So Mr. Spencer, what is a Speculative type designer all about?
As the top of the homepage of his website suggests, Barry Spencer is a “legibilitator, speculator, type Designer and doctor”. “While the word Legibilitator is obviously a made up title, the others bring attention to what I would actually label myself, a Speculative Type Designer” he adds.
“What this means, and what I tell people, is that I often make letters that may or may not look like letters” Spencer concludes.
Melbourne-based Spencer is a university lecturer and freelance designer who has “researched, explored and played with the Latin letterforms” throughout his career as a designer. “By undertaking this research and exploration it has allowed me to reach a point where I have now fundamentally altered the way that I create, perceive and understand the shapes of the alphabet” says the type designer.
Barry Spencer latest project Speculatype is a book focused on his unique experimentations and speculations with the Latin letterforms.
Spencer has self-published his doctoral research as a hardcover book that focuses on his unique exploration with Latin letterforms between 2005 and 2013.
Containing over 230 illustrations showcased throughout each chapter and including nine in-depth case studies of typefaces that were instrumental to Barry’s creative journey and transformation, this book is a visual and theoretical treat for those interested in the boundaries of letterforms and typeface creation.
“It is not commonplace to engage in a line of questioning that provokes a creative response that departs from the foundations of the Latin letterforms and their history. However, it’s by taking something as implicitly known as the Latin letterforms and applying a completely new interpretation to their creation, perception and understanding that I contribute new knowledge to the field of typographic research.”
By exploring the Latin letterforms outside of the traditional approach, Barry has created typefaces that have allowed him to experiment and speculate with shapes that would otherwise have been dismissed. However, it is exactly this kind of investigation that has led to the creation of this book and the vast array of unique outcomes that are contained within its 256 pages.
“This is a thesis that explores the letterforms of our alphabet, not as a problem-solving project, but instead as like a scientific lab experiment or an artistic body of work and from a position that enables creativity through open thought and investigation with the potential to extend into innovation and unknown possibilities.”
Speculatype: A Tranformative Approach to the Perception, Understanding and Creation of Latin Letterforms is now available for purchase from Barry Spencer Design, Books at Manic (international orders and retail distribution), online retailers and in good bookstores.
Barry continues to explore the potential of letterforms while also writing and lecturing on graphic design, typography and type design.
Explore Barry’s work by visiting: www.barryspencerdesign.com.au or on Instagram @speculatype