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Scots Language Centre Centre for the Scots Leid

The Face of Doric

10th November 2014

Not too long ago an exciting project combined the North East dialect of Scots, popularly known as the Doric, with typeface images. Tracy Allanson-Smith and Leo Broadley, who are both lecturers in Graphic Design at the University of Derby in England, established the LetterLab which is an online journal for articles, image creation and interviews intended to stimulate and broaden our understanding of letterforms and how they might relate to oral language. Tracy wanted to show how letterforms might be used to express accent, intonation and words and so she visited North East Scotland. Among those interviewed were The Reading Bus, Elphinstone Institute and Buchan Heritage Trust, along with JD McClure, Sheena Blackhall and Robbie Shepherd. But, most importantly, Tracy visited schools at Walker Road in Torry, Aberdeen, and at Alford, in order to understand the intonation patterns among school children and how they differed between rural (Alford) and urban (Torry). Indeed, strictly speaking the word Doric refers to rural speech. In one of the printed sheets produced a mossy green was used for the Doric typeface in order to reflect “...the rich countryside in Aberdeenshire.” If you would like to learn more about this project please visit http://www.theletterlab.com/ .