Invited by Graduate School, Shanghai Normal University, China

About Typo-Image

Texts are always parts of other texts; there is never a pure text.

Albert Young Choi developed ‘Typo-Image’ methodology, an integration between typography and image utilizing “text is always part of different text, and never pure text.” Through the ‘Typo-Image’ methodology, students learn and explore ‘Deconstruction,’ a form of reactionary analysis introduced by Jacques Derrida, a leading French philosopher in the 20th century. It includes an attempt to take apart and expose the underlying meanings, biases, and preconceptions that structure the way a text conceptualizes its relation to what it describes.

One of the things that make typography very powerful is that it can have different meanings. So, with this in mind, designers can assume that the purpose of typography is capricious and always changing, such as the fluid nature of letterforms and negative spaces. Image-like typography (Typo-Image) is highly referential, especially today when visuals deal with creativity and re-appropriation. Our society has also become more communication-oriented. Also, it has become more critical than ever to realize that typography has the potential for meaning and interpretation.

I have been teaching this design methodology, Typo-Image, to understand the semiotic messages by typography and image experiments. I continue to explore endless possibilities.

Workshop Assignment

Education Objectives

  • Learn a significant design methodology and creative process
  • Learn about constructivism in design
  • Learn to experiment typo-image, making message and styles by exploring typography and image relationships

Project Brief

Laszlo Moholy-Nagy (a Hungarian artist, designer, and educator) developed a concept of Typo-Photo, any synthesis between typography and photography, was the beginning of the central medium of graphic design.

I developed a concept of Typo-Image, an extension of Typo-Photo incorporating a semiotic theory exploring aligned messages with the visual impression and emotion, which is the methodology of visual communication design in the 21st century.

With this concept, the students will learn and explore the Deconstructivism. The development of a postmodern architecture that began in the late 1950s influenced by the theory of “Deconstruction,” which is a form of semiotic analysis that was introduced by Jacques Derrida, a leading French philosopher in the twentieth century.

The final experimental poster designs exhibited in the gallery building, where students, guests, and I evaluated and celebrated the study.


  • Your inspiration!
  • Your sensibility!
  • You are required to have basic design knowledge and skills in typography, color, image, layout, and production.
  • You must be an intermediate level for utilizing Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop, and Microsoft PowerPoint.
  • Important, your brain must be free to explore. If not, don’t worry. You will be anyway!


Philip B. Meggs, Type & Image: The Language of Graphic Design (1989). Van Nostrand Reinhold. ISBN: 9780442258467

Study Process Record

The color plotter is printing out A0-size posters designed by graduate students in Shanghai, China.

Opening reception of the exhibition

The students were wandering in the fog. But their hard work in the class, they achieved the way to the top. I am so proud to have these bright students, and I hope the best for their future. Thank you.