Term that means representing a word as meaning?

Hi there, I’m trying desperately to remember the one term that means representing a word as it’s meaning eg “TALL” would be written in tall skinny font, “circular” in a circle, or " S T R E T C H E D " like so (not phonetic or onomatopoeic). Any help would calm my brain down :slight_smile:

Are you sure you aren’t thinking of Onomatopoeia?

I know what you are talking about, but that’s the only word I know to describe it.

This guy did a bunch of posters like you are referring to but no particular name for it other than word art. That could mean anything :wink:

What you’re describing seems like the visual equivalent of onomatopoeia, but I know of no word that describes it. If there’s not one, there should be.

I can’t think of a single word, but are you thinking of “word visualization”? I’ve seen what you and others have mentioned under that heading before.

It’s a bit different though - words like ‘oomph’, ‘buzz’, ‘pop’ etc. are onomatopoeia.

But words that are forced into looking like they sound - that’s very different.

What we’re talking about here is something along the same lines as hyroglyphics.

When we read we visually depict the words in our heads, and we hear the words in our heads. The better we get at reading the better we are at visualising the data in front of us.

In English a lot of glyphs are embedded right in front of us, and the use of embed was a fluke here but:
bed
is a visual word that looks like a bed.

Much like
eYes

(funny story about the word ‘eyes’ we had in a brochure before - the client was adamant that we remove all the e’s before the word yes throughout the brochure - it took a while to gently tell them the word was eyes, not e yes - another funny way the brain deciphers words.)

Where onomatopoeia is a word that sounds like it is visually.
Forcing words into the shape to look like how they sound is different.

Running wouldn’t be onomatopoeia - but you can visually create this word.
running

This probably means there’s an opportunity here for neologism.

How about phonomatopoeia?

Hi All,
Thanks so much for responding… a designer I worked with in my first job had mentioned the phrase I can’t think of so maybe I misunderstood. I feel much better now knowing the consensus is that there is no word so I can at least stop thinking about it! :slight_smile: Thanks for your thoughts. Word Art article is great - another term for that I’ve come across is illustrative text. Word Art and Word Visualization might be the closest thing to describe the practice. Or maybe we’ll be calling it “phonomatopoeia” before we know it :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:

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In Chinese you refer to words which basically depict what they represent as “pictographic characters”, e.g. 木 (mù; wood or “tree”), 火 (huǒ; fire), 口 (kǒu; mouth) and 山 (shān; mountain). By the same token, I would call what you are pondering about “pictographic type”. However, I think “literal type” also has a nice ring to it.

:point_up: :nerd_face:

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