This project was based on a brief from the International Society of Typographic Designers (ISTD). I chose to investigate the Irish Famine, I … Read More
This project was based on a brief from the International Society of Typographic Designers (ISTD). I chose to investigate the Irish Famine, I wanted to visually represent the enormity of the disaster in an elegant way. ‘One Million Characters’ is the solution I came up with. Each character in the book represents a life lost in the famine. Ireland’s population fell by almost a quarter between 1845 and 1851. It is approximated that one million people died and a million more emigrated. It’s easy to overlook the monumental scale of the disaster, the book attempts to describe the enormity of what happened.
The book begins with an essay, about the history of the famine, it contains extracts from letters and newspapers of the time. After the essay the characters begin to take on new meaning, they illustrate the tragedy visually, they lose all pre-supposed definition. A number 3, is no longer a cardinal number, equivalent to the sum of one and two; it’s a symbol of life and life lost. At the beginning of the famine, Ireland was overcrowded, it was not uncommon for 10 people to be living in a one-roomed mud cabin. When the crop failed and then failed again, numbers dwindled, gradually at first, then more dramatically as times grew more desperate. The typography within the book mirrors these changes. I introduced red thread to add drama and to highlight key aspects of the text. I also wanted to consistently remind the viewer that one letter or one full stop or one question mark equals one life lost.
The book is 420mm wide by 50,400mm long. Read Less