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  • Writer's pictureGonca Mutaf

An innovative design dictionary: Any Type of Word

The first source we refer to when searching the definition of a word is a dictionary. No wonder the words represent new meanings in many professions, one of which is design. As Baht team, we have prepared a design dictionary that contains redefinitions of what everyday words mean in terms of design, beyond their usual meanings. We blended our own experiences with various content on this subject. The result is our new and innovative design dictionary: Any Type of Word.

Words are needed for communication and they take on new meanings in context. The world of design has a unique terminology like many other professions. On the other hand, the daily words have new meanings which they gain in design practice. The inspiration behind Any Type of Word is the new meanings of everyday words on the eyes of designers. Instead of a classical dictionary look, we have created cards which each word gains a visual identity. In each card, there are speeches of master designers about their design approach, quotes from cult design books, notes on our own experiences as a designer, and some content we find inspirational, even though it may not seem like a design related. It's not a finalized project, it is a project that we hope will not end. The good news: Our dictionary, which we aim to keep updated by adding new content, is now ready to be seen by the readers. For those of you who are curious, let's talk a little bit about the story of the project.


Before the project gained its current name, visual language and contents, it was a school project prepared by a pupil from Taşkışla (me, Gonca Mutaf) for the Design Thinking course. Although this lesson was seen as a fun lesson where students watch movies all the time, besides being fun, it was an enjoyable lesson carefully prepared by our teacher, Miray Boğa, and taught most of us that everything around us can be an inspiring piece. My dear masters ,Şener Soysal and Fatma Karslıoğlu, helped the design dictionary prepared as the output of this lesson to take its current form, from its name to its design. Together, we turned this school project into an aesthetic dictionary, and renewed some cards in the dictionary, but most importantly we made some decisions: We will not change the forms of fonts and search for the most suitable one. We will reference the name and owner of each font we use.


Typography for Typography’s Sake

While making a visual interpretation of a word, we are sure that making funny visual games based on the meaning of the word was a method of producing content that most readers would like. As designers who love typography very much, we thought that by choosing the right font and creating the desired effect on the reader with the unique stance of the fonts, it could work at least as well as the visual games I mentioned. We searched for the most appropriate font for the meaning we redefined without making changes in the forms of fonts. When we found what we were looking for, we shared this font and its owner in every word card with our readers at the end of the content.It would not be a correct behaviour to anonymously use the work of people who put their efforts in the development of the typography we say we love.

We agree that the versions on the left are also fun, but that's not what we want to explain.

Designer Touch

As I mentioned, typography has come to our rescue in creating a designer touch on our cards, which is sought in every project, where words are redefined according to their meanings in the design approach and meet relevant content. We can put the letters side by side and embody words that are made up of sounds. With a correct font and sequence, it is possible to use the power of typography to visualize the feeling and the story it carries, rather than the literal meaning of words. We aimed to use this effect of typography in our word cards and presented each word with a font and placement compatible with the new definition we created.The colours we choose are a reference to the innovative and dynamic, vibrant and ever-evolving spirit of the project.

Which One?

We've done a lot of experimentation while thinking about how to summarize this visualization method, which we think works well with word cards, during creating a project identity. Choosing a specific colour and font for the presentation of a project that includes numerous fonts and many colors together was a difficult task. The final design that succeeded from the logo sketches we produced belongs to Şener Soysal. We all loved the idea of ​​having a logo that does not get stuck in a single font, encompasses the dynamism we aim for the project and the numerous fonts that the project contains. The answer to the question of what happens with the combination of various colours, white of course became our logo colour.

So, Why These Words?

The words used in the project and that will be used in the future have different starting points. Firstly; movies, books, today's must-have social media contents and sometimes even a sign we see while walking on the road can be a source of inspiration for a designer. It is possible to find keywords from these experiences in our dictionary. Of course, there are stereotypes about design and designers, such as design products should be beautiful or designers should be creep. Most of the time, these inferences do not reflect the truth. It is possible to come across words that are interpreted differently in society, such as beautiful, strange and true in the dictionary, and differently interpreted in the eyes of the designer.

If there are points you want to add or disagree with, we are always open to a new perspective, new words and new content.

(See Also:)

Each card is linked to works that give us ideas about the issue of redefining words from a designer perspective. At the end of each card, there are talks, quotes, short documentaries, social media accounts, and movies that may interest you. They have inspired us and we hope they will open new doors for you. It can be a good alternative for those who find classical dictionaries boring.

Who Knows What Will Happen?

This project, together with its shortcomings, turned from a school project with a convincing story, to an enjoyable job with the support of masters. Our wish is to remain alive and dynamic, to develop. I hope you will be happily involved in this process. Stay tuned!


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