MFA Graduate Research Project | Rebekah Hanover Pettit, Lingua Franca

MFA Graduate Research Project | Rebekah Hanover Pettit, Lingua Franca

After an early career in audio visual production, Rebekah returned to school for design. After a successful career change and several years in professional practice, she decided to pursue a MFA in order to explore new technology and techniques and further her practice. The perpetual learner, she is often attempting something overly ambitious and utterly new.

When not designing (or learning about design or dabbling with technology), she is busy experimenting in her garden, creating and playing with her young daughter, or rediscovering outdoor adventures with her family—usually while drinking coffee from a delightfully odd handcrafted mug.

There are approximately 7,000 languages spoken in the world today. Yet only 12 languages in 7 scripts account for 2/3rds of the world’s population. Nearly ⅓ of the world’s languages have less than 1,000 speakers, and every 2 weeks, a language goes dormant. It has been predicted that as many as 90% of all languages spoken today will be gone by the end of the century.

We are not here by accident.

Our violent history of colonialism and the politics and economics of power have crippled language diversity. The rise of modern technology further complicates our language landscape by hindering and helping preservation and revitalization efforts.

Lingua Franca is an interactive exhibit exploring our participation in systems that marginalize minority languages and major efforts to revitalize them.

More Work by Rebekah

It’s Complicated:

It’s Complicated is for the history enthusiast and scientifically curious. It is an approachable, illustrative, and light exploration of topics such as the HaberBosch process of creating synthetic nitrogen. It pulls back some of the layers of history and legacy in order to help us face our complex relationship to a world of our own making—for better and for worse.


Ultra Spec:

Ultra Spec is a planning and community app for people who love runners. The average finish time for a marathon is more than 4 hours. While only 1% of the US population runs a marathon, that 1% has multiple family and friends who are (willingly or not) along for the run. Ultra Spec helps those family and friends create a plan to pass the time until their runner crosses the finish line.

Introduction to Multicultural Typography:

Introduction to Multicultural Typography is a curriculum and activities for teaching world scripts to design students. It focuses on the importance of developing cultural awareness for practicing designers and provides instruction in the identification of scripts, the technical challenges of their digital design, and basic typesetting skills.