Monday, March 1, 2010

T4 Experimental Typography | The End...

Looking back on the start of this project, as it now comes to a close, I am truly amazed at my progress as well as the different discoveries and directions I took. Beginning with basic individual letterform design to ending with patterns, and vertical/horizontal flows that push legibility. The basic concept from the beginning was how to define type by pure visual form, focusing on abstraction. The question that I generated, which I felt raised the most interests, was how this idea can be applied in a way that letterforms are defined by their surrounding negative space. Along the way, however, my question began to turn in to multiple questions with many different directions. This really demonstrates the depth of my initial question and the numerous forms it can take. From negative space it evolved to:

How can line coutour be integrated into this study?

What are the effects that are successful and unsuccessful when chracter designs are applied to sets of words or phrases?

How does the shape defining the letter affect the look and feel or personality of the piece; rigid, angular, geometric versus organic, loose curves?

A strong horizontal flow is developed, can a vertical flow be established simultaneously?

What if this flow were established by pattern design?

How can one letter read as another through reflection; relating to patterns?

What if vertical flow can also be defined through definition and interaction through baselines of text?

Through out this entire process I found that most of my questions were evoked while writing and blogging about my discovers and experiences of what may or may not be working. It was also very beneficial to work with Tom and establishing out collaboration blog. Although I did not steel ideas from his thought process and production, his work did bring to life the formulaic aspect of some of my work, as well as, really pushing legibility, maybe even too far just to see what is there and what isn't. On another note, most of my actual discoveries were more easily and freely created in the analog realm working with foundation type and tracing paper; this gave me the chance to not let the digital restrictions limit my experimentation, here I could create as freely as possible. With this journey from all aspects, I have made some great growth as this whole idea of experimentation is rather new to me; uncharted territory, so I definitely built upon my knowledge of form as well as the interaction and intertwining ideas of type and image.

There is really an incredible amount that I will take away from this project, especially the notion that anything is possible and there are so many ways of doing it. I am sure if I were to keep going with this project that questions would continue to be raised and new avenues will be explored. I feel I have come out of this project with an entirely different perspective and appreciation for typography and its multiple dimensions.

A look at my final crit presented work:


Thursday, February 25, 2010

Experimentation with Read + Pattern

So, I have made yet another great discovery within my experiments! As noted in my last post, I have thrown around the idea of creating patterns to demonstrate flow of the forms in both horizontal and vertical directions, and in that respect, I will be pushing the line between what is type and what is art. I started out working with words I have previously created and seeing what interactions they had reading left to right as well as top to bottom. They definitely created some very interesting forms, but I wanted to search with something that had a bit more meaning, something that would take a lot more to read in to. So I went back to the alphabet, and by happy accident, I reflected the type and discovered letters that read as different letters when they were reflected. My goal since then has been to create forms in the negative space that define 2 letters; one original and one reflected. From there I plan to moved towards their interaction in pattern work, the most difficult part is coming up with actual works on both sides of the reflection...For now I am just working with single letterforms and considering a series of pattern works. I would love to come up with a double meaning word or phrase but we will have to see if that comes to light before I run out of time. Enjoy!

working with repetition and reflections (above)

crazy! (above)

guess both letter for each and you get a gold star!!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Shade Part 1

This round I took a word 'shade', reversed it out on black and visualized the negative space. Then over three slides I gradually took away more and more of the negative space until I couldn't read the word anymore. At that point I went back to the previous one and used that as my final.

Looks kinda interesting, especially white on black, there is a nice fusion of type and image to give more definition to the word.

Turning that negative space into abstract shapes using multiples of a cube.

An alphabet built around News Gothic.

An alphabet built around Karmina.

A word, extruded.

Negative Space Typography Pattern?

Hmm...this could be really interesting, this just occurred to me in consideration with the questions I was asking on my post from last night. How can flow be creating both vertically and horizontally, and how does interaction occur line to line versus letter to letter??

Some examples working with the positive form:


I like the idea of working on horizontal lines with emphasis on vertical interaction, therefore, words, phrases, and letters will have to be carefully chosen...

A better idea of the horizontal/vertical emphasis

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Try this one for half size

Someone suggested using the negative space. So I cut that in half too.
Cutting square sections off of type and using the negative space seems to work better with sans serif fonts, particularly the more angular style.

Interaction Continued

As mentioned in my previous post, I have moved towards exploring the relationship of letters in the context of words and phrases. I have taken my previous experiments of defining form with negative space and applied those to a study of how letters interact with each other. Based on what those forms created together, I made tweaks and discoveries of what did and didn't work; I also approached it from completely different angles.

There have been many elements that have come to light during this study and things seem to keep revealing as I push in different directions. For instance, as you will see in the work below, there is a dramatic difference in personality and appearance when working with geometric forms and hard angles versus more organic, curvilinear lines and shapes. It also seems that the more organic, curvilinear letterforms work much better and have more appeal that those of geometric shape. As before and here too I had a difficult time defining those purely geometric letters, and they proved to be even more difficult being at the start of a word or phrase. In regards to the more organic letterforms, they created a better flow in the piece and much like reading traditional type they guide the viewers eye from left to right through the word or phrase. I have had successful horizontal flow but once again working vertical has proven to be more difficult not only in definition but making it flow with the rest of the composition.

Throughout this process I have created foundation elements and have pushed them, maybe even too far, towards minimalism to make them as simplistic as possible and really pushing legibility (also shown below). Another highly noticed characteristic is the contrast in density in regard to the positive and negative forms. With this there is also somewhat of an illusion of off spacing that is created when letterforms are defined with less versus more. The exact opposite occurs when the letters are defined with more negative shapes as they appear heavier and much more bold. To add even more interest in the piece I have taken a couple approaches where I have broken the baseline, x-height, and vertical height of the ascenders. This give an interesting element and makes the discovery of the phrase and letters and bit more difficult because of the flourish the extended shapes give. In the first round of this idea, I worked strictly with letter contour and hard angles giving the finished piece a very rigid and geometric feel. This brought to light the personality and overall feel of the work as you will get an increasingly different feel when viewing a rigid, sharp composition versus a more round, organic piece. In terms of personality I have also learned after working strictly and breaking free from the foundation font I work with is that sticking to the foundation form give the composition a more composed, pre-determined feel with less personality.

My experimentation has come a long way but I feel there is much more to learn and many new areas to explore. One of interest, in contest with these exercises, is what effects will text breaking into several lines have? Could that solve the problem of vertical interaction? Could there be a vertical flow simultaneous with a horizontal one without creating too much definition and holding the minimalist approach?

organic/curvilinear VS. geometric/angular (above)

first development with an previous alphabetic experiment put into context (above)

an approach after analyzing the initial development (above)

working with unity between common forms in the letters and taking a stab at really pushing legibility

Type Design: a process of learning

Type doesn't have to be confined to the 'approved structural features' like counters, serifs and terminals. Type can be more free flowing and not adhere to these kinds of boundaries. Type itself can be image. You can merge them. How do you get to that place where type becomes image? You experiment. You push the boundaries of the 'approved structural features' or you begin to ask questions about what is type. Why should it be like this and not that?

The foundational principle in designing type I think, is that letters (in any language) are like a code. When you've learnt the code you can speak the language. It doesn't have to look a certain way. So it is with creating type. You could design a set of pictures and each one relate to a letter. Once you learn what the pictures mean you can speak the language. When the type is a picture like this there's almost no need for an image.

In designing type there has to be a set of rules that you follow to draw each letter. What is that formula that you can apply to each of the letter forms? As the letters are very different from one to the next, the formula will have to be broad enough to be applied to the creation of each different shape.

The question I asked that started me on this journey of type design was "how by the process of subtraction can you make type into art but still retain its legibility." What I'm asking now is, maybe legibility is not important. Maybe I'm designing a code and as long as I give people the key to the code, they'll be able to understand the message.

This design is like duplicating the type up to the right and then deleting the first from the second. It's pushing it though!