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Subject: Plasma type
From: Michael Brady <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Discussion of Type and Typographic Design <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Mon, 10 Nov 2003 11:20:54 -0500

text/plain (47 lines)

Regarding this website:


I went to this webpage (nice face, Carlos: I saw it at the flash site
first, and downloaded it to work with it a bit) and bookmarked the page.

When I did do my Safari browser read the name of the page as the
bookmark name. I looked at it and thought, "Why did he name this page
'stupidos'?" Is this some kind of Spanish joke or idiom? I looked at
the page name field again and was still confused. *Then* I looked at
the page itself and realized it was "Sudtipos"! Yow! what an odd
confusion on my part! I am sure, on reflection, that this happened
because "sud" is not a commonly used (or readily recognized) word in
English, as it (i.e., 'south') is in a romance language like Spanish or

On my desk I have a copy of Kvern and Blatner's Real World InDesign.
The word "InDesign" is set very large and spans the whole front cover.
I've noticed several times when I glance across my desk and see the
book, I read "Indonesia"! Hmmm, why do I have a book on Indonesia? Oh,
I misread that title ... again!

I don't think this is a matter of dyslexia, per se. But I think that
it's a matter of flexible reading (hence "plasma" in the subject line)
to which I am particularly susceptible; and because I play with words,
spellings, meanings so much my brain and perceptive faculties are
ususally adept at these kinds of mistakes or misreadings.

I bring this to your attention because I began to see an overlap
between my experiences and such things as immersive reading and boumas,
etc., that is, between how the word-image is perceived and how it is
processed. FWIW, Freud remarked that dreams are visual puns, and that
puns are the foundations of humor. Moreover, metaphors and puns employ
the method of switching or swapping meanings, of changing the
correlations between sign and signified.

I have no conclusions to draw from these musings. I am endlessly
intrigued by how this process of forming meaning from symbolic or sign
elements, and that, as the bottom, is what writing and reading are all

I invite comments.

Michael Brady

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