Plagues throughout history had a profound impact on the health and population of society and their effects are long lasting. At the time, these plagues created a series of religious, social and economic upheavals which had a profound effect on the course of history. However, the subsequent literary developments resulting from the deadly diseases can still be experienced today. If you find yourself in quarantine, saying bless you, or singing ring-a-ring-a rosie, you will have the plague to thank.
While the plague brought death and destruction with each wave, it also gave life to language. Spread the Word is an interactive print which typographically presents the etymology of several words, phrases and songs all used today which emerged from a plague throughout history. It provides both the historical origins of each item, alongside examples of its contemporary use, in order to inform the reader of the true meaning of these words and phrases they may use in their everyday language.
Spread the Word is a fold-out poster which spreads outwards from the centre to reveal different language elements which originated from the plague. This literal spreading of the poster represents the spreading of the plague and the resulting spread of language.
To portray the notion of literature and language, Spread the Word incorporates elements of traditional dictionary design. This work employs phonetic explanations of pronunciation, the type of word, phrase or song, the meaning of each item, and an example of each item in context, creating the link to etymology and language.
The use of the purple texture in this piece is indicative of the grungy, dirty and sickening nature of the plague. It is derived from the buboes which presented themselves on the bodies of the plagues’ victims, and creates an appropriate atmosphere throughout the work.
The images incorporated in Spread the Word also emphasize the link to the plagues, presenting drawings of rats, plague-ridden cities, victims of the plagues and the Grim Reaper.
Throughout this piece, the serif and sans-serif typefaces are juxtapositioned as a typographical representation of both the historical origins of each literary item and its contemporary use.
The completed piece can be presented in the folded format, or as a poster on either side.
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