Project 5 was by far the most stressful and demanding project of the semester, despite how short it was. It was also the most rewarding, however. My assigned partner was Arielle, which I was happy about since I knew she was a hard worker and good designer. The Kerning Game was a fun and useful exercise, and I actually went back and replayed it to see if my score would improve, which it did. Part 1 was fairly simple and easy, but still effective. The second part of the assignment is what got stressful, though. I enjoyed writing haikus, as writing and poetry is something I’ve always enjoyed and been fairly good at. What was not enjoyable, though, was cutting letters from foamcore with a knife and no cutting board. We chose to set our letters in Futura, as it’s simple and a nice font. When I set out to cut, though, I underestimated how difficult it would be, and how time consuming. A collection 10+ hours were spent cutting out half the letters of the haiku.
However, when the haiku was installed in the hall, it all became worth it. Arielle had the idea to hide the haiku in a corner and wrap it around the wall, in line with the contents of the haiku itself. When finished, it looks really good, and based from the critique, I could tell others agreed. Since then I’ve seen many people looking at it, and I even had a friend of mine post a picture of it online because she liked it so much, without even having known it was my project. Hopefully it’ll be able to stay where it is for others to enjoy for some time.
Project 4 was the most challenging project for me. I’m not sure if it was just the challenging of creating a new typeface with nothing but squares and circles, or conveying the right words through it, but something about it just didn’t work well with me. I began by exploring my chosen connotations of my words. However, when I started to design my typeface, I didn’t initially consider the connotations while designing the letterforms. I essentially created a typeface, and then edited it to fit my needs. I think this is what caused the most problems for me in the end. I should have based the designs around the connotations and not edited based off of them.
That being said, Project 4 still taught me important lessons in working in a grid, as well as continuing the lesson of what letters can be. The critique was definitely the most painful one for me. My craft was definitely not where it should’ve been, and placing mine next to Tyler’s allowed people to point out details and shortcomings. I did appreciate, however, when people began to point out that mine focused on different connotations than Tyler’s did, because I didn’t want there to be two of the same ideas up there. Nevertheless, this was still my weakest project.
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1. Horizontal/Vertical Scaling
2. Font Works at Large Scale but not Small Scale
3. Minimal Size Contrast/No Emphasis
4. Uneven Leading Between Rows of Capital and Lowercase Letters Because of Descenders
5. Pseudo Small Caps
6. Single Family Mixes With Similar Weights
7. Multiple Family Mixes With No Counterpoint
8. Quotation Marks Creating Space/Not Hanging
9. Tightly Tracked Text
10. Poorly Shaped Text Block
11. Holes in Text Block
12. Ragged Right Edge
13. Ragged Left Edge
14. Stacked Lowercase
15. Too Many Signals/Indents and Spaces Between Paragraphs
16. Too Many Signals/Too Many Changes in Style
17. Big Rules and Boxes in Data Tables
18. Two Hyphens in Place of Em Dash
19. Hyphen Between Numbers
20. En Dash in Hyphenated Word
21. Prime Marks Instead of Quotes
22. Two Spaces After Sentences
Project 3 focused on developing a fictional letterform. However, the catch was that it must be designed to fit within a certain type family of our choosing. In my case, I chose modern fonts, focusing on integrating my letter into the typeface Didot. Being a modernist font, it has high contrast in stroke length, which I highly enjoy. I began by sketching letters from the typeface by hand with a 2H pencil, and then began to sketch out some thumbnails to get the ideas flowing. Moving into the digital realm, I found it very helpful to create a font family showing of Didot. After doing so, I began to investigate portions of characters that I liked, cutting off chunks and placing them together like some sort of mad typographical scientist. I liked the idea of placing a bowl in the descender, as there is no other letter in the Latin alphabet that features that characteristic. From here I began to investigate a character that resembled a music note (a basic quarter note, to be specific). I came up with two variations — one with a shoulder and one without. There was one area that gave me trouble, however. I had a hard time getting a smooth transition from the stem of the descender into the bowl of the descender. Eventually, this was resolved, and all that was left to do was to name the letter. I dubbed it “Ray”, pronounced “ra”. The critique yielded positive results, as my form was well-received.
In all, this project helped open my eyes to a number of things. First of these things was developing a keen eye when examining the micro-details of individual characters in a typeface. Each font has such small differences that make them completely unique from one another. Beyond this, though, it made me realize how difficult it is to create a new letter in an alphabet that we see and know so completely for our entire lives, and to make it seem convincing and not out of place. The letter cannot be examined by itself but must be seen holistically with the entirety of the alphabet in order to decide if the letterform could actually be a possible addition to it.