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Q&A Sarah Hyndman

Today my mission is to make tpogra- phy fun and exciting for everybody, not just experts and academics. I think it’s impor- tant because tpe is woven into our every- day lives—especially as so much of the infor- mation we receive today is read. Type stles reflect developments in technology, art movements, fashions, popular culture, and they can document the history of our lives. That’s what makes tpe so exciting. I take the viewpoint of the tpe consumer, or “user”, not the designer; to me it’s inter- esting to find out how we respond to the shapes and stles of leterforms—and we are all experts, because we have all been inter- acting with leters for all of our lives. I use metaphors to start conversations about fonts so I can introduce language that’s familiar: early on, I discovered that asking somebody to describe a font as if it were food prompted very revealing conver- sations. For example, what would Comic Sans taste like? That’s where my interest in exploring tpography through all of the senses began.

Type tasting

Graphic designer Sarah Hyndman’s self-published début was picked up by Penguin; her sequel asks readers to get more hands-on. She tells Danny Arter How to Draw Type and Influence People... danny arter

Can you tell us how your interest in typography developed? sarah hyndman

I first fell in love with leterforms as a child, in a sweet shop. I would gaze at the stles and shapes that would literally bring the different flavours to life, knowing which would fizz, melt in my mouth, taste sour and then sweet, or pop explosively and noisily. I spent hours drawing and inventing fantasti- cal leterforms for my own versions of sweet wrappers, which I would then stock in my toy sweet shop.

Can you tell us a little about what your crossmodal research into letterforms entails? All of your senses are interconnected: what you experience with one of your senses can interact with and influence your other senses. If you see a particular shade of yellow, you know it could taste of lemon; when you see a glowing orange colour, you know it could feel hot. You make these kinds of associations when you look at tpe. You instinctively know that bold, upper-case is loud, that curved leters are likely to taste sweet, spiky leters might smell pungent. In my research, I map the links between the shapes of different tpefaces and the different senses. I am especially interested in the sense of smell because it is linked directly to an area of the human brain that deals with emotions and memory. I’m find- ing that there are universal paterns to the way we match leterforms to tastes and smells that reveal a great deal about our interpretation of tpefaces. This is useful because we can start to understand the language of tpography and how it communicates on an emotional level. We can also make positive changes, such as encouraging healthier eating by communi- cating the “deliciousness” of healthy food directly to the consumer’s non-conscious brain, which is where the majorit of impulse decisions are made.

How does How to Draw Type differ from your first book, Why Fonts Matter? This book is an invitation to readers to take


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