MPP Draft 2

Research Question

How can typography reinforce the understanding of a text and amplify the authorial voice within it?

Aims and Objectives

Using recipe books as source material, this project will examine the ways that typography can be used to make a text comprehensible to the reader and how it can be used to amplify the presence of the authorial voice.

Questions that will arise along the way:

What is the best formula for presenting recipes?

How is the author’s voice best presented through typography?

What would the ideal recipe book look like?

Personal aims:

To better understand the use of graphic design within the wider field of book design.

To examine the relationship between language, text, typography and image.

To develop an understanding of the nuances of typography, particularly typographic hierarchy and the extent to which the reader can be controlled, directed or manipulated by these interventions.


Visually-literate readers: publishers, typographers and designers. And cooks!


This project will use my initial research into the relationship between language, text and typography to survey the typography of recipe/cookery books but will also be a platform for thinking about graphic design in the wider sphere of book design.

Area of study:

The Visible Word: Text, type and language studies.

Book design: Typographic hierarchy; narrative; text and image; sequence.

Texts already read:

Left to Right by David Crow

Orality and Literacy by Walter J Ong

On Typographic Signification by Gerard Mermoz

Type and Image by Bridget Wilkin

A Type Primer by John Kane

Selected essays from Looking Closer 1 and 5 edited by Bierut, Drenttel and Heller

Selected essays from Texts on Type edited by Heller and Meggs

Detail in Typography by Jost Hochuli

Designing Books by Jost Hochuli and Robin Kinross


The British Library’s ‘Books for Cooks’ website is a useful resource for the history of cookbooks:

The Wellcome Library has a collection of 17th century and earlier manuscripts of receipt (recipe) books. This will be a useful place to explore the relationship between recipes and medicine.

Graphic designers:


Katherine Gillieson:

Non Format:


Action Plan

Ongoing/already started:

Research typographic hierarchies within early and mid Modernism, in particular, the work of Josef Müller-Brockmann, Emil Ruder and Armin Hofmann.

Look at typography by Cranbrook School of Design, Wolfgang Weingart, Rudy van der Lans, Catherine McCoy and April Greiman.

Look at recent work by practitioners such as APFEL and Marian Bantjes.

Continue to develop a series of posters that reflect on and illustrate the relationship between language, text and typography.

December onwards:

Research the history of recipe/cookbooks.

Research into libraries that have collections of cookery books.

Start to compile notes for Report.

February onwards:

Visit British Library (and others?) to view collection of cookbooks.

Visit Wellcome collection to look at receipt/recipe books.

Visit ‘Books for Cooks’ in Notting Hill.

Decide on scope of sample study of cook books.

Audit of cookbooks: Concentrating on typography, in particular how it used to create hierarchy within lists of ingredients and instructions but also looking at how graphic language is used to make visible the author’s voice.

April onwards:

Analyse typography of recipes in source material.

Begin to make visual experiments based on these findings.

Further reading as necessary.

Interviews with cook book designers/publishers?

June onwards:

Test ideas for visual experiments amongst peer group/tutors etc.

Begin designing and compiling visual audit of source material.

July onwards:

Refine visual experiments and think about final output. Possible output might be a distillation of my research: an ‘ideal’ recipe book that makes the recipes comprehensible to the reader and that attempts to make more explicit the authorial voice.

Test ideas for final output amongst peer group/tutors etc.

August onwards:

Development of final output.

Evaluate ideas/output with peer group/tutor/design professionals.

Begin compiling and designing Report.

September onwards:

Finish designing all elements for hand-in: Report, Outcome, supporting material etc.

October onwards:

All work to printers.

Other commitments during 2011:

Madrid, 15-20 May

Pa/per View Book Fair, Brussels, 21-24 April

Holiday – I week August

Miss Read Book Fair, Berlin, 2-4 September

London Art Book Fair, 22-27 September

Frankfurt Book Fair, 12-16 October

New York Art Book Fair, 4-6 November


Bierut, Michael, Drenttel, William & Heller, Steven (editors) (1994) Looking Closer: Critical Writings on Graphic Design, New York, Allworth Press

Bierut, Michael, Drenttel, William & Heller, Steven (editors) (2006) Looking Closer Five: Critical Writings on Graphic Design, New York, Allworth Press

Crow, David (2006) Left to Right: The Cultural Shift from Words to Pictures, Lausanne, AVA Publishers

Crow, David (2003) Visible Signs: An Introduction to Semiotics, Lausanne, AVA Publishers

Heller, Steven & Meggs, Phillip B (editors) (2001) Texts on Type: Critical Writings on Typography, New York, Allworth Press

Hochuli, Jost (2008) Detail in Typography, London, Hyphen Press

Hochuli, Jost & Kinross, Robin (1996) Designing Books; Practice and Theory, London, Hyphen Press

Kane, John (2002) A Type Primer, London, Laurence King

Ong, Walter J (1982) Orality and Literacy, London, Routledge

Ruder, Emile (1967) Typographie, Basel, Niggli

Schmid, Helmut (2003) Typography Today, Tokyo, Seibundo Shinkosha Publishing Co. Ltd




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