MA Graphic Design & Typography Project Conceptual Art Digital | Acrylic Perspex

Sound Font
This was the outcome of the Module Process and Practice as Research from the MA Graphic Design & Typography at the Anglia Ruskin University. The MA Graphic Design & Typography was a unique opportunity to develop my innate creative qualities and by the direction of Professor Will Hill.

This project tried to answer the following questions:

Is there a phonetic connection between languages?

Does that phonetic connection also shapes each language
I proposed to study the shape of sounds, the connections, and differences in languages. I focused my study on the English and
Portuguese phonetic sounds mapped the graphic shape and created a new font or language based on sounds. My approach was to analyse the sound waves of English and Portuguese alphabet.
I started this project by investigating the English phonetics and used references like the “International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) | English Pronunciation”, Crown Academy of English, and “Shapes for Sounds: (cowhouse)”, Timothy Donaldson, Mark Batty Publisher, New York, 2008
Working with GarageBand software, I pronounced the main English phonetic sounds and recorded them as sound waves. I saved the sound file as .aif and then imported it to a data analyse software, Praat. This software is similar to Matlab (widely used by researchers to visualize data). Praat; however, is free.
Praat (the Dutch word for "talk " or "speak ") is a free scientific computer software package for the analysis of speech in phonetics. It was designed and continues to be developed, by Paul Boersma and David Weenink of the University of Amsterdam.” Wikipedia -
I then exported the sound waves and saved them as a .eps file which allowed me to keep the data intact, without corrupting it.
I was also able to import this .eps file to Adobe Illustrator. I then started a creative process of analysing of shapes, connections,
and differences in between the English and Portuguese phonetics.
First Phase
a) Recording the phonetic English and Portuguese sounds using GarageBand software.
b) Extraction of the sound waves of the English and Portuguese phonetic sounds with the data analyse software, Praat.
Organizing the vector sound waves in groups of sounds and colours.
Second Phase
a) Creative process based on the following rules:

a.1) Scaling original sound waves to 400% Horizontal / 100%
Vertical, with the objective of improving visibility.

a.2) Used the Blend Tool and originated a font from a 5 and 6
step transformation (accordingly to the best shape of the letter)
of a Latin letter to the correspondent's letter phonetic sound.
I Used Helvetica Neue as the matrix.
Third Phase
I created a generic sound font based on the International Phonetic Alphabet - IPA - for English. I also created a chromatic font based on the vowels of the English and Portuguese Phonetic Sounds. I then used the laser cut machine of the Anglia Ruskin University to cut the sound font of the English and Portuguese vowel phonetic sounds in 3 mm thick Fluorescent Acrylic Sheet of Perspex.
I created a beautiful poster where you can see the connections and differences in between the English and Portuguese vowel phonetic sounds. Finally, I took photography of the Perspex letters and animated them to create an effect that when each sound image is touched releases the correspondent collection of phonetic sounds. As a result, I have created a beautiful Typographic Book - Sound Font that describes my research.
I also have created a unique font, the Sound Font, which is a font based on the International Phonetic Alphabet - IPA - for English, with a chromatic font based on the vowels of the English and Portuguese phonetic sounds.
And finally, the beautiful Perspex Poster that is a great Conceptual Art Work as per the image above.
This project was an ongoing research about Typography but almost all Language and it was intended to create a font much more intuitive and truthful to the way the words are pronounced, and help people think about language in a new way by question its origins.

Want to read my research study?
Please contact Estela Gaspar at and request a copy of my Research Project Sound Font Book.
Copyright belongs to Estela Maria Janela Gaspar and Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge, UK

Research Project Sound Font Book

Attention is drawn to the fact that copyright of this Project rests with:
(i) Anglia Ruskin University for one year and thereafter with
(ii) Estela Maria Janela Gaspar

This copy of the Project has been supplied on condition that anyone who consults it is bound by copyright.
This work may (i) be made available for consultation within Anglia Ruskin University Library or (ii) be lent to other libraries for the purpose of consultation or may be photocopied for such purposes.
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