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Project 4: Constrained Systems.

This project is to design two typefaces that communicate connotations in consonance with the two assigned words by using modular system.

My words:

(noun) Expedition

(adjective) Graceful


First of all we need to understand the connotations of the words. So I looked up their definitions on the internet and find some images that are related to the words.

There are some definitions of expedition, images, and my brainstorm of the connotations of the worddefinitionwhat_is_an_expeditiontv_expeditionAfrica_03 IMG_0854 file-13415625599132 Annapurna_south_expedition8260896421_0a70aab253Mount_Everest_1980_winter_expedition

According to the research, my understanding of the word is a group of people go out to the environment with certain purpose, especially that of exploration, research, or war.

So it’s more about the environment. Although both travel and expedition have the meaning of starting from one point and move to somewhere else, expedition is more like to explore, with a particular purpose. Therefore, I think the environment of expedition may not necessary to be enjoyable.  People go to expedition may not for the purpose of enjoying the nature, but to explore, to discover something.

Words related to expedition in my mind are mountains, tents, group of people walking, harsh lines, height, ice, desert,travelling bag, weather, …

here is my brainstorm.tyewryreq

I continue to do some sketches based on my understanding of expedition

(because I was thinking about the edges and corners of the nature which could be one of the reason that make the procedure of expedition attractive to people, I decide to use square to be my unit shape for my sketches. Of course that does not mean people who go to expedition like to be in a harsh situation, but becuase of the uneasiness of the environment, the experience is different from travelling. Moreover, because expedition is a journey especially for exoloration, research or war, it may be with a seriousness target or has graveness scientific meaning. So I think squares could carry the idea of regulation better than circles.)

ghsfhsd gkj golh gtui



My second word- Graceful

online definitions:


graceful images

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ballet dance, flowers, cats, leaves, water, swans are graceful

we can also say  a movement is graceful

According to the research, graceful is characterized by beauty of movement, style, form.

it can be understand as beautiful, elegant

shape of a graceful object- curly, soft lines, simple, elongation, elegant

movement- slow, soft

although horses are often considered as wild animals, they are strong and run fast, the two images above showing grace of horses by having elongated forms, less harsh lines,




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After I got my sketches for graceful, I decided to switch my unit shape to circle. I want to avoid edges or harsh line for graceful.

And for the word expedition, I will make glyphs smaller  so I can still use circles to creat edges.( one thing in my mine is that, although a square has 4 right engles which make it look stronger than a circle, when a square is placed in glyphs, the top of it is a flat side, while every point of a circle is a single point, which could create narrower peak while I make it small)



Modular system:

Modular-System-by-formkind modular-system-white

some examples of using modular system on type making

Wim Crouwel is one of the most significant type designer that we can look up for to get the idea of modular system.

    • wrywt w4tyeqa twqe Scan jpjkp; hoilji;p guioo guhol ghoihi fr6uyiu] fduryj efgsd 45465 454





  • A modular typeface based on 3D forms
  • ————————-
  • More examples at:
  • —————————————————

Another different between using square or circle

becuase a square fills up a square block perfectly, the thin grids are almost invisible, so using squares as units to create letterform can have solid black shape.

circle leaves empty space at four cornors of the grid blocks, therefore, we will not get solid black shape if we use circles as units. The empty space lights up the black into gray.




try in illustrator

I first create a stem of letter p, which I will be able to use in some other letters, such as d, t, i, n, E,


then I design the bowl of p, the part I would be able to use in letter d, e, n


So I keep the consistency of the element of the typeface, my first version of Expedition

154542541this is more about the harshness of the environment, yet it’s not necessary to be included in a process of expedition.

So I switch to plan B.

It’s more about the route on the way of the expedition. People doing expedition are starting from one point to another. In my mind, route of a expedition would not be straight, which means there will be turns, twist lines. But the destination will be reached. So in this version of expedition, strokes will eventually go to one particular point, where the triangle( the particular purpose)  is.




25liked the effect when I select all the layers and move a bit, the original place of the letters


Posted by Yan Wen Pan on March 5, 2013

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