There is a common belief that image and writing are two inherently different forms of communication. Yet, numerous examples refute this thought. It is enough to think of our demand for verbal expression to be descriptive, hence visual. But a similarly apt example is to refer to the pictorial roots of ancient writing, which after a long process of modification still remind us of their visual origin.
At the emergence of ancient phonemic orthography the individual letters invoked the word uttered through them. However, apart from channelling thoughts, calligraphy has also been an aesthetic experience – and still is until these days. After the development of printing typography has been built on the beauty of fonts – which pleases the eye of the reader, but often remains unnoticed during the everyday routine of reading, which process began with the usage of lead letters and continues up until today’s imagery calculated in pixels.
But there is more depth to it all. It is almost half a century since Jacques Derrida introduced the notion of the grapheme, which in the play of textuality, presence and absence placed writing and letters into a wider context, and increased the value, prestige and gravity of word forms and letters, and hence indirectly the significance of typography. Therefore, the importance of our task has not diminished even in the digital era, the arche-writing of our existence contains the challenge to – over and over again – join the visible with the utterable.
At the Institute of Applied Arts of University of Sopron the Graphic Design BA and MA courses are among their three programmes. For lecturers typography is fundamental not only because of abstract concepts, since in their inspiring environment embracing their local tradition they intend to share their love for typography, attention, professional knowledge during the years they spend together.