Parsons School of Design
BFA Communication Design
Thesis 2024

Not Pho!
Rosie Mai

Preservation of Vietnamese accents and diacritics are essential for linguistic integrity and upholding cultural identity, while being an agent of accurate communication. Evolved through more than 400 years, modern Vietnamese language inherits unique diacritical marks that represent distinct tonal sounds. Despite their crucial roles in providing proper context for the language, Vietnamese diacritics are often overlooked and undervalued, relegated to a nuisance status in favor of maintaining conventional aesthetics in most printed materials.

Not Pho! is a two-part project that delves into the relationship between diacritical marks and letters in the Vietnamese language through type design and bookmaking. This project aims to address two key objectives. First is to explore whether diacritical marks can be treated with the same importance as letters. And secondly, to create a comprehensive resource introducing the history and language for non-Vietnamese audiences.

By emphasizing the proportions of diacritic marks in both typefaces and physical media, Not Pho! seeks to raise awareness of the importance of diacritical use in Vietnamese and encourage non-Vietnamese speakers to learn about tonal difference through commonly used words (such as phở). Through this approach, the project raises questions about how language is expressed efficiently while highlighting how diacritics deeply influence meaning and context, ultimately stressing their importance in Vietnamese communication and cultural expression.

Sera Aksoy

Faye Arranz

Shravani Bagawde

Han Bao

Iryna Baran

Zein Bdeir

Victoria Beyrard

Anna Blyumenkrants

Tatiana Boccone

Megan Brill

Andrea Chang

Longcan (Hugo) Chao

Jolene Chen

Yu Tung Chen

Yuntong Chen

Loki Chow

Hong Jet Chua

Erin May Cochanco

Janet Delavan

Gayoung Do

Fang Dong

Julia Du

Manan Dua

Colin Elmer

Millie Faber

Siyao Fang

Noah Farjani

Hina Fernstrom

Leslie Fonseca

Sarahi Garcia

Amanda Guo

Charlotte Hailstone

Jieun Han

Mary Hatcher

Elliana Hau

William Hsu

Olivia Hu

Grace Huang

Jung Hwangbo

Krishika Jain

Yoo-Jin Jang

Janice Ji

Wenjie Ji

Eneya Joshua

Yung Ching (Aurora) Juang

Maya Kalinowski

Jasmine Kan

Nabeeha Khalid

Palakh Khetrapal

Jessie Kil

Hope Kim

Hye Yoon Kim

Jenny JaeMin Kim

Lindsay Kim

Aarya Kini

Claudia Kok

Vidhi Kontham

Themis Kung

Hoi Man Kwok

Katherine Lam

Camille Le Bars

Haylee Lee

Minjae Lee

Stacey Lee

Chenxiao Li

Vivian Liu

Sarah Ma

Rosie Mai

Kamryn McKenna

Haley Moore

Graeme Mounsey

Syrus Mow

Viviann Nguyen

Chloé Nini

Smitee Oberoi

Talita Ozkok

Surya Pande

Shruti Pathak

Kelly Peng

Aayushi Pitta

Zoey Poole

Kiara Putrilia

Anjali Raju

Rand Rivera

Virajini Sanghai

Sofia Santana Arrezola

Noor Selim

Anna Sham

Lakeisha Esthetique Sharonina

Carly Shelton

Mengqi Shen

Vanessa Shimon

Alex Vinicius Silva

Arjun Sivaprakasam Thamilarasan

Hajin Son

Yi Song

Alexander Soukakos

Aarya Srikumar

Hannah Suh

Yuka Tamura

Cynthia Huiwen Tan

Sidhya Tikku

Raquel Trevino

Sophie Tsang

Gianna Waldron

Haotian Wang

Yi Wang

Yichen Wang

Yingjie Wang

Victoria Winter

Sage Won

Sora Wong

Shiyao Wu

Tong Wu

Qian Xiang

Faith Xue

Tong Yu

Helen Zhang

Jinyi Zhang

Yixiao Zhao

Yufan Zhao

Haiyu Zhou

Yining Zhou

Feiya Zuo