Speculative Characters for Visual Inflection

Mia Cinelli

Referencing the connection of an ampersand, the social symbol of a heart, and the corporeal movement of a hug, the Affecticon represents love and affection.
Bristling and urgent, the Frustration Point marks an irritated exclamation.
The Shrug Sign references a familiar non-verbal gesture of uncertainty.
Connecting sharp sound and shape, abrupt interjections, and displeased facial expressions, the Disgust Mark stands in for "yuck" "ugh" and "bleurgh!"
The Awkward Pause; a long comma.

In the age of emojis, type and image work in tandem to bolster our typographic voices, conveying our wide range of emotions. What if, in lieu of relying on smiley-faces and eggplants to make our point, new punctuation could formally articulate meaning through gesture and expression? Much like written music relies on specific symbols to designate key, volume, pacing and pauses, I believe new letterforms—inspired by facial expressions, hand gestures, and metaphors—could better inform our visual inflection. These new characters are proposed to supplement our existing typefaces, attempting to make the rich complexities of verbal (and nonverbal) conversation visible. 

Presented at TypeCon in Minneapolis, MN, exhibited at The Lexington Art League (Lexington, KY) and Tarleton State University (Stephenville, TX) in 2019.

Mia Cinelli
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