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)
guess both letter for each and you get a gold star!!
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.
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??
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.
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 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!
So far through this experiment process I have been focusing on the development of negative space and how it can define a letter. However, my process has evolved from working with individual letters and the alphabet to seeing these forms in contexts. When making this move I was finally able to break free of the typeface(s) I have been using, staying close to the actual form of the foundation font limited my definition and interaction. After playing with the defined letterforms in the context of words and phrases I have discovered yet another realm; working with how the negative space from each letter interacts with one another. I have worked with this at a surface level working with the forms I have already developed, but from these I plan to explore the relationships even more. Here is a look at what I developed during class on Friday, creating letterforms and applying them to words and phrases.
Bauer Bodoni, working with counters and line contour, some work better than others, and like most of the other experiements, I have had struggles defining the more geometric letters such as 'l', 'j', and 'i'; however, this may easily be resolved when working with interaction in context.
Color coding to visually show relationships of form.
Working with a pre-defined shape and how it interacts with the knocked out letter.
Working a previous study in context.
Why I am using "hamburgefonts"
I plan on re-working some of my previous trials to see if any interaction surfaces.
This is subtraction by cutting parts of the letters off, then using the negative space to the left. One thing that is useful when looking at designing type or anything for that matter is taking note of the interesting shapes in the negative space.
In this one I also shifted the block left but it makes the letters very obvious which isn't fulfilling the requirement of my statement "how can this become art but still be legible?" This doesn't seem like art to me.
Now this is more interesting: you draw a block around a serif letter and then subtract a rectangle from each of the negative spaces within that block and you're left with this! Looks like brail or morse-code.
This one is the same but more exaggerated. I've taken the corners out too.
This is shifting the block up and to the right and the negative space that's left is in rectangle format. More readable though.
Now this is really pushing legibility: Here's an example made on the computer.
And here's a really elaborate one!
Now this is interesting. This time I've used a serif letter, duplicated it and moved it up and to the right, then deleted the first one. I wonder what this would look like with a word. Probably very readable though. Hmm.
This week has definitely opened a lot of doors in consideration to my area of type experimentation, the critique held on Monday was very beneficial in that respect. The format of the crit was very effective as it was nice to be able to have comments in writing that you can keep with you, although some comments were great, others were not. But on the positive side, based on comments, I have a list of new paths to take for my experimentation, whether they will be successful or not no one knows but I am definitely going to find out.
I also created a banner for Designalogue, one using an alphabet exploration from Monday and one I took on more recently. Below is that exploration as well, it is a play off the first one, which I felt was pretty successful but decided to push it even more. Enjoy!
The shape forms in the red boxes are what I used for my most recent exploration. After analyzing this alphabet I decided that the two elements in red were most prevalent and decided make a big push of legibility and define the entire alphabet from these two elements.
Just a look with the referential typeface behind it, give a good insight as to how things are beginning to come together.
And here is a look with only the forms showing, in doing so I decided to not limit the number or scale of each shape I used to create each letterform.
What does it say? Tried putting it in context, it is somewhat readable, could be pushed more in some cases and in others a bit more defined. Successful? "good design"