Week 11: Challenge

How can you ensure a business / creative idea is targeted and researched to maximise potential?

  • Select one of your ideas from the previous week and develop a clear business outline of your intended audience outlets for distribution or purchase.
  • You may need to evolve aspects of the proposition, and ensure there is a clear objective for the next stages of development.
  • Your output will include product development, research insights and production challenges; all of which will come together in the final week of this module.
  • Upload the artefact and evidence of any development undertaken (this might also include brand names and approach to the product’s story), and include a one page report outlining research, insights and development challenges.

Idea chosen

Walthamstow Typeface design: For Walthamstow, by Walthamstow

This is more than designing a typeface for Walthamstow: the objective is engage the community in the creation of a means of communication that reflects them and to have a discussion about how type influences how we feel about the content it displays.

The project starts with a series of workshops, each aimed at a different demographic, where we talk about the elements of type and our experiences of living in the area. We will go on to experiment with how we can encapsulate our thoughts in letterforms and go on to design our own glyphs.

From there, I will go on to design a body typeface and a display typeface that embody the themes talked about in the sessions. The typeface can be used by participating members free of charge for personal use, and can be purchased for any commercial usage.

The typeface will be shown to the community to gauge reactions and invite people to contribute pieces of writing about Walthamstow. In collaboration with Paekarikiriki Press, the typeface will be cast so that it can typeset the writing into a publication. Members of the community will typeset pieces at Paekarikiriki Press, allowing them to experience how books are made. The publication will be available for sale at local businesses to help fund the project.

The project will form the basis of the framework, where it can be refined and packaged as a community venture that can be applied in any location and as a commercial product that is sold as a tool for companies to understand their audience.

Evolution and Objectives

This started just as a typeface project called W’stow.otf, but has now developed into a framework called Stowe Framework so that it can be transported to different areas.

The goals for this project are community-based …  

  • Engage the community in typeface design, letterpress and book publishing;
  • Run workshops for people to create glyphs of a typeface together;
  • Explore how typography is used in the Walthamstow area;
  • Facilitate conversations about how typography can shape how we view our space;
  • Foster communications between community and creative spaces;
  • Showcase the communities’ experiences in a piece of written work.

… and will have physical outcomes:

  • Latin-script body typeface and display typeface, based on workshops, for use by the community;
  • Publication of writings on the local area, set at a local letterpress studios;
  •  Online tool where people can select display characters from the workshops to write “Walthamstow” and share online.
  • Framework that can be taken to other communities and sold to companies for as an experience-based session to enable them to understand their customers better.

Product development

Name

The original name for the project, W’stow.otf came from a shortening of Walthamstow and the typeface file name suffix of Open Type Font – because the font would be open to be designed and used by all.

After transforming the project to a framework, it has been renamed as Stowe Framework. I have chosen to make it non-location specific, and kept the Stowe. The word Stowe/or Stow derives from Old/Middle English as a way to describe a holy or meeting place. Bristol was originally “Bridge stow”, or meeting place by the bridge. I hope that the project and typeface will serve as a meeting place for people of a community,

ReseaRch insights

Quantative

I am going to run a survey asking people who live in Walthamstow a few questions. Here is the Google Forms I set up:

https://forms.gle/t43NdzeL3vmhni1MA

I would have liked to, as Dan Parry suggested in the lecture, set up a questionnaire that uses logic jumps so that I can drill down into certain answers and with people only answering questions applicable to them. However, TypeForm is too expensive for one survey and does not allow such features on the free version.

Distribution

I am a member of a number of Facebook groups for the Walthamstow area, and have posted on them asking for people to help me out. I don’t have much traction with the groups yet, but I hope people will be willing to help.

I also have some friends in the area, and I’ve asked them to help me out by answering and distributing the survey.

I am also going to distribute posters around places I know where people might be interested, and make it varied so that a wide a selection of people as possible are surveyed.

Production Challenges

It’s ambitious

Oh yes it is! This is not a simple project: this has many different stages and facets that need to work together. I will tackle these by breaking everything into stages with a schedule and plans to clearly communicate to participants and partners.

Talking of partners …

I’d like to team up with Artillery Arts, Rabbit Road Press and Paekarikiriki Press so that it is truly community-based. Artillery Arts have a strong base in the area and facilitate projects regularly. RRP and PP are riso and letterpress printers respectively and I hope they will be part of this so that the publication can be produced. I need to make contact with this organisations soon to build a basis of the project.

Have you ever designed a typeface before?

Well … no. Not completely. To produce this I need to get my education hat on ASAP to learn and to sign up to masterclasses where my work can be refined and critiqued.

Have you ever run a session at this scope before?

Nope. I’m nervous about running workshops, but I can’t progress to be the designer I want to be working the projects I want to work on without starting somewhere. I will enlist the help of my arts facilitator flatmate to structure and run sessions.

How are you going to attract people to come?

I’m hoping the survey will at least make people aware that something is happening, and start to build a following through partners and social media.

What about Covid-19? How are you going to keep people safe?

This project is community-based and needs people to meet in some way or another. Ideally, this would be in person, but I need to make this safe. I would run workshops at the Mill, a community space, and have reduced numbers and safety precautions.

In your survey you mention running sessions for children. How are you planning to keep them safe?

Running sessions for children, and any adults too, requires safeguarding. I would apply for a DRB check and provide all details, and invite their carer to come with them.

Finally, finances. How are you going to pay for it?

I can’t self-finance this, and so I would build the project to make it eligible for funding from the National Lottery, Arts Council and see if there is any local funding. I don’t want to charge people to come to the sessions or contribute. The publication will be available for sale, which will help finance the project and the created typeface will be free for personal use, but charged for commercial and online use.

One page report

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