The Typographic Hub

Graphic DNA

Graphic DNA is the subject of GERALDINE MARSHALL's PhD Research Project, which aims to develop and implement a systematic taxonomy to record environmental lettering; the result of which will help understand acity’s social, cultural, ethnic and historical visual identity.


This thesis aims to explore a city’s social, cultural and commercial development through an analysis of lettering on buildings using the method of taxonomy. To enable this discussion the thesis will:

 1 - Create a method of taxonomy that will capture the visual order, style and context of lettering in the environment.

 2 - Use the taxonomy to produce a systematic description of environmental lettering, which will enable an informed discussion based on the historical, social, cultural and commercial development rather than simply aesthetics.

3 - Apply taxonomy to the classification of lettering in order to advance earlier studies of environmental lettering. 

4 - Establish a more flexible definition of lettering styles and their usage in the 21st century. 

To contact Geraldine Marshall: