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Project 5: Kerned Interventions.





Group 2 Members: Sara, Rebecca, Liz, Dylan, Yan.


This project is to compose a Haiku about Typography and physically install it.

I learned different styles of Chinese poem, the meaning of each character and the rhyme of the entire poem have to be considered. The number of the Chinese Characters are axact demandedPoems are usually short and compressed. I was not sure about what a Haiku was, so I had to do some research before I can actually get start this project…

here is what I got,

Haiku is a major form of Japanese verse written in 17 syllables divided into 3 lines of 5,7,5 syllables and employing highly evocative allusions and comparisons, often on the subject of nature or one of the seasons.


instead of counting number of the words, we need to count the syllables. so here is what I get,(”faith” rhymes with “words”, “dance”; the first sentence type-out-your-great-faith has similar pronounciation with “typography”)


The next step is to count the numbers of each letter that we have in our Haiku.

Photo Mar 30, 2 06 43 AM

then we need to decide our font.

because the haiku need to be presented in small caps letter, we look up fonts end with “pro”, which are the typefaces have small caps available.

Adobe Jenson Pro -old style typeface.

One of the reasons we chose jenson as our font is this old style typeface has a feeling of hand writing, but as the same time, it’s sort of standard. And we decide to use the font style-regular, so our haiku will be more legible than “style-light” on wall, while is not as heavy as “bold”(because of the word “dance”, we want our haiku to be more light and graceful.)

I create a new 18*24 document in illustrator, and type out letters in our haiku. Type out only one per letter, for example, we have 10 “T”s, but I type out only 1 “T”. Then I turn all the letter I have to outline form so that I can easily scale them up or down. One thing I need to remember is to scale all the letters, otherwise we will end up with different sizes of letters because the letters are not as text right, they are outlines, so we can not easily tell the size of the outline as we can find out the size of text.

After I scale all the letters to approximately1 foot height, I ungroup them into individual letter outline forms. Then I copy and paste the letter as I put as many letter as possible onto one single page. (need to leave 1/2 in space around the page to allow laser cutting machine to work on). I mark down the number of letters I put on the page as this.Photo Mar 30, 2 40 13 AM

Yes as shown on the number marking papers, I happened to redo the scaling and arrangement 6,7 times…

Because when I set the letters as 1 ft height, we have 16 pages total… (I wish we knew it actually does not cost as much as we thought…)

so I scale them down to 10in, 9in, 8in, and becuase I mess up the numbers, I redo it couple times… This process nearly drives me nuts…

anyway, we end up with having the 8 inches height letters on 10 separate files( one page per file). And we send the ai files to techshop…finally.


We brough 10 pieces of cardboards and cut the two wings of each board save for later to make 1-inch squares to stack on the back of our letters.

Photo Mar 30, 3 08 59 AM4-300x225

Yes in order to save some money, we cut the board to the right size 18*24 before take them to the techshop.

During the weekend before we can pick up the letters, we decide to get some spray paint and clear coating and some tape for the installation.

went to homedepot and lowes and michaels to get all the materials.

Monday I went to techshop to pick up the letters. I was worried about the price because I knew we have 3-4 more boards than the other groups because our haiku is longer(maybe 10 letters more than the other groups’). Then I became to love the techshop because we only pay $65 total for this laser cutting. Ha! Happy!

Start to glue the little squares on the back of the letters. We glue 3 pieces squares into one and glue them on the back of the letters.

While they do the gluing, we start to spray the clear coat. Two hour later, first layer vanilla-an hour later second layer metallic pearl…

1-300x225 2-300x225 3-300x225  5-300x225

DSC05203 DSC05202 DSC05201 DSC05200 DSC05199 DSC05198 DSC05197(Here I want to thank my friend mamie who took these pics.)

We finally pick the green wall on third floor which is faced to the elevator and decide to use the wood base of the wall to be our baseline of the third sentence.

Photo Mar 30, 3 47 39 AM(decide to use centered layout to balance the wall)

Find the hori-center line of the wall. Put the center letters of the sentence H and P. Put on the other letters. Need to run back and forth to see the letter space in far and do the kerning. A little adjustment makes huge difference!

After finish the third sentence. we measure the height of the white bar on the left of the wall. may be we can use the white bar as frame. Divide all three sentences equally-7”  leading space between each line.

measure 7” from the cap heigh of the last sentence, tape a string from left to right so we have a straigh baseline for the sentence. repeat the running and kerning process on the third sentence. repeat the measuring, taping, running and kerning process on the second sentence. DSC052014


DSC05206Adjusting and kerning the entire Haiku, Got our finish product. And thank our group members.

During the installation, I was super excited to find out the wall is actually facing the dance department!

Posted by Yan Wen Pan on March 21, 2013

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