Project Type

Short Term


Prof. Iris Utikal

Guest Lecturer(s)

Prof. Kasai Noriyuki

Area of Expertise

Typography and Layout


Typography and characters are surrounding us anywhere and anytime in our daily life: at home as wellas in our urban environment. Not only in form of signals and signs, but also in daily life, objects and environments do have character-like shapes. By hosting the short-term project “The Discovery of Typography – Dismantling and Reconstruction of Typography“, KISD not only continued a great international cooperation with Nihon University. The project also provided the chance to get insights by Prof. Kasai Noriyuki into the Japanese approach of typography, and to delve deeper into the construction of the Latin alphabet’s characters.

After conducting a similar project with his students in Japan, Prof. Noriyuki guided 14 students in a one-week project at KISD in summer 2015. Starting with an intense observation of the inside and outside environment, a lot of impressions and character-like shapes were collected. Familiar objects, three-dimensional as well as two-dimensional, personal items, furniture, products, graphics, photographs, and architecture were taken as inspiration and analyzed in two steps. With a closer look at the (historic) background and the function or purpose of the character-forming objects, an intense session of dismantling and reconstruction of these items and shapes started.

Transforming, for example, old letraset-sheets and their usage, or projecting characters onto the urban surface resulted in new and altered forms for characters and type. Some participants headed into an entirely different direction, and analyzed a huge scaffold in its overall construction but also in all its detail. It was virtually taken apart and, with the help of a grid, it transformed into a new typeface. Furthermore, a human face, including common features and expressions, was observed and transformed into a template-like grid for finding characters in it. These diverse concepts and final outcomes take into consideration different cultural backgrounds, and illustrate very personal approaches to characters and type. But not only those personal approaches to typography were shaped during the project. The intense observation of the environment, with the help of a specific task, contributed to shaping the personal perception of the environment as well.