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Papyrus Font

Papyrus Font

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As the sun was setting, the last few rays of light sparkled off the brilliant pink and purple hair windswept into her face.

Delicately scrawling a number "2" into my reporter's notebook with an art pen, Sarah Hood described why she was so fascinated with typography."I fell in love with ITC Tiffany Heavy," Hood said while sketching the number in her favorite font with careful trepidation.

"For me, everything needs to be as ornate as possible.

My whole senior project and thesis was about stimulation.

I need something that's constantly stimulating — bright lights, color, crazy noises.

So simple, clean, sleek fonts — they're lovely and well-designed — but they can't keep my attention for very long.

Where to draw the line?Hood, who will soon graduate with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in design, is among 17 seniors exhibiting their work this weekend at the Creative Research Lab.

The program itself, Design in Conversation, is an attempt to transform the works of these design students into person-to-person dialogue.

The CRL, normally reserved for art exhibitions, will have a dedicated space for design students' work — but don't call the designers "artists." "Oh no," Hood said, "Don't ever call a designer an artist.

That's a huge debate in the design community right now: Where do we draw the line between artist and designer?" Yet Hood's work in the exhibit seems to border on the abstract.

In one piece, a video shows the process of melting ice cream, Bomb Pops popsicles and whipped cream, with each medium shaped in the form of a font.

Hood said the aim of her work was to stimulate an almost perverse perspective for people watching the video."I melted Bomb Pops down into molds, re-froze them and videotaped them melting," Hood said, grinning with enthusiasm.

"It's making you sit down and watch the melting process from beginning to end, and it's kind of masochistic and sadistic.

You rush home from the grocery store because you don't want your ice cream to melt, for example, but sitting down and watching a video of the process, you're like, 'Oh no no don't melt.' It's enjoying to watch, like a kid with a magnifying glass on ants." Cult typographyAs she finished scrawling the "2," Hood described why she is drawn to psychological stimulation in her design pieces."I need something to distract me and keep me busy," Hood said.

"I was always the one in class who didn't do everything black and white, sleek, minimal — I'm so the opposite of that.

As I got more into typography, it helped me realize how I want to design — to be mature but with more personality."At a South by Southwest screening of the horror film "A Haunting In Connecticut," audiences were ecstatic and genuinely frightened.

A movie that would have probably received a standing ovation ended with credits typed in Papyrus font — causing audience members to groan and scoff in disapproval.

One man, who had previously been jumping in fright at quick cut-scenes throughout the film, called out "amateur!" when the credits rolled.

That kind of impact, Hood affirms, is why she was drawn to typography in the first place."There are whole cults behind fonts, like huge petitions to ban Comic Sans," Hood said with a laugh.

"There's always typography drama.

Like, if a design student goes to the mall and sees a business sign in a bad font, they wonder who would pay money to see that." Designers get readyRachel Tepper, exhibit committee head for the program, said the goal of the show is to inspire discussion about the designers' work."We spend the entire semester preparing for the show," Tepper said.

"I think it's important to know that our program is a liberal-arts approach to design, so we take design theory and history classes and ground our work in thinking, not just design.

We took action words like 'provoke' and 'explore' and grouped our work under these categories to trigger conversations, to make people think about why does this provoke or how does this explore."Tepper, a designer herself, also focused on typography but was more interested in the history behind fonts.

Her work centers on revisiting and updating a font originally created by Elizabeth Friedlander, a Holocaust refugee who was forced to leave Germany in the 1930s.

Friedlander never received credit for the typeface she created, so Tepper decided to pay homage to her legacy by transforming the font into Sans Friedlander, a sans serif font."I like to create pieces that are very thorough, with a light, soft touch," Tepper said while averting her eyes and smiling.

"I think that I design well that way because it kind of reflects my shyness.

It's understated." Design in ConversationOpening reception: Saturday, 6 p.m.

Exhibit: May 9-May 30; noon-5 p.m.

Creative Research Lab 2832 E.

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