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Feb 28 / Aaron Kozlowski

Project 3 Reflections

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.