Looking between the letters… James Corazzo

James Carazzo is a graphic designer, who graduated for the MA Graphic Design course at UCLAN last year.

‘A Graphic Design…ish Lecture’


‘The Secret History of Nothing’

James took a different approach to the lecture, to the other guest speakers. He spoke alot about what he learnt and how he learnt it, rather than what he did. He showed us a clip of the film Helvertica of Rick Poynor, who spoke about typography within a city. He showed us to look more carefully at the letters and words around us and how these can sometimes be hiding a hidden message. One of the examples he showed us, was of the FedEx logo, which if you look closely enough you can see an arrow. He said to look and wince at letters and words, look at the spaces between these letters, that nothing is something. Another was the old logo for Saudi airlines, with this the typeface created an unusual space between the S and the A created a crucifix shape.




 James spoke about not only Graphic designers considering the space, but also related to games design, interior design, ceramics and architecture. One example of this within an architecture environment is the work of Rachel Whiteread’s ‘house.’ This used to be an exceptional end of terrace Victorian property in the east end of London. She filled the inside space of the house with liquid concrete and then stripped the mould, this being the walls, windows, doors and roof. This left an amazing sculpture of the space within a house. Another example within architecture is the work of Alejandro Aravena who design and created some social housing, Chile. The only problem was that his budget wouldn’t stretch very far and he therefore decided to build everyone half a house. In the half he did build, he placed all the amenities and then left the other half as just an empty outdoor space. This allowed people to build and design the other half of their home when they required.

Another example of looking at space is from Dominic Wilcox who likes to take away the negative space, ‘nothing is an element of nothing itself.’ Examples of where he has applied this theory is with his designs for a bed and a bird cage that could only fit one bird.

Another way of looking at space is in regards of the white space often left on a piece of paper. So what do you think of when you look at a piece of white space? I thought open, clear, empty, nothing, clean and bright. But white space is often associated with value and quality. If you look at the packaging perfume bottles come in, usually the higher the price the more space is left.

But emptiness can also be associated with music; one of the artists that James spoke about is John Cage. ‘We have eyes as well as ears , and it is our business while we are alive to use them,’ John Cage. So with this in mind Cage developed 4’33” which is a three movement composition, and it that whole time there is no music. It was developing to make the person who thinks they are listening to the music, actually just turn their ears on and listen to the sounds around them.

At the end of the presentation, James gave us a quick slide show of the MA work he completed and when you look at this work and reflect on the previous presentation you could see the connection. James started his MA not knowing really what to do, but started looking at empty waiting rooms (i.e the space). He then started to look at books in the library for inspiration and found taht most books in the sociology area of the library had a abstract front cover, but then he started wondering why? Is it because a designer would never know what to put on the front of these books? His researching and mind set then led him to looking at margins within books, so he started playing around with his own margins in life, creating them on photographs and changing margins within books. He then began looking at book margins and created a book where in the margin another story was being told.

One of the quotes within his MA presentation was ‘You start off by doing what you think you want to do and you end up doing what you really want to do.’ I personally really like that quote and can actually reflect on that within my own MA practice.

The main thing I have taken from this lecture is the way I look at white spaces and the spaces between letters, and I hope you too think the same.

 Can you look between the letters?

One Response to “Looking between the letters… James Corazzo”
  1. Thank you for the work you have done into the post, this helps clear up some questions I had.

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