The Machine Stops Typographic Depiction


This was a typographic response to E. M Foster's short story-  'The Machine Stops'. The text has 12,300 words, all of which had to be used in the response. The context of the story had to be carefully considered in all design decisions as well as the key themes, characters, narrative and tone of voice. 

After reading the story, I began to think about type hierarchy, colour, font and point size. Upon analysing the text, the story was separated into three main parts, all of which carried very different tones. This gave me the idea of creating a set of A3 posters that convey the tone of each chapter. As all of the words needed to be used, it was obvious that the text would have to be very small. I then had the idea of making the posters interactive, allowing the user to delve deeper into the story. I introduced the idea of using a jewellers loupe in order to read the text. 



Conceptual Research

Print Production

Idea Generation

Visual Communication

Graphic Storytelling

I then created a typeface that represented the sci-fi environment and key themes within the story itself. With the human population unable to live on the surface of the Earth, all needs of the population are managed by an omnipotent machine, a very isolated way of life. Each character inhabits a hexagonal structured cell. I then used this information to generate a font that conveyed the idea of the letters being closed in and separated, much like the characters in the story.  In terms of the actual storyline, each chapter seems to convey  disaster that deteriorates quite aggressively. It is clear that the ending will not be a happy one and therefore, I decided to represent this through the layout and legibility of the text on each poster. The first poster is very clear and structured, the second is where the text begins to become illegible and then the third is almost completely illegible.