CalArts Student’s App Explores Western and Korean Typography

CalArts Program in Graphic Design student Amanda Lui (Art BFA 14) has always been interested in East Asian typography. This year, she deepened that interest, designing Types of Type, an iPad app that compares Korean typography with its English counterpart.

Types of Type is a learning tool not only for graphic design students, but for anyone interested in typography, translation and bilingualism. In brightly-colored screens, the app introduces the user to the Roman Alphabet and the Korean script Hangul, with accompanying history, letter parts, sounds and even colloquial uses.

Lui expounds on the purpose of Types of Type in an email:

I imagine that this app has two purposes. The first is to learn about typography. The app tackles both Korean and English typography, however, I find that it is much easier to learn about Western typography when you have something foreign with which to compare it. At times it’s hard to analyze typography because of its familiarity in English. We cannot distance ourselves from the form. But when one is looking at a foreign alphabet, it is easier question and learn from it.

The second purpose is that it is a cultural comparison. Two completely different languages are brought very close together in this app. I think it’s amazing to see how the English and Korean languages have so much in common, and I’ve brought those similarities together in the context of typography. And, of course, there are differences as well, and it is intriguing to see the contrasts next to the similarities.

Lui also wrote that an unusual twist led her to choose the Korean language. Lui is Chinese American, but confesses she’s “never actually had any interaction with the Chinese culture.” She studied Japanese in high school but was, at the same time, developing an interest in Korean dramas and K-Pop. When she decided to learn Korean while at CalArts, she found it to be a more comfortable language to work with, due to her exposure to it through its pop culture. Lui states that at CalArts, she’s also found more support, input and help with Korean than with other East Asian languages.

Download Types of Type from the App Store.

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