This evening I had a language wondering prompted by something really quite silly: Llama Font. This is a font composed of images of llamas.
The ‘What?’ section got me thinking that while different fonts (such as Times New Roman or Comic Sans) can certainly produce different connotations, is a font composed of images of an identifiable thing doing something slightly more?
I’m really skimming over semiotic theory here, but my thought process has gone something like this: with the exception of onomatopoeia, the form of a word, such as the written word ‘cat’, does not have any implicit meaning itself. (This can be seen in how different languages often have different forms of a word to refer to the same concept, so where an English speaking person would write ‘cat’ it would be written as ‘chat’ in French and ‘Katze’ in German. However the written words ‘cat’/’chat’/’Katze’ all represent a concept and a referent of a small, feline creature to the speakers of those languages. The combination of letters c-a-t do not implicitly mean a feline creature, but for English speakers the combined letters c-a-t represent our concept of a feline creature.)
However what if the graphological/written form of a word did represent something? And that something was llamas?
Like the word ‘cat’ can represent the concept of a cat, the image of a llama can represent the concept of a llama. So when we see ‘cat’ written in Llama font, we are having the concept of llama-ness coming from the images forming the letters as well as cat-ness from what the combination of letters c-a-t means to us.
Do having letters composed of depictions of llamas mix the concept of llama-ness into our concept of cat-ness if we read the word ‘cat’ in Llama Font in this instance? Would it feel more natural for us to read the word ‘llama’ written in Llama Font than to read ‘cat’ written in Llama Font? While all fonts connote something (such as seriousness or playfulness) which I think Llama Font does too; I feel that because of the concept of llama-ness generated by the images, the font adds more to the word it’s representing than just a connotation of silliness.
It’s quite disgraceful how much semiotic theory I’ve ignored here and these are most definitely not fully formed musings (plus Llama Font isn’t exactly something I should be wasting my thoughts on!), so I shall just to end with a warning that while you should really go and type ‘cat’ in Llama Font, please do not to waste as much time with Llama Font as me!