Peter Bella, Saying “Hello”

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By Peter Bella, Assistant Professor of Art, Graphic Design »

Peter Bella, Assistant Professor of Art, Graphic Design

“Hello!” I’m Peter Bella, I consider myself an artist, a designer, and a design educator. Currently I’m an Assistant Professor of Art, with a focus in Graphic Design. I have taught a variety of design curriculum ranging from branding and advertising to typography as well as packaging to graphic design history. Beyond my academic career I have accrued more than twenty years as a professional designer with design experience encompassing public relations, advertising, marketing, publications design, in-house design, and freelance design.

I strongly believe the humanistic revolution is upon us. Meaning, I identify the emergence of the handmade movement as it has slowly gained popularity over the last decade. It has been fueled by designers, clients, and customers returning to the roots of craft. This humanistic revolution promotes aesthetics that values the spirit of human touch and human design with a fusion of phenomenology and experiential purpose at its core — for clarity, phenomenology focuses on sensory qualities from the first-person point of view (such as seeing, hearing, etc.) in the pursuit of meaning. These experiences empower and give value to human connections.

I have recently become a member of People of Print through embodying design thinking and the human experience within visual communication design with a 3D printed movable type I’ve named Fusion800.

Fusion800 3D printed movable type block


Fusion800 embodies the responsibilities it carries within society focusing on how it personifies the humanistic aesthetic, the human experience, and the virtues and obligation design carries within society. My aspirations are to expose audiences to new ideas and perspectives within design and typography while questioning established conventions in a historical, technological, social, and cultural context. In doing so, I hope to suggest opportunities for emergent practices within design and typography through its application and relation to these principles.

Fusion800 has four variances; regular, inline, outline, and shadow. Each variance can be assembled in any combination. Here all for variances are unified.


Most recently I have completed the exhibition and book ‘From It to Thou; being conscious of the sacred in nature.’ This was a collaborative project with Jim Gabbard, Lecturer of Photography at Purdue University at Fort Wayne IN. The discussions throughout the book included ideas and thoughts from all the major religions and beliefs from cultures all over the world. When approaching this body of work I spent countless hours contemplating my choice of typographic application. It didn’t take long for me to decide the typographic application must be analog and have reverence to Native America languages. The type application was laser cut wood type representing the “It” in the “From It to Thou” theme. While the hand scribed ruling pen script of Sequoyah represents the “Thou.”

Page from the book, From It to Thou.


‘Grimm & Grotesk: a theoretical connotation of the grotesque,’ suggests an expressive bond of the bizarre between the written word and the typographic manifestation. Likewise, ‘Humanistic Experiential Methodologies as Design Mechanism’ suggests a universal synthesis connecting humanism and societal influences through design. These works combine the written word from Grimms’ Fairy Tales and a photographic translation of the story. Through the manipulation of the words within the fairy tale the viewer can be mislead and only upon investigation can the true story be discovered.

Grimm & Grotesk, Mother Holle


My recent creative endeavor, ‘Typology of Typography: typographic communication in sculptural form,’ was exhibited at UCA Downtown in Conway AR and Chicago IL. This work focuses on the 3-dimensionality of letterforms and investigates true dimensionality beyond 2D with extrusion to suggest depth. Through this research I suggests there is an un-attachable universal synthesis connecting societal influences to the design and application of typography in visual communication presenting an ideology that typographic form can exist, and more importantly communicate, in three-dimensional space. Thus, signifying typography can be articulated and understood as sculptural form.

Bellafonita (Beautiful Depth), type design in artistic application.


When it comes to the relationship between form and content in current communication design perspectives, I strongly feel that we once lived in a world where communication design was about the form of communication — meaning, what form does it take? — as in form follows function. As that is still true; I also feel it has become much more. In communication design the designer needs to consider not only the form and the content, but also the context in which we are designing. Factors such as integrating innovation, the experience, socioeconomics, psychographics, etc. are just as meaningful — if not more than — as typography, composition, structure, imagery, color, and so on within design. Simply, design can be a purposeful creation of value in a society.

I am looking forward to the opportunities with UCA and the future of the Art department within the College of Fine Art and Communications. Thank you for welcoming me.