Words & Pictures


Words & Pictures

illustration, print design

During the semester before senior thesis, design students collaborate on a themed exhibition at MICA. For the class of 2016, it began with a reading exercise. Each student read an essay from Nicholson Baker's The Way the World Works, identified a topic for inquiry then posed a question to be answered through visual exploration. Our show was called Form Follows Fiction.

With translation as my topic, I asked, "What is the difference between words and pictures?" then reinterpreted a handful of Chinese words into images, resulting in a magnet variation of rebuses.


To start: Chinese words are defined by the combination of characters. And characters, prior to being combined with one another to form words, each possess an individual definition. In the poster, the word family is the combination of the characters home and people.

By redefining the word family by its characters' definitions, family looks something like "home people."


I applied that thinking to words chosen for their formal intrigue. By changing a written language to moveable magnets, effectively reversing the history of the language, terms like "interpretation" and "play" present themselves as likely candidates of the difference between words and pictures.

Below is my process cube documenting my research, thinking and final display.