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Nov 20 / Ruwaida Ba-arma

Project 4: Constrained System

For the final I created a process book to show and collect my process








I had a hard time choosing my final because I had two different designs. I approached it from different aspects. One of the designs for magnification was based on the concept of pixilation when magnifying an image. The other was based on the idea of disproportion when using a magnifying glass. For the word oppressive I had a design based off of the concept of feeling trapped in a maze and not being able to break out. The other concept was based on the idea of cracking under the pressure and being overwhelmed. example








magnificationI ended up choosing the design with the pixilation for magnification because I liked the concept of transition in size and the pixilation of each letter . My connotations were Microscopic, Enlarge, Pixelation, Distortion and Transition.






I choose the maze because I felt that it got to the point more and that the oppressiveletters created the oppressive feeling more. My connotations for oppressive were Control, Guided, Ruled, Overwhelming, Lost, Confusing and Stuck








After, I printed out my designs I had to flush mount my final on a 11×17 black board.

mount paste


We got to work in groups and get feedback on our work as we develop our ideas. We then had to create videos of ourselves critiquing our partners process work. I partnered up with Emilio, his words were Synthesis and Arrogant. You can see his blog by pressing this link: (

 Video Critique


Class critique:

We started by watching the video critiques… that was fun. I really liked this assignment. I enjoyed coming up with different designs and developing my thoughts. For the class critique we devied our work and hung it up on the wall by groups. Each group critiqued another groups work. I think everyone did a great job of representing their words in their designs.

video8b7aa462-5c97-4204-bcf5-b92c9eb049ad 4808f43b-db6c-46d8-9750-be38dbe7b0d1 4ac88950-3468-4fbb-8dc8-6ccce3264efb


Nov 18 / Ruwaida Ba-arma

Designer People – Ed Fella

We recently watched this video in GD 1. I really enjoyed this video because Ed Fella is so inspirational. ed fella

Edward Fella is an American graphic designer, artist and educator. He created the OutWest type in 1993. His work is held in the collection of the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, the Brauer Museum of Art, and the Museum of Modern Art.


ed fella websiteHis work is unique and he explores different methods to create beautiful work. He has a website that displays his unique work.He started out doing commercial advertising. He was the king of zing… Love that. Then he moved to poster design, his first poster was about the moon landing in 1969. His poster was based on the modernism style in the postmodern era. I love that he initially was self taught and that he doesn’t use the computer. He works by hand and sets his own lettering. The reason I find this so fascinating is because now a days, people worry more about a design then craftmenship. Ed Fella’s approach incorporates both aspects and perfects them. He seems so optimistic and approachable.


His work is artistic. He finds inspiration from his surroundings and he keeps journals where he draws things around him. He practiced professionally as a commercial artist in Detroit for 30 years before receiving an MFA in Design from the Cranbrook Academy of Art in 1987. His recently published a book called  Edward Fella: Letters on America.

ed fella photography

Nov 15 / Ruwaida Ba-arma

Project 3: Fictional Letterforms

I had a lot of fun completing this project. I enjoyed creating different letters and just combining different elements from the system to create unique forms. Sketching and using the thumbnails was interesting because I learned important information about the system’s pattern. I also, got to practice annotating important information. I really loved working in illustrator because I was able to bring my ideas to life. It was a bit difficult trying to come up with something unique, yet fits the system cohesively and would not stand out like a sore-thumb, but not impossible.

Process Book:

4finfin 6

The final format was to create four squares. Two squares for the fictional letter we created, and two squares for two letters from the system for comparison. We had to mount one of the fictional squares on black presentation board.



I then decided to try and make a capital version of my letter. Then I set the letters I created  in the system for comparison. Font

Family Showing:



On the day of the critique we were told that there was available space to display our work, but we were responsible of arranging it on the board. I was excited !!! We worked together as a group to create this arrangement 😀



Nov 11 / Ruwaida Ba-arma

The Armature, the Grid, and Grid System

Typographers design using at least two things: a typographic element, and the space within and surrounding it.

Armatures, grids and grid systems, frameworks devised to assist hierarchy, help to structure both elementsand space.

The difference between these three kinds of structuring approaches.

                 1. Armatures: 

  • Were used by commercial artists of the 19th and 20th century to structure advertisements and posters to underly and bind elements through deliberate but fairly random placement ruled by “intuitively” divided space.
  • It employs  the principles of alignment, visual proportion, balance and harmony. 

                 2. Grids:

  • Grid systems put similar principles to work except within a calculated program that  binds elements but with structural in and visual rules governing placement.
  •  The placement of elements typically spans pages, and often media types.
  • The typographer devises a system that assigns active or supporting duty to each pica, pixel, inch or centimeter—an organizational map, so to speak, to which every element submits.
  • Active areas contain elements, while support spaces, not inactive by any means, such as substantive margins, gutters, paragraph breaks, and as discussed earlier, White Space are designed between and around them fortify the elements.

A quote  on the philosophy behind the grid system:

“working with the grid system means submitting to laws of universal validity.

the use of the grid system implies:

the will to systematize, to clarify;

the will to penetrate to the essentials, to concentrate;

the will to cultivate objectivity instead of subjectivity;

the will to rationalize the creative and technical production processes;

the will to integrate elements of color, form and material;

the will to achieve architectural dominion over surface and space;

the will to adopt a positive, forward-looking attitude;

the recognition of the importance of education and the effect of work devised in a

constructive and creative spirit.”

Müller-Brockmann, p.10

                    3. Grid systems:

  • Grid modules are conceived as fundamental and intrinsic to the whole  that build structure and so “integrate elements of color, form and material” by way of visually and mechanically fastening them together.


Nov 11 / Ruwaida Ba-arma

Thinking with Type Pages 72–79

Typefaces on Screen

  • During the early years of the world wide web, designers were limited and forced to work  typefaces commonly installed on the computers of their end users.
  • Embedding fonts whiten web content has emerged.
  • In 2009 , the digital type foundry Typotheque launched a pioneering service that allows designers to showcase  Typotheque fonts on any website in exchange for a one time fee.
  • Verdana is a humanist sans-serif typeface designed by Matthew Carter in 1996 for Microsoft Corporation. The typeface was designed for digital display, it has a large x-hight, simple curves, open frame and loose spacing.
  • Georgia is a transitional serif typeface designed in 1993 by Matthew Carter and hinted by  Tom Rickner for the Microsoft Corporation, as the serif companion to the first Microsoft sans serif screen font, Verdana.


Anti-aliasingAnti-aliasing creates

  • Creates the appearance of smooth lines by changing the brightness of the pixels or sub-pixels along the edges of a letterform.
  • Software packages such as photoshop allow designers to use strong anti-aliasing.
  • Small sizes with strong anti-aliasing look blurry and increase the colors in an image.


Bitmap Typeface

  • Bitmap typefaces are built of pixels.
  • Pixels: are picture elements that structure a screen display or other outputs.
  • Bitmaps are used on cash register, signboard display and various small scaled screens.
  • Post script letter: consists of vector outline.


Typeface Design

  • Fontlab and other applications allow designers to create functional fonts that work seamlessly with standard software programs such as InDesign and Photoshop.

Designing Typeface

  1. The first step is to define a basic concept.
  • Will the letters be serif or sans serif?
  • Will they be modular or organic?
  • Will you construct them geometrically or base them on handwriting?
  • Will you use them for display or for text?
  • Will you work with historic source material or invent the characters more or less from scratch?

All of these questions are useful for project four.

        2.  The next step is to create drawings.

  • Begin by drawing a few core letters, such as o, u, h, and n, building curves, lines, and shapes that will reappear throughout the font.  

For project four I used this tip and selected the letter P and N because the can be used as parts in the different letters, such as O and M.
Outline CastAways


  •  House Industries is a digital type foundry that creates original typefaces inspired by popular culture and design history.
  • Designer Ken Barber makes pencil drawings by hand and then digitizes the outlines.
  • Castaways is from a series of typefaces based on commercial signs from Las Vegas. The shapes of the letters recall the handpainted strokes made by traditional sign painters and lettering artists.



Mercury bold 

  • Design: Jonathan Hoefler/Hoefler & Frere-Jones.
  • Mercury is a typeface designed for modern newspapers, whose production demands fast, high-volume printing on cheap paper.
  • The typeface’s bullet-proof letterforms feature chunky serifs and sturdy upright strokes.
  • The notes marked on the proof  comment on everything from the width or weight of a letter to the size and shape of a serif. 








A typeface is a system of elements.




Nov 3 / Ruwaida Ba-arma

Project 4: Constrained System

Part One:

Defining our words, understanding them and finding visual examples.

Dictionary definition:

1-Magnification (noun):

Magnification: The act of making something look larger than it is.

Magnification: The larger appearance of an object when it is seen through a microscope, telescope, etc.

 Merriam-webster Dictonary

Magnification: The process of enlarging the size, volume,

quantity or scope of something, as an optical image.

Magnification: The ratio of the size of an image to the size of an object.

Magnification: To cause to appear greater or seem more

important than is in fact the case.

Magnify (verb):

Magnify: to cause to seem greater or more important; attribute too much importance.

Magnify: to make more exciting; intensify; dramatize; heighten.

 Free Dictonary


Magnification: the degree to which something is or can be

magnified: at this magnification the pixels making up the image become visible.

 Oxford Dictionary


My Definition: 

• To enlarge an image so that the micro details appear.

• To use size and ratio to create hierarchy or contrast.

• The scaling of an image plane.

• Transition from small to large.


Dictionary definition:


Oppressive: very unpleasant or uncomfortable.

Oppressive: tyrannical: using power over people in a way that is cruel and unfair.

Oppressive: the feeling of being heavily burdened, mentally or physically, by troubles, adverse conditions, anxiety, etc.

Merriam-webster Dictonary

 • Oppressive: To weigh heavily on.

Oppressive: Obsolete To overwhelm or crush, to weigh down.

Oppressive: Archaic, to put down; subdue or suppress


Free Dictionary

 • Oppressive: a profound loneliness, an oppressive emptiness


My Definition: 

• Restrained and lost.

• Suppressed and overpowered.

• Ruled, constrained and veer or crack under pressure.


Brain storming and examples:

pic pic
Part two:
Thumbnail expression of the word then selecting two letters to test and experiment. We have to use moduals either a square or a circle to draw our words out and to create the typeface.
Modular system:
Designed with standardized units or dimensions, as for easy assembly and repair or flexible arrangement and use.
Examples of modular systems:
Modular Furniture:
Modular-System-cir Creative-Furniture
Wim Crouwel:
Willem Hendrik Crouwel is a Dutch graphic designer and typographer.  He studied Fine Arts at Academie Minerva in Groningen, The Netherlands. In addition to that, he studied typography at what is now the Gerrit Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam.
dezeen_Typefaces-by-Wim-Crouwel-for-The-Foundry-3 wim wim wim
Other Modular Systems:
modular type WimCrouwel tree
For The thumbnails I edited the previous thumbnail layouts in photoshop by adding a grid to make it easier when designing a form. I started by drawing some forms that represent the word. At the end I chose three examples and choose two letters to try them out. The word magnification was a bit more difficult because there are not a lot of ways to represent the word visually I was stuck on the word increase and I was drawing forms that increase in size. However, I went back to my brainstorming and tried to draw pixilated forms because it is an effect of magnifying an image.
1 process2process
3 process 4process
Part three:
In class critique, we were grouped with some classmates and we had to discuss three different examples of our forms. The feedback I got from my group was very helpful.

I experimented with the word magnification more because I had a harder time with it. I needed to see as many ideas in front of me to see what would work best. I wanted to use the pixilation idea, but it kept looking like distorted or disappearing rather than pixilation. The feedback I got was helpful and I think I will work on developing my pixilation idea.



Oct 20 / Ruwaida Ba-arma

Project 3: Fictional Letterforms

This project helps us observe and study the characteristics and micro-details of  individual letterforms and the system of the typeface.

1- Draw:

The first part of the project was sketching assigned  letters from different typographic systems. Drawing the letters from observation made the micro details and the subtle nuances that would not be notable otherwise very clear. I started to notice the differences between the typographic systems and the details that were used to create them.

I was assigned a modern and a old style typeface because I worked with a transitional typeface in project 2.

For the modern typeface I had Didot.

4didot 2didot

1 didot 3didot

This study taught  me the characteristics of a modern typeface.

From my observation I learned:

  • The letters use high and abrupt contrast between thick and thin strokes.
  • There is small apertures and the letters have a vertical axis.
  • The italic letters are thinner.

For the old style typeface I had Adobe Garamond.

From my observation I learned:

  • The end of the stem was not flat each stem had a slightly concave bases, which is one of the most interesting things I learned from drawing the letterforms.
  • There was minimal variation of thick and thin strokes and the letterforms have wedge shaped serifs.
  • Adobe Garamond has a very unique italic ampersand.

2 adobe garamond 3adobe garamond 4adobe garamond 1 adobe garamond

2- Sketch/Iterate:

The second part of the project was sketching a minimal of 30 annotated thumbnails. I had to sketch: 15 exploring idiosyncratic micro-details/15 exploring in new combinations. I started by creating a full font family showing of  a modern and old style typeface.


font family showing






After I compared the differences between the typefaces I choose Didot a modern typeface.


Typographic Study of  the micro details of a modern typeface Didot.

1 thumbnails2thumbnails

Typographic Study of  the micro details of fictional letterforms. I started by combining different parts then I developed it and tried to combine parts that would create a unique form and also follow the rules of the system.

Micro Details Fictional 1 Micro Details Fictional 2

For the second part of the thumbnails sketches there was some confusion. I combined the parts creating the final letter, but I was supposed to show it as a micro detail not a full letter. I had to redo the thumbnails, but it was a good experince because it helped me see that there were endless possibilities to creating a new letterform.

1 extra 2extra 3 extra

3- Digitize/Design:

For the third part I had to digitize my parts and create the fictional letterform.

I tried to set the letter in between letters from the typeface as a references and I had multiple choices to see what would work best and fit with the pattern.  Here are some examples I started by placing the original digitized letter I used in my thumbnails, then started to edit it to make it fit the pattern of the typeface. I wanted to explore as many different ideas and have multiple choices, so I wouldn’t be limited.



I had a hard time with some of the designs, some worked more then others. I had some letters that were really simple like a regular letter and follow the systems pattern. I also had chaotic letters that were combined parts from a lot of letters that did not just to experiment.




Oct 14 / Ruwaida Ba-arma

The Timeless Way of Building by Christopher Alexander

Christopher Wolfgang Alexander is a prominent American author and an architect noted for his theories about design.

At first I did not really understand the reading, but then I felt that the connection between the reading, graphic design and typography is the patterns. Pattern languages are timeless and exist in our minds they are the basis of our designs. Fundamentally the whole world is made of patterns.

1. The proper answer to the question, “How is a farmer able to make a new barn?” lies in the fact that every barn is made of patterns.

  • It is not the idea of copying, which is at fault; only the conception of “what is copied.”
  • It is a system of patterns, which function like a language.
  • The farmer is able to make a new barn, by taking all the patterns, which he knows, and combining them in a new way.  

I have had this conversation with an art professor before is art original.

All of the designers I know tend to head for inspiration as soon as they have to design something. They build off of preexisting ideas and create a new design by introducing different ideas and combining them, so I agree with the author because all designs are copied but combined in a new way.

2. These patterns are expressed as rules of thumb, which any farmer can combine and re-combine to make an infinite variety of unique barns.

  • The set patterns take into account the structures use. For instance, the barn design changes based on the paths where cows come in from the fields creating a new pattern.

This pattern is similar to a grid system that can be utilized many times to create different design outcomes. In my opinion these patterns are similar to a grid system that can be utilized many times to create different design outcomes. Similarly to designing a movie poster and that it has a specific layout that it follows, but is not limited two.

3. To understand, in detail, how these patterns work we must extend our definition of “a pattern.”

  • A unitary pattern of activity and space, which repeats itself over and over again, in any given place, always appearing each time in a slightly different manifestation.
    • These patterns in our minds are, more or less, mental images of the patterns in the world: they are abstract representations of the very morphological rules, which define the patterns in the world.


4. Each pattern is a rule, which describes what you have to do to generate the entity, which it defines.

5. It is in this sense that the system of patterns forms a language.

  • From a mathematical point of view, the simplest kind of language is a system which contains two sets:

1.A set of elements, or symbols

2. A set of rules for combining these symbols.


This reminds me of project three. That is, a typographic system has a pattern that it follows to create a typeface.


  • In a logical language, the symbols are completely abstract, the rules are the rules of logical syntax, and the sentences are called well-formed formulas.

6. A natural language like English is a more complex system.

  •  However, in this case, the patterns are both elements and rules, so rules and elements are indistinguishable. A pattern language is a still more complex system of this kind.


7. An ordinary language like English is a system, which allows us to create an infinite variety of one-dimensional combinations of words, called sentences.

8. A pattern language is a system which allows its users to create an infinite variety of those three dimensional combinations of patterns which we call buildings, gardens, towns.

In summary: both ordinary languages and pattern languages are finite combinatory systems, which allow us to create an infinite variety of unique combinations, appropriate to different circumstances, at will.

Natural Language


Rules of grammar and

meaning which give connections



Pattern Language


Patterns which specify

connections between


Buildings and places

9. All acts of building are governed by a pattern language of some sort, and the patterns in the world are there, entirely because they are created by the languages which people use.

10. The patterns of our time, like all other patterns in the built environment, come from the pattern languages, which people use.

11. They come from the work of thousands of different people.

12. Everyone builds by following rules of thumb.

  • Every person has a pattern language in his mind.
  •  Indeed it is the system of these rules that is your present language.


13. It is only because a person has a pattern language in his mind, that he can be creative when he builds.

14. The rules of English make you creative because they save you from having to bother with meaningless combinations of words. A pattern language does the same.

  •  So the use of language is not merely something that happens in traditional societies. It is a fundamental fact about our human nature, as fundamental as the fact of speech.
  • And now at last it becomes clear just where the patterns in the world come from.
  • Every single part of the environment is governed by some portion of a pattern language. And the enormous repetition of patterns, which makes up the world, comes about because the languages which people use to make the world are widely shared.

At all times, in every human culture, the entities of which the world is made are always governed by the pattern languages which people use. Every window, every door, each room, each house, each garden, every street, each neighborhood, and every town: it always gets its shape directly from these languages. They are the origin of all the structure in the manmade world.



1- Typography:

A typeface has to be consistent it uses a set of rules that create a system of patterns. For instance, in my project 3 I studied Didot a modern typeface. When I was sketching the fictional letters I followed a set of rules that helped me create a fictional letter that follows a set of rules to fit the pattern. Like the strokes have to change from thick to thin and you have to use a serif on the bottom of the letter if it doesn’t have a finial. In Adobe Garamond the strokes have minimal weight change.




Another example is the arrangement of text in a magazine. The text is arranged in modular format. The text is separated in columns to make it easier to read and follow.



2- Visual Culture:

For my visual culture I choose tissue boxes. There are many forms of tissue boxes they all follow the rule of form fits function. The original design was made of a rectangle shape. The design for a tissue box is modified to fit its use. For instance, the first image is of a hand tissue box. It is shaped to fit on top of a towel bar in the bathroom. The next image has a wider opening for easier access. The third image is the original design of tissue boxes, I believe they were crated to fit the design of a coffee table and too look aesthetically appealing. The forth image is a square box that was designed that way to fit in the car console the consumers needed a smaller box for travel purposes. The fifth image is a box designed for car use the consumer can place it on the car door. The opening is placed on the side for easier access. The last image is also a box for also for car use, but the difference is that you can place it between the car seat and console.


This also applies to graphic design because tissue boxes have their own visual pattern. They are either very simple like the first image ( plane white box), or crazy colorful like the last one, and I have seen much more chaotic designs. The pattern seems to be silly random prints, wild color combinations, weird combinations of graphics and loud colors.  I searched to find the reason behind the loud designs I could not find the reasoning behind it, but I found this link for a competition for designing a new kleenex box, which is interesting. The website is called talenthouse, the website is for making money making art.

Here are some of the entries:





3- Graphic Deign:

Magazine covers have patterns they follow for each genre. For example, the top three are of people magazine a gossip and social magazine. The name of the magazine is usually in the upper left. The image is centered. The other images are on the left side. It also uses yellow and white type. The name of magazine is usually outlined with color. The headlines are larger in size or use color to create hierarchy.

mag cover

Oct 6 / Ruwaida Ba-arma

Stefan Sagmeister

I was first introduced to Stefan Sagmeister’s work in typography class. I really find his work inspirational because his work is not typical and is unique. I like that he explores typography in different ways rather than just typical print.
One of his works I really like is his mural that used coins to spell out Obsessions make my life worse but my work better.

I think the website’s front page is awesome because it has some inspirational and funny quotes in the bottom left like:

Every project is improvable

We will do anything for design

Love = Oxygen

Beauty is part of the function

I also like that it is made of live images.


I went to his website and found this interesting information:

I rarely obsess about things in my private life. I fail to care about the right shade of green for the couch.

However, I do obsess over our work and think that a number of our better projects came out of such an obsession. Obsessions make my Life worse and my Work better. “Think dangerously, act safely” is a close relative – possibly its uncle – from mentor Tibor Kalman.

On September 13, 2008 Sagmeister Inc. began the installation of 250,000 Eurocents on Waagdragerhof Square in Amsterdam. Over the course of 8 days and with the help of more than 100 volunteers, the coins were sorted into 4 different shades, and carefully placed over this 300 sqm area, according to a master plan.

The coin mural spelled out the sentence “Obsessions make my life worse and my work better.” After completion the coins were left free and unguarded for the public to interact with. Less than 20 hours after the grand opening, a local resident noticed a person bagging the coins and taking them away. Protective of the design piece they had watched being created, they called the police. After stopping the ‘criminal’ the police–in an effort to ‘preserve the artwork’–swept up every remaining cent and carted them away.


Obsessions3 Obsessions2


Another project he did was Aizone advertising.

Art Direction & Design Aizone, a luxury department store in the Middle East. Taking the vibrant nature of the brand and presenting it in campaigns that are printed in newspapers, magazines, and billboards throughout Lebanon.

I really find this inspirational because it uses different methods and art forms to create an advertisement, which is something I would love to do in the future. I love the vibrant colors, sharp lines and the different materials.


Aizone_FW13_MakeYourLuck Aizone_FW13_PlayHard Aizone-11 Aizone-12 Aizone-13 Aizone9_1

The video that is available on the website is amazing because it shows the different steps and the stages they go through to create theses unique and creative images.

Oct 6 / Ruwaida Ba-arma

Fonts In Use


An independent archive of typography.

Fonts In Use is a public archive of typography indexed by typeface, format, and industry.We document and examine graphic design with the goal of improving typographic literacy and appreciation.

It is a website that helps you find examples of different fonts in use and you can also participate by uploading an image yourself.


Example: Gill Kayo