The want driving this project was to represent both sides surrounding the debate around consciousness; ensuring each viewpoint was represented equally. However, purely visualizing their debate was not enough. By allowing an audience to actually engage in the discussions, they can come to their own conclusions through critical thinking. From this problem identification, the design solution of debate cards developed. This document, illusion: what will you talk about? cataloged a debate by philosopher Mary Midgley and scientist, Colin Blakemore.
Four large ‘zine’ style publications each reflect a lobe of the brain. Debate cards were visually colour coded to fit into larger publications, which would let a reader investigate the topic more. This ensured the cards and the publications could each stand-alone, but together work efficiently to gather the information quickly. The size of the zines and the cards are based on research as to the average size of the brain.
On the larger publications, the debate is presented as one continuous thought, meant to act like this whole disagreement is in the head of the reader. The debate cards allow for other individuals to participate and the main content works in another way when more people are involved.
The addition of kinograms, which is a paper animation technique was added to create another dimension. Kinograms erase and change the type below using acetate and thin lines. This tied conceptually with the debate, reflecting how our brains consist of grey and white matter. The hope is that this solution could be used for other large debates on important human issues.
GT Sectra and Maison Neue were chosen to portray the debates for various reasons. GT Sectra is a contemporary serif typeface combining the calligraphy of the broad nib pen with the sharpness of the scalpel knife. It was originally designed for use in the long-form journalism magazine Reportagen. Reportagen is a beautiful visual combination of two worlds, journalism and magazines. Symbolically, this is reflected in the typeface. It was the best choice for the project as it could represent both a typed letterform and a handcrafted one. The use of book in the body copy and the use of display for the debate cards ensured that the conventional choices and interpretations of the type designer could be respected.
Maison Neue is the reworked version of Milieu Grotesque’s Maison typeface family. While the original version was constructed on geometric principles, Maison Neue has been meticulously redrawn with a stronger focus on optical criteria to create a distinct grotesque—paying particular attention to harmony, rhythm and flow. Maison Neue was chosen for it’s harmony with GT Sectra, but also its dual-layered creation. It works well at smaller sizes within the documents and as marginalia.
It was awarded membership into the International Society of Typographic Designers and exhibited in TU Dublin end of year show.