James Cook

BA Honors | Visual Communication Design


As a double major in the Program of Liberal Studies (PLS) and Visual Communication Design (VCD), I often look for overlaps between the Great Books and Design. Both programs require critical thinking and problem solving, but also provide the opportunity for creativity and great conversation. In addition to the reading, writing, and graphic art I do for my majors, I enjoy spending time oil painting, baking, and knitting.


This project is motivated by the increasing degrees of separation between author and creation that have been formed by the depersonalization of writing via word processor and digital typefaces. For my thesis, I used the handwriting of the Romantic poet John Keats as the foundation and inspiration to create an original digital typeface. I was prompted to embark on an exploration of contemporary and historical typefaces, the life, work, and influences of Keats, including his original manuscripts, and the tenuous relationship of handwriting and type. My research and experience designing a typeface proved to be a rewarding challenge, and although this project has reached its deadline, it is certainly not finished. There are a number of aspects that I intend to continue to expand, including designing bold and italic weights, numerals, punctuation, and potentially even ligatures and glyphs. Indeed, I feel as though I have barely scratched the surface of the vastness of the field of type design. Designing Keats has been an eye-opening experience and has inspired countless questions.