Part 4 Exercise : Playing with the words [Level 1, Unit 1]

For this exercise, following list of words is given :

  1. Sad
  2. Safe
  3. Sardonic [Meaning : grimly mocking /cynic]
  4. Saucy [Meaning : expressing in a bold, lively manner]
  5. Scholarly
  6. Serious
  7. Shadow
  8. Shattered
  9. Shy
  10. Short
  11. Silly
  12. Sinking
  13. Skimpy [Meaning : short / revealing]
  14. Sleek [Meaning : elegant / smooth / glossy]
  15. Smart
  16. Snowy
  17. Sodden [Meaning : soaked with / saturated / excessively drunk]
  18. Soothing
  19. Sordid [Meaning : dirty / involving immoral actions]
  20. Sophisticated
  21. Speed
  22. Squat [Meaning : crouch / illegally occupy]
  23. Squeeze
  24. Stiff
  25. Stodgy [Meaning : dull / uninspired]
  26. Stoned [Meaning : under the influence]
  27. Style
  28. Supine [Meaning : lying face upwards]
  29. Swagger [Meaning : confident / arrogant]
  30. Sweet

These words are to be set at 48pt size with Helvetica bold as font, then to be printed, cut and pasted on paper trying to capture their meanings visually and to letar, try it digitally using any graphic software.


I have put up all letters in a triangular arrangement rather than curved ‘Sad’, being unconventional, because when humans feel sad, they generally either become bit introverted or others come near the sad person to console / convince them, thus my arrangement of each letter this human tendency.

To be safe and secured, a framed life is chosen than breaking the comfort zone or out of the box ideas aren’t considered, hence the arrangement of ‘Safe’ is square shaped, similar to a frame.

To denote graveness, to create an impact of seriousness, without any fun-provoking arrangement, I have put up ‘Serious’ in a straight horizontal baseline.

To depict the cynicism or sharp mocking, I have placed all the letters of ‘Sardonic’ in a sharp, slanting manner.

 ‘Stiff’ is arranged vertically and tightly together to denote the hardness. 

‘Saucy’ is arranged in curved manner with remaining letters arranged bit superscript way between ‘S’ and ‘y’, to reflect the lively, bold manner. 

I have cut the word ‘Short’ to make it appear short and make it easy to realise the meaning by just glance. 

During some little children learn letters and words using blocks with alphabets written on them and by stacking them to create spellings. The word ‘Scholalrly’ reflects the gradual steps of education and wisdom gained by experience over the years and age as well as maturity.

The letter ‘H’ is hidden and peeping from behind the letters ‘S’ and ‘Y’ to depict ‘Shy’.

I have arranged the word ‘Speed’ in a way that the double ‘e’ act as wheels to denote the movement and speed. ‘P’ and ‘d’ are rotated in a way that they interlock. 

All the letters of ‘Squeeze’ are pasted together to express the sensation of being squeezed together, thus matching the visuals, meaning to the word itself while reading or even glancing.

The uniqueness can be visually depicted by writing the word ‘Smart’ as simply by rotating the letter ‘a’ bit upwards. 

The sweetness and round shape of most of the Indian delicacies is what came across my mind when I arranged the word ‘Sweet’.

The foolishness could be derived from the random arrangement of the letters of word ‘Silly’.

‘Supine’ means lying down with face upwards. 

The calmness, serenity and peaceful feeling could be seen by arranging the letters of the word ‘Soothing’ farther away from each other in an equidistant measurement.


To show how the influence / force works, I have arranged the letters of the word ‘Stoned’ as if they were thrown. 

‘Snow’ falls are generally shown visually as triangular in direction due to the gravitational force. 

Elite, high class appearance is represented through the simple yet ‘Sophisticated’ arrangement. 

‘Skimpy’ is used to describe the short, revealing outfits and wearables, costumes. So, I have cut the letters in similar ways while arranging them. 

Going downwards is reflected visually so that the vision of the viewer travels through vertical arrangement of ‘Sinking’.

The pieces of the word show the meaning of ‘Shattered’.

The style of ambigram is used for arrangements of letters ‘S’, ‘p’, ‘d’, ‘u’, ‘n’, ‘e’


The different appearance of the word reflects through the word ‘Style’.

The crouching is seen through the ‘Squat’.

The illegal acts like heinous crimes of killing can be visually represented by placing ‘i’ horizontally as if a dead body in the arrangement of the word ‘Sordid’.

The arrogant, confident behaviour is reflected throughout the pattern created by the arrangement of the letters of the word ‘Swagger’.

The dull / uninspired appearance is denoted through the placing of the letters of ‘Stodgy’.

The elegant, smooth or glossy is visually appealing and hence, the arrangement of the word ‘Sleek’ is.

For digital versions of the same 30 words, I have used vector software CorelDRAW –

Playing with the words 2 [P4, L1, U1]

Playing with the words 3 [P4, L1, U1]


Part 4 Research [Level 1, Unit 1]

I have been interested in learning typography and also I wish to learn to create fonts. I came to know about many designers, typographers, calligraphers, etc. but noticed that there were many names of male designers, typographers or calligraphers and strangely there were very rarely or very few female names. This roused my curiosity about first female typographers and printers and their work in the past.

Hence, I thought to undertake a research and found some stunning and interesting information –

There was a period when there were prejudices about capabilities of women and were considered inferior. They weren’t given the due credits for their work, not even were acknowledged for their work. Some women preferred to work with nicknames sounding like male names or simply remained anonymous by intention or forcefully by other, due to such unfavourable conditions. So, sometimes it was bit tough to recognize whether the work was done by a women artist or not.

Women had fewer career opportunities and also had been exempted from getting good education and not even allowed to matriculate or graduate. Even the universities like Oxford didn’t allow women to even get admission till 1920. Even at Bauhaus art school in Germany, women were permitted to learn weaving or textile design but not other arts like graphic design or typography. Condition wasn’t much different throughout all the continents of the world. The issue of treating women artists, designers, typographers, etc. as inferior was universal, almost in all religions and classes, with very rare exceptions.

Prior to the invention of printing process in 15th century, women were involved in the process of production of manuscripts as well as some women worked as scribes, copyists for imitating handwritten documents, arts and music while some women served as patrons and supporters. Wives of craftsmen and nuns were allowed to assist or work in printing firms to typeset or aid the guilds of artists, typesetters, publishers, etc.

For example :

  1. Dominican nuns were printing books during the period between 1476 to 1484.
  2. There is a logbook by a convent press belonging to 8th century  which contains the record of female compositor, nun who had typeset a folio edition of a literary work by an Italian poet.
  3. Estellina Conat (wife of a physician and printer Abraham Conat) was involved in the process of typesetting of a Hebrew book, a small octavo edition of ‘Behinat Olam’. It has a colophon (a publisher’s emblem / imprint usually on the title page of the book, containing the brief information) which mentions Estellina’s contribution.

Anna Rugerin :

Anna’s mother Barbara Traut Schonsperger had remarried to Johann Bamler, a printer Augsburg, thus marking the beginning of an extensive engagement of family in the book-printing business.

After the death of her husband Thomas Ruger, Anna took full control of her print shop as an owner and operator, by having a business-oriented family history. The first woman to add her name in a colophon as a printer in a printed book was Anna Rugerin. She had published two folio editions of ‘Sachsenspiegel Landrecht’ by Eike Von Repgow in summer, June 1984 at Augsburg [Southern Germany]. She was assisted by her brother Johann Schonsperger.

Colophon containing Anna Rugerin’s name (Image courtesy of Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft)

Anna Rugerin colophon

I had found the translation of the colophon as follows :

anna rugerin colophon translation

The opening page of ‘Formulae and Duetsch Rhetorica’ contains the mention of Anna Rugerin (Image courtesy of Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft) –


Anna Rugerin and Johann Schonsperger used gothic type [Type 1:120G] –


Later, in 16th century, situations started progressing and more than hundreds of women were becoming a part of printing and designing processes, including bookmakers, writers / scribes, editors, type-designers, typographers, printers, owners of printing-firms.