Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Just Type

One of the first semester classes were taking is meant to be a sort of primer/crash course in typography. From the curriculum description of the class:
JUST TYPE is an exploration of contemporary and classic typefaces that students will apply to ten short projects over the course of the semester. Every week, each student will be given a font to research and work with on a specific project. In some cases, we'll work in class with printouts and glue sticks. Seriously. At the end, a type catalogue of the fonts used will be compiled, and the class projects shown as examples of the faces in action. There will be no images,color or devices used--JUST TYPE.
The description is a bit out of date but it goes to the heart of what we are doing. Much of graphic design (and the disciplines that grow out of it: motion graphics, print, web, etc.) are built on a foundation of clear and concise type. Words communicate ideas and to be a good designer you have to be "fluent in type," which is a fancy way of saying you understand the laws and foundations of type construction. That's what this class is all about.

Over the past few weeks we've been working on a free-form exercise meant to loosen us up and get us comfortable working with type, letter by letter. Be it modern, woodprint or novelty, the idea is to construct textcentric posters that push our own personal comfort zones into unexpected places. We contacted designers whom we admire and asked them to supply a pithy bit of advice for design students to act as the basis of our posters. The advice was then used for the type compositions. Black and white. Just type.

Wood Type

The alphabets used were based on old woodprinting alphabets. The characters are evocative of old concert or carnival posters with all of the nicks and scrapes of age still intact. Quote: "Simple is beautiful." -Bubi Au Yeung, Illustrator and Toy Designer

Woodtype 1
This quote was a difficult one to begin with b'c we were being pushed to do a lot of crazy, messy stuff. Typically, too many fonts is a bad thing. But this exercise, in part, is about ignoring that instinct. I was afraid too much visual chaos would contradict the advice given in the quote and not really play as a composition. I decided to start by just obscuring some of the word "beautiful" and keeping things simple.

Woodtype 2
Over-scaled letterforms provided a canvas for the straight forward construction of the quote in this piece. I sort of like it. I think my professor sort of didn't. Oh well.

Woodtype 3
I am in love with this poster. It was a great excuse to use all of these cool old woodtype dingbats and call outs. The idea behind this is pretty obvious: there's a lot going on around the simplicity of the white space and text at the center. This one is my favorite for the wood type, no doubt.


Novelty faces are super gimmicky and really only good for one purpose. Imagine an alphabet where all the letters are capped by snowy ice or letters that look like a lasso. Pretty much useless, I suppose, but novelty type is kind of trashy cool. Quote: "Don't worship The New for its novelty or The Old for its nostalgia." -Jason Kottke, Blogger and Design fan

Novelty 1
Starting out, I had some trouble working with the novelty type b'c they are pretty hard on the eyes. I decided to play it safe on the first poster and just use novelty for "The New" and "The Old," softening the edges with the charm of more woodtype.

Novelty 2
It's Type Jesus. Drawing inspiration from the word "worship" in the quote and simultaneously spurned on by this wicked thorny novelty alphabet, I decided to make a crown of thorns with the quote and use the letters in "New" and "Old" to construct a face. My friends and I think Type Jesus is hilarious and that the poster is, of course, fucking hideous. My professor on the other hand liked it and thought the conceit quite clever. Hmmm.

Novelty 2
Here is the quote constructed from most of the typefaces provided to us in a folder labeled "Use with caution!" I threw caution to the wind and used a different face for each word in the quote. The text is meant to be worshiping the bits at the top, but that is hard to convey with letters and words. She "loved" this one. Wicked.


Modern faces are clean, stream-lined and go hand-in-hand with Art Deco styling. Quote: "Designers have to learn that we can't blame our clients for bad work." -Adrian Shaughnessy, Designer and Author

Novelty 2
These were rushed and, as such, I can't say I'm quite happy with them yet. The exercise is meant to be non-cerebral. You're supposed to construct these posters in a rush without worrying the details to death. Still, since this round isn't due yet, I'll likely do a few more passes/designs before Friday's class.

Novelty 2
Nothing says "deco" like the Chrysler building. Need those words to looks more skyscraper-y though.


Sharis said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sharis said...

scrapping fonts! There are people out there that just design scrapping font for digital scrapbooking.

Sharis said...

I like the Chrysler builing and the old wood type digbat fun around the clean space.