Expressing tone and emotion with experimental typography


  • Rachel Jacques MacEwan University


In the first half of Ray Bradbury’s short story “The Crowd,” we follow a man named Spallner who is in the midst of experiencing a traumatic car accident. In his confusion and shock, he notices a crowd forming around him and the scene and gets a strange feeling about the people in the crowd. He later remarks to his doctor that the wheels on his car were still spinning when the group appeared. After he recovers at the hospital, he begins to come across car crashes everywhere, eventually realizing that the crowds forming around the debris are the same people he saw at his own accident. The layout of the text weaves across the page, swirling and spinning like the wheels on Spallner’s car. Excerpts of text echo on the page, using layering and transparency to suggest confusion and double vision, mirroring Spallner’s difficulty in perceiving his environment and the events happening before him. Colour is used in the text to separate speakers and create contrast and emphasis. The display typeface Diager is used within the text for effect and graphically in the background to generate interest from the spread’s “bird’s eye view.” In contrast, a simple sanserif Cambay Devanagari is used in body text to maintain legibility throughout the complicated layout. Background images depict scenes from the text and create visual interest, utilizing glitch effects in the graphics to magnify the eerie tone and reinforce Spallner’s confusion as he pieces together the story.

Department: Design

Faculty Mentor: Constanza Pacher