Parsons School of Design
BFA Communication Design
Thesis 2019

Julia Isman
Topological Typography

This project explores the concept of topological letterforms, as they transform in space over time. In the realm of type, topology is studied through the expansion of edges and vertexes. In other words, how the degree to which one rounds a letterform creates different results and legibility, as parts of the form come together and overlap.

Research involved a multi-step process: testing how extreme or minimal deformations affect a letterform’s legibility, producing an infinite range of weights for a resultant typeface, and finally using a static version of the typeface applied to a second topological form, a simple rectangular prism. Overall, the work expanded on how the application of a kinetic typeface changes the medium to which it is applied.

Putting together the different components of research led to the creation of a topological typeface called El Circo. Its design expresses fluidity and movement, as its curved terminals and rounded geometry are analog to the agile acrobats of a contemporary circus. Its weights are solely based on the expansion of edges and vertexes over time, and it shows how it does so in both 2D and 3D realms. The final type specimen is presented as a set of motion posters. The 3D letterforms push the limits of dimension by essentially having an infinite range of weights, as the soft dynamics of the form are affected by action and reaction. Finally, all of this is tied together under the umbrella of a circus because it is, after all, where it all began.

Yasmeen AlAyoub

Maria Badasian

Jenny Barroll

Bhavika Bhatia

Leehe Bok

Lauren April Brady

Elisa Bustos

Gabrielle Cantamessa

Jo Castanon

Ana Sofia Murillo Cernicchiaro

Sherleen Chen

Tiange Chen

Dahee Choi

Carol Chong

Olivia Chow

Matthew Chu

Lily Clempson

Analuisa Corrigan

Gaurika Dalal

Iyana Martin Diaz

Sylvia Epstein

Maria Farah

Vitoria Schweitzer Fiore

Jamie Fong

Bentzion Goldman

Sarah Hennessy

Irene Hernandez-Gaona

Sara Hilany

Allen Hu

Gufeng Huang

Julia Isman

Erika Jaquez

Moonnyung Jo

Adam Johansen

Souraya Jureidini

Cynthia Kamata-Banks

Zarrin Karimi

Ta Suranart Kasitipradit

Anastasia Khadivi

Peggy S. Khammanotham

Jiwon Kim

Minhae Kim

Sarah Kim

Soyeon (Chloe) Kim

Soyeon Kim

Esther Klingbiel

Rose Kramer

Clare Lagomarsino

Julia Lassen

Chloe Lee

Jahyun Lee

Nicole Lee

Ye Eun Alison Lee

Leqi Liang

Chia Ying Lin

Chih-Yi Lin

Eric Lish

Clarissa Losciale

Eileen Lu

Cobey Lusinger

Maria Magnani

Miguel Marcos

Gaebrielle McIntosh

Sarah McNutt

Mitali Mehta

Vincent Merle

Mitali Nopany

Eugene Ong Bang Jun

Diana Pak

Seongjin Park

Holly Parkin

Annika Phillips

Olimpia Pignatti-Morano

Marie Poncin

Jin Qian

Jack Rieger

Kenisha Bijoux Rullan

Joshua Ryan

Bushra Sarker

Amy Schultz

Nico Siy

Leah Slava

Demi Isabela Straulino

Anisha Subberwal

Erica Tagliarino

Cristina Cepeda Thielmann

Elisa Tordjmann

Kyle Tranquilli

Yasemin Varlik

Varun Vig

Diana Vivar

Abby Wang

Yifei Wang

Yuqi Wang

Coco Wohrle

Angela Yang

Stella Yen

Tiffany Ying

Ingrid Yiu

Kyle Yu

Celestine Yuan

Seoyoung Yun

Maria Zabolotnaya

Amanda Zaldivar

Yinglin Zeng

Junhao Zhang

Limber Lingya Zhang

Haitong Zheng

Karolina Zuchowski