Posts from the ‘Project 3: Fictional Letterforms’ Category
In my opinion, Project 3: Fictional Letterform was one of the most fun and beneficial projects assigned during the entire class period. This project was many lessons rolled into one, most likely because it was technically 2 projects (Pt.1 was developing and finalizing the letterform itself; Pt. 2 was the creation of the poster).
- Lessons learned in Pt.1: creating the letterform:
Familiarization with typographic catergories:
This project focused alot on typographic categories or styles and the characteristics that make a typeface fall under it’s respective catergory. During this project, I became alot more familiar with the distinctions that ultimately caused my font, Perpetua, to be known as a Transitional font. I think gaining more knowledge about the typographic categories was beneficial in the sense that knowing the history of anything you are studying is crucial. Each typeface looks a certain way because it is a product of a time period. Learning why a transitional typeface has the characteristics it does and knowing the history behind it was really interesting. Paying attention to these characteristics is ultimately what lent a hand to major decision making decisions when creating my letterform.
The importance of experimenting through thumbnails & sketching:
In the beginning stages of the letter creation process, we were asked to conduct studies on the letters found in our typographic category as well as create various combinations of letterforms using bits and pieces of these letters. This was to be done on a piece of paper, by hand. This part of the project taught me that thumb-nailing is a really important part in throwing out initial ideas before moving to the computer and working digitally. By working with a pencil, I was not afraid to make mistakes, and therefore produced more ideas than I would have if I were confined to my computer screen. It also helped me to familiarize myself with the distinct characteristics of each letter by drawing up close and experiencing the letter through my own “touch” if you will. I also was able to jot down notes and work through eliminating designs I didnt like quicker.
- Lessons learned in Pt. 2: Creating the poster
The importance of hierarchy:
The poster section of the project emphasized the importance of determining a hierarchy heavily. Because the poster had so many elements that needed to be incorporated into a limited amount of space, defining a hierarchy was crucial. This part of the project taught me to choose a few “key players”, or elements that I wanted to stand out the most, and then to decide the importance of the other elements accordingly. Setting up a hierarchy is purposefully as a designer telling the viewer what to view first, second, and so on. It means keeping control over the different parts of a whole and making sure not everything is on a level field, which can lead to a chaotic and muddled design.
Testing various compositions:
Another thing the poster project taught me was to not be afraid to experiment with various compositions. In the past, I would tend to get hung up on one or two layouts, and be nervous to move elements around drastically. Professor Dan made it clear that when trying to develop a composition, it is necessary to create lots of iterations and to push yourself to make each one extremely different from the next. Through this process I learned to not get attached to a composition and to scrap it if it wasn’t working for me. Moving fast and working through lots of designs at once rather than stressing over one or 2 is a skill one needs to have when entering the field of graphic design.
Project 3: Fictional Letterforms was all about seeing letters through a designer’s eyes: as lines, curves, and shapes. Although we as designers clearly realize this and utilize letters in a way the rest of the world does, we also have trained ourselves to see letters outside of their everyday context and to take a step back in order to analyze their visual qualities. This project also capitalized on the various type classifications and the characteristics which set them apart from each other.
Here is a small excerpt from Ellen Lupton’s “Thinking with Type” on Type classification:
- “A basic system for classifying typefaces was devised in the nineteenth century, when printers sought to identify a heritage for their own craft connected to calligraphy and the movement of the hand.”
For this project, I chose to utilize the font Perpetua, which falls under the type classification of Transitional. I worked to study the font closely, noticing all of it’s unique distinctions. I initially typed the entire lowercase alphabet out on my computer, and used this as a guide to begin sketching some thumbnails. I focused first on breaking up the letter, getting close and seeing every individual curve, weight, and overall taking notice of the different parts of the anatomy.
I then moved on to experimenting with creating my own fictional letterform based off of my previous findings:
The next step was to then switch over from using a pencil and paper to creating letterforms in Illustrator:
After much experimentation, I chose the following letter form to be my final product. It is a combination of the letters u, t and g.
The file was then sent to Professor Dan, who took the time to get each student’s letter laser cut on wood in the WSU wood shop. I then spray painted the letter matte black. We were then asked to have a “photoshoot” with our letter, collecting various images to potentially be used in the next step of the project: the creation of a poster.
Once I had collected my images, I began to work on the poster. The poster project had a very rigid set of guidelines that were to be followed. I spent time working on various elements, such a devising a Pantone color scheme, showing my letterform interacting with the existing alphabet, naming my letterform and deciding it’s phonetic spelling, and writing information about the typographic category from which it came (transitional).
below: working on my poster