Capital letters : revealing Wellington's urban history through typographic remnants : a thesis presented in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Design, Massey University, Wellington, New Zealand
Capital Letters uses visual communication design
to forge relationships between the city and its past.
It draws on the theory of geosemiotics (Scollon
& Scollon, 2003) to position typographic remnants
found in urban spaces, in time and place.
In order to fully understand the semiotic meaning of
typographic remnants, their historical context must be
uncovered. As indexical signs, their semiotic meaning
shifts as their surroundings change.
This project examines the role that signage plays in
the authentication of local places and highlights their
importance as a form of visual cultural history. The
city is explored, specific areas are traversed and
the typographic discoveries documented. Semiotic
archaeology extracts both the individual and the
collective memory of the remnants, revealing their
narratives and historical context, allowing previously
indiscernible connections to be made.
Focussing on these connections – the clustering of
remnants and their shared indexicality – changes in
the urban fabric of the city are revealed, traces of a
continuously reshaped environment become apparent.
The remnants act as indices to previous times. They
inform of topographical changes in the urban fabric
of the city and shifts in urban functional zones.
Capital Letters uncovers a map of historical change
and provides a new way in which to discover the
city: through typographical remnants.