The Prompt

The prototype was completed as part of a workshop to manipulate typographic form using alternative tools and methods available to typeface designers, with the aim of constructing a “linguistic monument” using the language of a specific workforce.

The Message

Speaking to the trade of sailors, the prototyped installation was designed to wish good luck to sailors leaving for sea. It was created using water, photography, and digital manipulation. The final piece is a projected light installation of the phrase “fair winds and following seas.”

The Team

This work was a collaborative piece with Sarah Gibbons, completed during a Linguistic Monuments Workshop under the direction of Will Hill and Denise Gonzales Crisp at the North Carolina State University College of Design.


Explore: The project started with research into specific groups of people with their own linguistic markers. Once we picked a specific group, we ideated around ways to manipulate typography to communicate our message.

Linguistic Research | Typographic Exploration | Prototype


Linguistic Research

We selected the trade of sailors for our workshop. We began by researching the linguistic elements that make up the way that sailors talk to each other. This could be a word, a phrase, or a speech pattern. "Fair winds" and "following seas" originated as two separate phrases, but over time have merged to become one nautical phrase of good luck, a blessing used as something departs on a voyage. The entire phrase is often used in nautical ceremonies, such as the commissioning ceremony of a ship.

Typographic Exploration

Since we were working with a monument to sailors, it only made sense to do something with water and typography. After exploring for a little while, we decided to use printed type, water, photography, and digital manipulation to craft our message. 


The prototype was created by printing out parts of the phrase, and placing them under a dish filled with water. We disturbed the surface of the water and captured photographs, which we then manipulated using a variety of digital tools.


Retrospective: Reflecting on every project and experience reveals my own successes and failures.

This project was an interesting exploration in considering users in a different context. There's a different type of user-centricity that is required when you are designing a monument for a group of people versus designing a tool for them to use, such as an app or software.

This project also gave me insight into the type of working relationship I would like to cultivate with team members. Sarah and I were able to work well together, building off one another's ideas until we arrived at a truly collaboratively created solution. We were able to execute on a successful idea in a very short amount of time. For me, the best projects come about when team members are able to work well together and arrive at a solution that would have been impossible to achieve individually.