 she has been working as a freelance graphic designer, lecturer and artist. In addition to an appointment at the University of Arts Berlin to lecture on typography during the winter semester 2006/2007, she taught typography to students on the Masters in Visual Communication at the China Academy of Arts in Hangzhou (China) for five weeks (April- May 2007).

Alongside her academic career, Andrea Schmidt collaborates on various artistic projects and gives lectures on the topics of Design Didactics and Typography. Above all, it is the interconnection of artistic expression which is an overriding preoccupation in her work, and has led to her involvement in free art projects such as "Image-Text-Transformation" and "Visualised Literature". At the beginning of 2006 she founded the research project
"Typografie im Kontext" dealing with typography concerning digital media. She is also a member of the German association "Forum Typografie".

As a permanent member, together with Maria Lettberg, of the artistic project "Mysterium", Andrea Schmidt creates video, image and light arrangements to piano music. In the Mysterium Project, which held its premiere performance in Helsinki in 2003, she has found a way to combine her skills as an interface designer and artist. Her interdisciplinary approach is fitting for an art project which models itself on the concepts of Alexander Skrjabin.

German version

Return to top