As part of my research, I’d like to send people out to conduct an area survey of sorts where they take photos of typography in the E17 postcode that interest them. As a break from the screen, I decided to conduct an area survey to address the tasks I would ask participants to do and what questions might come up.
In the E17 postcode there are three commercial hubs: the famous high street that is the longest in Europe, Wood Street and the Village. On a run last night, I ran along Wood Street and would like to go back, but decided to go to the Village today. For an Area Survey, I don’t expect participants to cover these areas, but thought that people would be drawn to those areas and where the typography would be intended to lure people/customers in.
I set myself a few rules:
- The walk would take about an hour
- I would take photos on my phone to get the location
- I would track my walk on Strava to get a map of where I went
- I would take photos as I would like my participants to do so
- I would have an open mind
- I would stay in public access areas
- I would cover Walthamstow Village and the streets around, as my feet took me.
At first I wanted to take photos of everything, to record every piece of type. This was not possible, and with lots of people around I felt self-conscious and intrusive. I started to edit, and pick what I thought was interesting, thus following my own bias. On my own, I can never portray a nuanced account of typography in Walthamstow and participants from other backgrounds are essential to see what I overlook.
An hour is about right to capture a wide range of typography in about two miles without being too physically taxing or time-consuming. The area and demographics change significantly between streets and this can be captured in this hour.
I’d like the participants to take as many photos as they can, before choosing their favourite five, like our geo-type challenge. This means that they are exerting their insight and curatorial bias and many things can be told from that.
Although I can’t read other scripts apart from Latin, I’d like participants to feel free to record all and any scripts they find.
Once they have submitted photos, I would like them to answer some questions, some of which I have drafted below:
Questions for After
Looking at your photos, did you start to favour certain types of typography? Can you guess why that might have been?
Did you stick to a rough route, or did you let yourself wander?
What drew you off your expected route?
Did you find the typography you were expecting?
What surprised you?
What do you think the typography tells you about the area you surveyed?
What would you like to see more of?