New Demotic Typography: The Search for New Indices


  • Frances Butler


During the last fifteen years the nature of the cognitive practices needed for rapid access into information and for creative thought has changed. Linear thought is now too slow. In the effort to devise short cuts, so that disparate information widely separated can be joined by metaphoric juxtaposition, or lateral thinking, designers of type and image are searching for ways with which to represent the fluid fields of type and image that will induce reverie, often a precondition for metaphoric, non-linear thought. One of the paths taken in the search for a new mnemonics of free visualization, the fusing of the "widely separated" typical of lateral thinking, is the reinvestigation of syntactic devices used before printing with movable type or codified punctuation, including many devices once in use among quasi-literate populations. This reinvestigation of the origins of punctuation, including indices, in the search for ideational guidance and creativity within new technology parallels research in medicine or nutrition, where reinvestigation of original plant and animal species, rather than their later hybrids, has proved useful.