Readable Text, New Orleans Style at TypeCon 2009

June 26, 2009


12:00 noon, Type in 20

TypeCon 2009, Atlanta

Nancy Sharon Collins talks about FLOOD BOOK and notions of readable text. Audrey Bennett and Ellen Lupton are cited.


In 2005 Audrey Bennett spoke on this topic at Typecon in Boston, she and I have exchanged emails about this, infrequently, ever since.  I was interested in her talk because I was then teaching graphic design and typography at a university literally down the bayou in south Louisiana where illiteracy rates soar.  Recently at an AIGA leadership retreat in  Portland, OR, I ran into Audrey who I had not seen since Boston.  I was very excited to show her a book I designed and was amazed to discover that she had just purchased a copy.

FLOOD BOOK, * as it is named, is a post-Katrina rant—or repetitive chant—with rhyming verse written in Yat which is a local, New Orleanian dialect. Its a little book, the size of a short novella, with compelling illustrations and simple, classical type.  I wanted Audrey to see it because it became a sell out as a tool for teaching reading to those with severe literacy challenges.   Why had she picked-up the book and what was it that inspired her to buy it?  In this presentation I will talk about the typographic and design choices in the FLOOD BOOK project, the coincidence with Audrey and how Dr. Caroline Musselwhite, assistive technology specialist working in the areas of AAC and literacy, found the book useful in her workshops.

* FLOOD BOOK will be on sale at the SOTA book store.


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