Scratching the Surface

This book explores the interconnective relationship between humans and bacteria. Bacteria are often associated with infection or uncleanliness; since the spread of covid-19, people have a more heightened awareness and even a fear of the bacteria than ever before. It has now become a familiar sight to see people in public opening doors with their elbows, refraining from touching surfaces, and most commonly; the continuous, thorough act of sanitisation. Whilst it is essential to be aware of the dangers of certain bacteria cultures, I also feel strongly that it is important to validate our more commonly peaceful relationship with bacteria, as the reality is that over 99% of bacteria on this earth are completely harmless to humans.

Through looking at some of the microbial cultures that can be found on common household surfaces, I soon realised that I had been afraid of bacteria before, because I couldn’t see it; I therefore wanted to make these cultures visible to myself and to the readers. I ‘grew’ the bacteria into letterforms to create a typeface so that each surface could clearly be linked back to its corresponding petri dish. I chose to ‘grow’ the bacteria into a typeface as the alphabet is commonly used and easily recognised by people.

After reading this book my hope is that each person will have a more positive understanding of bacteria whilst also realising how common and natural our relationship with it really is. 

See full digital book here