Masters Thesis


Pratt Institute


Art Director, Graphic Designer, Researcher, Interviewer, Copy Writer, Photo Editor, Photographer


To investigate people's perceptions of typefaces

Photographic Survey Book

For my graduate thesis I created a 228 page photobook from the photographs and interviews of 72 people on the street. I self-published through and then modified it with a tee-shirt cover and 14 die-cut pages pasted into the book. The graphic design throughout the book varies depending on the individual being interviewed.

Cover and Key

View all participants at the Individuali-Tee Wordpress site.

Graduate Thesis: Individuali-Tee

I hypothesized that because a tee-shirt is a mode of personal expression that the wearer is consciously expressing something, deep and personal. I believed that wearing a specific typeface allowed a person to possess an image of their self that is directly related to the message expressed by the typeface, and therefore convey that message to the viewers around.

My thinking is if a designer uses a specific typeface to enhance the message of a design, might it be true also that a person will use a specific typeface—on a tee-shirt—to convey a specific aspect of their own personality. I needed to find out what people thought, not what I thought. Therefore, I needed to ask the people directly.

For two weeks at the end of the summer, I took 3 questions and went to 8 New York City locations with my camera and a digital voice recorder and asked people if they would be part of my thesis survey. After asking about 200 people, I ended with 72 participants who agreed to the terms I set forth.

Grid of photos

Three questions I asked people:

  • Does this tee-shirt express who you are as a person?
  • Could you give me 3 words to describe the font itself? I also questioned them about their self-image based on these words
  • Are you more of an analytical person or a creative person?

These questions allowed me to make broad-stroke deconstruction of the types of people within the study and to see if there were patterns in how they viewed typefaces or in how they verbally expressed themselves.

What I ultimately found was that people tended to express how they viewed themselves in a similar manner as how they describe the typefaces they were wearing. The thesis book contains the results of that survey.

Logo and Book Jacket

I had the logo silkscreened onto a tee-shirt which I then had re-sewn for the book jacket.

Detail of book

Detail of sewing

Sleave detail

Diecut Pages

The diecut page at the beginning of each of the 14 chapters shows the specific people who are within that category when the Diecut Keycard is inserted, as seen below.

Diecut Divider page

Grid System

I designed the spreads utilizing a grid system based on the 6x12 matrix of the Diecut Keycard, which guides the systematic conformity throughout the entire book while allowing layout variations.

Page 92 Page 46 Page 42

Multiple Page Spreads

While the graphics I designed for each individuals tee-shirt somehow relates to the tee-shirt itself, I also made multiple page spreads to add spontaneity and respite to the flow of the book.

Page 21 Page 22
Page 37 Page 38
Page 104 Page 105
Page 34 Page 35

Typeface Profiles

Some of the tee-shirts had typefaces which had contemporary or historical significance and were augmented with a typeface-profile. For example: the "Mind the Gap" tee-shirt (below) has Johnston's Underground typeface. The following spread contained a spread detailing the typeface.

Underground typeface

Seen here is the Johnston Underground profile which shows the typeface and explains about it.

Because Gill Sans may be confused with Johnston's Underground, there is a comparison between distinctive letters of each typeface.

Johnston typeface

Each Typeface Profile is set apart from the rest of the book through different old paper backgrounds and the texturized B&W photographs of the type's designer.

Arno typeface Bodoni typeface

A few selected spreads

page 7 Page 8 Page 26 Page 28 Page 58 Page 60