Digital Writing:

Z Letterform Presentation in Flash
By: Scott Reed

The goal of this rather interesting project is to present the letter Z. Using the Flash interface, the goal is to present a digital artifact that attempts to articulate the historical and orthographic properties of the letter.

For Z, a historically under-appreciated and marginalized letter, I have chosen to design my presentation around the milieu of another marginal and under-appreciated form: that of the action-hero comic book. The presentation adapts numerous design elements, from stylized text-blocks to color schemes to a certain narrative posturing, to emphasize my stance on the letter itself: a zany letter that suggests a "turn away from the ordinary." For added effect, I have added a variety of comical and cartoony sounds, re-emphasizing the "zaniness" of the letterform itself and bolstering the design concept.

From a technical standpoint, the presentation has largely focused on using the Flash interface as a narrative device.  Rather like pages in a comic book, I conceived the design as a series of modular "scenes" as part of a total, serialized narrative.  I further enhanced the modularity of the project by working with a fundamental set of symbols, to provide a familiar visual base for the viewer.

My difficulties have stemmed primarily from an unfamiliarity with the Flash interface, and my slow pace at learning the ActionScript programming language which undergirds it.  I have had to combat a very large file size, thanks largely to the length of the movie, and the various multimedia elements (sound and imported graphics) used to support it.  To help combat the problem, I have tried to implement a Preloader scene, which will hopefully help to offset what is sure to be a long loading time.  Still, despite these technical issues, I regard the project as successful in its attempt to meld an awarness of the material properties of the letterform, with a control of and awareness of the technical possibilities inherent in the Flash interface.

View the completed movie here (in HTML/SWF format)

Credits:

All images, animations, texts, etc. herein are Copyrighted, Scott Reed, 2002.
The only exceptions are:

Twilight Zone image courtesy of THE TWILIGHT ZONE HOME PAGE,<http://www.geocities.co.jp/ Technopolis/3045/>
Dragonball Z image courtesy of  DARK STAR SCI-FI & FANTASY STORE, <http://darkstar-sifi.co.uk/ figures.htm>
The Legend of Zelda image courtesy of RPGgamer,  <http://www.rpggamer.com/games/zelda/z5/z5.html>