Exploring vernacular type in Hanoi

Session 4

Friday, 1 October 2021

8:00 PM CST – 8:30 PM CST



  • English

I lived in Hanoi, Vietnam from 2016–2020, and during this time the urban landscape drastically changed, as much of the city’s vernacular signage was taken over by a bland and uniform version of corporate advertising. I began to photograph some of Hanoi’s distinctive hand-lettered signs and typography as a means of documenting this remarkable vernacular type before it disappears. In this talk I will bring you on a journey through the streets of Hanoi, using these images as a guide. Join me for a taste of the authentic local typographic flavor of Hanoi.

  • Elisabeth Kvernen

    United States

    Elisabeth Kvernen is a graphic designer and assistant professor currently teaching at the School of Media Arts & Design at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia. Her design clients range from small businesses to non-profit organizations, universities, and cultural institutions such as the Smithsonian Institution, the Library of Congress, the Louvre Museum, the New York Public Library, and the Kennedy Center.

    Elisabeth grew up a global citizen, living in Ethiopia, Nepal, India, and the United States. As an adult, she has lived in Syria and Vietnam and has spent extended time in the Netherlands, Thailand, Lebanon, and Turkey. These international experiences continue to shape her perspective and approach to communications and design. Her M.F.A. thesis project focused on Arabic, Ottoman, and Persian calligraphy: http://calligraphyqalam.com.

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