I am writing the letter ‘S’ as part of the title on my school project poster about our chooks. I am in grade 3, and am trying something different in my lettering.
I muck it up – I don’t like how it looks, and mum sits with me to try and fix it. Whatever we do just makes it look worse. I hate it.
That anecdote sums up the way I used to feel about giving new things a go. I always felt like I had one chance to get it right, even if I had never done it before. Gettings this right was more important to me that giving them a go.
It is thanks to people like my guest for this week that I have had my eyes opened to the joy, wonder, and possibility of following my curiosity, experimenting, and being open to whatever the outcomes may be.
Barry Spencer started doing this about 10 years ago with alternative type designs for the Latin alphabet.
Initially wanting to understand and follow the ‘right’ way to create new type designs, he then started experimenting with ‘wrong’ ways of doing this. He has taken this to the point where many of his designs are beautiful, cryptic alphabets with letters than are no longer readily recognisable as the shape which inspired them.
10 years and over 100 alphabets later, this experiment has led him to teaching positions, running workshops, and completing a PhD.
The reactions he has received have varied from disgust to joy, and thankfully he keeps pushing the boundaries so that we can have our minds open to what we might be able to create, and what we give meaning to and why.
Barry is open in his sharing about his journey and work, and I hope you enjoy listening to our conversation.