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  • Matt Johnson 00:20 on February 25, 2010 Permalink | Reply  

    Same Word, Different Meaning 

    Another point of interest is about words that sound or are spelt to same, but have different meanings. These are called homophones and present me with a decision. Is the context that a word appears in enough for the reader to determine the meaning of the word? For example, the word run may mean to run (as in race) or to run (as in operate). A symbol depicting a man running would give the same conclusion, which is hopefully a “run”, but does the context allow the reader to successfully determine which for is meant?

    This goes further when you take into account tenses, i.e. past, present, future, and a few other circumstances that may lead to a misunderstanding. However, is understanding that important? Is ambiguity and subtlety more interesting?

  • Matt Johnson 00:13 on February 25, 2010 Permalink | Reply  


    I would like to try and develop this project into a non-linguistic form of symbols/hieroglyphs. The idea of a universal ‘code’ is interesting, however to properly do this I need to take into account sentence structure etc in other languages, since this will change the way my symbols are read. To do this I will need to learn more about linguistics in international languages, in order to accommodate them into my system.

    For now, however, I intend to focus on creating a non-linguistic form of English, since I don’t know enough about international linguistics. My target will then be to experiment and see if I am able to expand it to accommodate other languages successfully, but I don’t know at the moment how/if this will work properly.

  • Matt Johnson 16:16 on February 23, 2010 Permalink | Reply  


    Having looked into a hieroglyph solution to the brief a couple of things have occurred to me.


    I like the look of black & white. It gives a very universal, instruction manual feel and removes some of the decisions that may need to made about which colours should be used where. However, the use of colour does give me more variety and more opportunities when designing the individual pictograms. For example, ‘Woman In Black Dress With Blue Person Shoes’ in black and white may present a few problems since colour is a prominent theme in the title. I’m sure I could find a way around this, yet if I was to allow colour, or at least minimal colour the pictogram for ‘blue’, as an example, becomes quite simple. A blue square.


    Another interesting idea is whether I should look at individual pictograms for each word in the title or whether I should concentrate more on the overall meaning of the title. An example of this is for the title ‘ Brave Men Run In My Family’. In particular the last two words ‘my family’ could be portrayed by two separate symbols, for ‘my’ and for ‘family’ or combined into one symbol that conveys both. This becomes more interesting when I consider who I aim the designs at. If I wish to make the illustrations universally understandable I may need to combine words into a single picture, since in other languages sentence structure changes, which would alter the way my illustrations were read.


    Another question is whether to use text in my illustrations. The point of the idea is to convey the titles in a non-language format, however text contradicts this. I do like the idea of using phonetics just from a purely aesthetic purpose, but if it doesn’t work with my central point maybe I’ll have to leave them out. Another way I could use text would be to have the written title or phonetic words underneath the illustrations, but in multiple languages. I understand then that this wouldn’t be non-lingual, but multilingual which is still quite limiting in terms of how many languages there are in existence.

  • Matt Johnson 13:42 on February 23, 2010 Permalink | Reply  


    This project, to create images based on a title with no prior knowledge of what the title is for, is an interesting. So far I see the way to proceed as a literal representation of the words in the title, such as with dingbats.

    Juli Gudehus has created modern hieroglyphs to retell the story of creation as told in the Bible. They are a collection of pictograms and an easily recognised system of symbols that make up the story.

    Each ‘hieroglyph’ is self contained and stands separate from those next to it due to the way they are designed. However they are also drawn into passages or sentences by an exterior box which encapsulates the relevant pictures, in a similar manner to an Egyptian cartouche. I find the use of everyday symbols and corporate logo’s a particularly interesting addition to the work as it begins to critique the role of such corporations in modern life.

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