Wordless Internet?

Before you ask, no we haven’t gone completely mad!

If you’ve ever wanted to browse a wordless internet, you’re not alone. Yes we literally mean turning the internet into a massive picture book! Martin Grasser shares your woes (and aspirations). Coincidentally, he knows a thing or two about filling the internet with text clutter. After all, Mr Grasser is the man that re-imagined the Twitter logo, and is now on a mission to de-text the internet. An internet where words reside only as a distant memory. He is someway to succeeding with his endeavour having recently launched ‘Color Dot’ – the plug-in currently only available on Firefox but has already had over 100,000 downloads!

The Idea

In itself, the concept is fairly simple, creating a typeface that automatically converts any alphanumerical characters into coloured dots. The effect is playful, yet incredibly confusing. In many ways Grasser is forcing the consumer to consider their relationship with language – posing the question what makes us click (and tick) through the internet?

“It seems that by replacing letterforms with dots one becomes much more aware of the contexts that language operates within and the patterns it creates, and how much these things influence meaning and communication,” Martin explained when asked to comment on the project.

He describes the project as an attempt at crafting a kind of “true universal language” pointing to the fact that while it might be “hard to imagine anyone ever being able to read in Color Dot,” we have managed to get our head around various “structural conventions that have become ubiquitous across many cultures,” including username and password fields, and CAPTCHA.

Martin uses an email client as a prime example of how the visual language of the internet is something we learn and supplement our mother tongue with. “An English speaking Gmail user can go onto the South Korean Gmail site and still make sense of the many prompts,” he explains.

Where Next?

Now, not to get too serious here, but the internet isn’t always the friendliest place. Misinformation runs riot and hatred swells. All of which can make one of mankind’s greatest inventions feel like little more than a system in which hostility and irritation constantly find themselves taking centre stage.

Mark would like, in his own way, to change that. “If this project gives people a break from digital information overload for a bit that would be great,” he says. “If it contributes to more awareness of how systems and patterns influence communication that would be good too.”

Color Dot is available to use right this second. Martin says that “there are plans to release some versions with different colour palettes and shapes in the future,” which is good news for anyone looking for some digital respite from the internet’s unstoppable glut of pure, raw language.