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Last project

We’re coming to the end of the semester. To wrap the whole semester up, we made a book briefly introducing the class.

First, we did some explorations with different typefaces, tracking, kerning and explored different text. During the process, I found the typeface that I need for my book, which is News Gothic. And also figured out the column width for the book.



After the exploration, Dan introduced us to Dummy — a book demo to guide the later printing and pasting of the book . Since my book would have 16 pages, I made a 16 pages dummy. And to make it easier for me to find the correct pages, I wrote down the first word, or images on each page. After I finish each page’s pasting, I check the pages.



After roughly doing the layout on Indesign, I printed out all the pages, and cut out sections and got ready to paste them on to the artboard, which is a 11*17 sheet with two frames of A5 paper.


Here’s what the pasted artboard look like





For pasting the paper, I used a roller, paper cement and masking tape. First, I find a right location for the section, then attach one side of the section on to the page with masking tape.



Then I flip the section paper over and apply the cement.

A good thing about the paper cement is that it allows some moving time even after pasting the paper on top of another paper. Another good thing is that it dries clear, which means I can be generous with the application.

One downside is I have no idea how to clean the dried out cement from my roller and now it’s a little sticky.


For the book, Dan wants us to set up a 3 column grids structure for all the pages.



After the pasting, I went to Kinkos to photocopy the double sided pages for the book. The dummy came in handy again.

Last thing to do is to cut out the actual pages of the book and staple it and done!



16 Apr 2013

Kerning project

In this project, we were assigned into four different groups. Each student were to write a 5-7-5 Haiku and each group selected the best one for the final installation. I was in the same group with Anthony, Trevor and Arnisha. We chose Trevor’s Haiku:

Each letter its own

But as one a family

A typeface means kin




My own Haiku:

Words all come alive

Communicate beyond pages

Type, you drive me nuts.




All the groups had their haiku processed at Techshop (Allen Park). Our group also took a tour at the shop and saw some amazing futuristic advanced machines. Many of the machines are computer controlled and more importantly, works with Adobe Illustrator files!

For the location of the installation, we agreed on a more quiet place framed by the stairway on the first floor in Old Main, which suits our minimalist design.

This project is all about kerning and tracking. In order to have the perfect measurement, we firstly carefully arranged the letters on the floor.



Then we measured the total length of the wall and the design to see where exactly we want to install the letters. Next we marked the baseline with strings and masking tape.



Next thing is to install each letter with the help of the guidelines we set up. After the initial setup, we stepped back and stared at the entire Haiku again and started fixing any imperfections.



Then we had our letters perfectly installed…well… perfect in our eyes…




1 Apr 2013

Thoughts on Beatrice Warde’s lecture/article.

Crystal or  vessel. It’s a shame that my first reaction to the question was a vessel. As I kept reading the article, I realized that it is so true I do care about the container much more than the wine itself.

But back to printing and typography. Nowadays, many of us are suffering from short attention span. Many people don’t even care about the content of what they’re reading, let alone the beauty of the typography. As a design student, that kind of not caring about the design worries me yet excite me. Isn’t it rewarding to be part of the community that are blessed with eyes to seek out the hidden beauty that so many are unable to see?

I’m still not a wine taster but in terms of design and typography, I’d like to hold the crystal goblet and enjoy every sip of the beauty of typography.

29 Mar 2013

Saw these from the Evernote Camera Roll 20130216 224842 Graphic Design The New Basics book…



I want this to be my next free-time project. Very much inspired ( haven’t got that much free time lately)


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I wonder what would be a better program for this project, Illustrator or InDesign????



24 Feb 2013

Project 4 Constrained Systems (Update as it goes)




This project is designed for us to create two typefaces using modular system. First, we started to search for definitions and connotations of our assigned words. I was assigned with “inundation” and “spontaneous”

First I looked online for their definitions and wrote down the most common ones on my sketchbook. Then I brainstormed some connotations based on the definitions. Since I wasn’t familiar with the word “inundation”, I thought it would be a good idea to look for help. I asked most of my peers in the class, surprisingly, they weren’t that familiar with that word, either.

“inundation” can mean water fertilizing crops, or flood that brings disaster. Since these are very different paths and there’s not a dominant shared connotations (at least not in this class), I’ve been giving the freedom to explore both paths and make a decision later.


Evernote Snapshot 20130224 134158


So I searched some visual connotation for “inundation” and ended up mostly with flood-like images.


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As for “spontaneous”, I soon realized it is such an abstract and subjective word to portrait.  I hadn’t had any luck with a dominant visual connotation yet. Most common association people have is “spontaneous combustion”.

Evernote Snapshot 20130224 134226



To better understand how modular system works in creating typefaces, the teacher introduced us to an artist called Wim Crouwel. Some of his typefaces are really interesting and inspiring (especially for this project)

Evernote Snapshot 20130224 135751 Evernote Snapshot 20130224 135757 Evernote Snapshot 20130224 135804


For the word “inundation”, I did some brainstorming on gridded paper. I tried to explore different connotations of the word, mainly “overwhelming, overflowing”, “flood”, “disaster, destroy”

So here’re some sketches:IMG_8206


Something like this was considered being a little too literal:





after talked to the teacher, I was still debating between “overwhelming” and “destroy” and that’s how I got these two sketches:




The top one conveys overwhelming well, while the second one seems like a more clean “destroy”, looks more like a knife slit.

After these two sketches, I started to digitalized the work.

For something overflowing and overwhelming, I made this design for letter “I”, at this stage, I was still keeping my options open for both square and circles as modules.

Screen Shot 2013-03-01 at 10.06.10 PMScreen Shot 2013-03-01 at 10.06.48 PM


For destroy, I wanted them to be different from destructive or explosive, so I designed it this way:

the idea behind this design is, since inundation is about overflowing of water, and flood destroy, soak things. So in this design, anything above the line is in tact while things underneath got dissolved and destroyed. It’s more subtle than destructive.

Screen Shot 2013-03-01 at 10.11.53 PM Screen Shot 2013-03-01 at 10.12.00 PM



Dan said the line seem to be too literal, so that needs a solution. Since the teacher would like to see how the overwhelming element leads to the destroy. I decided to try combining the two connotations together. Which led to this idea:




Screen Shot 2013-03-01 at 10.16.03 PM


In this version, instead of have a visual line pierce through the letters, I chose to leave the line in negative among the letters, which forms an imaginary line.


For the adjective, “spontaneous”. Here’re the results of my brainstorming:



I was having a difficult time trying to visually express the word. After talking to the teacher, I did more sketches:




I was leaning more towards the second one, but Dan said my peers might say the last design might express spontaneous better.


Unfortunately, we didn’t get to talk about this word during our midpoint critique:



So coming back to “inundation”, after talking to Dan, we thought it might be a good idea to combine the connotations of “overwhelming” and “destroy” into the typeface, so it doesn’t only express the results of the overwhelming but also the process.

Unfortunately, during the group critique, some peers and even Dan thought there were too much going on in just one typeface.



So here’s the final INUNDATION:


inundation final



And about the “spontaneous”, my personal understanding of the word is that spontaneity exists when compared to regularity. That’s why I wanted to have only some of the letters different, surprising, while having the rest designed with a pattern, but it seems like not everyone agrees with this, but hey, what do I know, this isn’t even my first language, so I thought I should listen to other people’s opinions on this.


So here’s what I had for “SPONTANEOUS”…


spontaneous final



24 Feb 2013

Fictional Letterform Critique (Tyler’s letter)



In our group (old style/humanist), we selected Tyler’s fictional letter as the sampler of our group, the reason being his letter is visually the most convincing. The composition, the proportion and style both blend in well in the font he chose. The craftsmanship on the digital processing is great, however, the paper was a little bit wrinkly during the presentation and also the teacher pointed out that the “X” was up side down. Another problem is from misunderstanding of the assignment. We were supposed to place the fictional letter between two neighboring existing letters, but for the visual logic, he place the fictional letter between “K” and “X” which perfected the transition and rhythm of the forms but missed that part of the assignment. There is something the group members had disagreements on: some think the link and lines are nice and fluent. But as much as I agree with the visual beauty and believability of the design, I think it is hard to tell from the letter how one would write it. If the bowl is from either one of the top two strokes, the “link” could be more continent and smoothened out. If the bottom part, however, is another stroke, then the beginning of the stroke being that tapered doesn’t really fit into the pattern of this font.

Overall, I think this fictional letter is successful and beautiful.


Here’s a link to Tyler’s blog:


19 Feb 2013

Inspiration of the Day!

So I was reading some textbook for my Graphic Design 1 class. And thought these three typographic designs were great inspirations.

This first one enlarged letter “O” and letter “D” and also save their spots in the words “outside” and “inside”, which insure the viewers will mentally place them back to its spot. The designer expresses the concept of “inside” and outside with pictorial demonstration using type.

Evernote Snapshot 20130216 182317


This one compares “less” and “more”. On the “less” side, it is empty, small and only one word. On the “more” side, it is chaotic, bold and countless.

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This last one plays with direction and sense of distance.

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By the way, these images are from this book.

Evernote Camera Roll 20130216 224842

16 Feb 2013

These are left to find out:)

leading – In typography, leading (pron.: /ˈlɛdɪŋ/) refers to the distance between the baselines of successive lines of type. The term originated in the days of hand-typesetting, when thin strips of lead were inserted into the formes to increase the vertical distance between lines of type.



(FROM Norman Fournier Typography)



letterspacing (also called tracking)

(image from Wikipedia)



Rules are commonly used to separate columns and isolate graphics on a page.


set solid

Seen used seldomly in the commercial printing world, set solid is type that is set without inserting any space between the lines (no leading).


tabular figures




typographic color



white space


tracking / word spacing


10 Feb 2013

Typographic Terminologies

So far I’ve become more familiar with many typographic terminologies, but there’re still more to learn and here’re a few:


ampersand – symbol for “and” (&)



body text – main part of a printed text


condensed – very narrow text




A dingbat is a typographical ornament, or a symbol such as an arrow or a pointing finger.


display font – fonts that are designed for computer screen display(?)



drop cap –

In desktop publishing, the first letter of a paragraph that is enlarged to “drop” down two or more lines, as in the next paragraph. Drop caps are often seen at the beginning of novels, where the top of the first letter of the first word lines up with the top of the first sentence and drops down to the four or fifth sentence to the beginning of a section.



em, em space – An em is a unit of measurement in the field of typography, equal to the currently specified point size.

– Em space is a space that is the same width as the point size of the types.  Em space depends upon the point size used.

em dash – long dash

en dash -A short dash, the width of an en, used in punctuation.




flush left


flush right





hanging indent:










(images and definitions are from the Internet)


10 Feb 2013

Project 3 Fictional Letterform

In this project, the teacher divided us into different groups and assigned each group with a type category. I was in the Old Style/ Humanist group. Again, there’re three parts for the project. Part one is to have a first taste of the category. We were to draw a few glyphs in different fonts of the same typeface, Garamond, in my case. We were expected to observe the essence of our assigned category, which would be helpful for designing a fictional letterform that fits in.

The good thing about not know the correct way to do things is the opportunity to explore. Here’s what I used to help guiding my letterform drawing.

First I drew some guidelines of the width of each printed letterforms. (Used 2H pencil, for easy cleaning later) Then I draw out the base line, x height and cap line on the printed letters.


To make sure I get accurate lines, I typed out the lower case “x” and all the glyphs I need to draw for the project, then analyze their relationships. (Luckily, I have the exact typeface and the fonts on my computer).


Screen Shot 2013-02-06 at 1.18.57 AM Evernote Camera Roll 20130206 032655



Other than that, outline and fill in and there you have it!!!


Second part of the project was to have at least thirty thumbnail sketches. We were expected to do 15 annotated sketches based on analyzing the letterforms. It is more about the observation and display the results, however, I misunderstood the story and thought we were to present our observation in a designed manner. And that’s why I ended up with sketches like so:

Evernote Snapshot 20130216 220921



I have to say that I had quite some fun doing that, but after checked with the teacher, I was told that this wasn’t quite the right direction. But this is what he was asking for:


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The second 15 sketches. Surprise surprise, misunderstood the meaning of “explore new combinations” again. Here’s what I originally did, (and that was fun too)


Evernote Snapshot 20130216 221113

But yeah…that was a mistake. But to be honest, I did question myself a little bit about what has this anything to do with part 3. But I chose to listen to my instinct and instinct lies…

Anyways, “new combinations” means combinations of elements, not the entire letterforms. Evernote Snapshot 20130216 221122


This is the end result of my fictional letter. This was harder than I expected, without trying to create a new letterform, I didn’t realize how much the letterforms are already exhausted. The basic forms are already taken and if it’s overly complicated, it begins to look like glyphs.

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6 Feb 2013