Linear DXX17 is a new ideographic writing system I developed as my graduation project. 140 glyphs stand for one or several ideas and can be used to encode meaning.
I’ve been interested in hieroglyphs, secret codes and archaeologic writing since I am very little, and started researching different writing systems across human history. I started to take special interest in ideographic writing because it has a few advantages: contextual understanding can be improved, and it isn’t dependent on phonetics, which can be useful in case you can’t hear or speak.
Since I don’t speak any language that is already written in ideographics, I started to develop my own to better understand the various issues arising from ideographic writing. Testing my own signs in a contemporary environment (and a language that isn’t chinese) gave me a more hands on approach than just studying different writing systems in theory.
I started to work with vocabulary lists to narrow down which concepts are needed to express a complex level of information. After I had a list of around 500 terms I further reduced the number by assigning different meanings to the same (not yet developed) glyph: the idea „Tree“ can stand for the plant, but also for „tree-ishness“ : stability and firmness, or for „tree-like“: cylindrical, trunk-shaped. Smaller glyphs serve to distinguish between the particular meaning of a glyph in a sentence.
I then designed a glyph for each concept. I tried to find shapes that we associate with the concept, but still wanted to stay in the abstract realm of letters. This turned out to be very easy in some cases and almost impossible in others.
Linear DXX17 could be further developed as a writing system to bridge language barriers, or serve as the alien signage in the next sic-fi blockbuster. Currently however, it is still a quite primitive writing system. But it woke my interest in further researching the way we read, how writing is connected to our language, and how we absorb information as a whole. The research portion of this project is therefore as important to me as the design part, and you can read the full documentary in german language here
Linear D XX17 was first shown at the Diploma Exhibition at the Faculty of Design, University of Applied Sciences, Darmstadt in June 2017.
There will be updates on this project in the future. If you are interested in these topics please get in touch with me.