Output 1: Maps Inspiration

Psychogeography maps:


Denis Wood

Denis Wood, co-author of Making Maps, has been working on an atlas of the Boylan Heights neighborhood in Raleigh, North Carolina since the mid 1970s. The atlas, which has never been published in its entirety, is called Dancing and Singing: A Narrative Atlas of Boylan Heights.

narrative | Making Maps: DIY Cartography

Subversive cartographies

Bill Bunge


Cultural archives

Waltham Forest Oral History Project

Cultural Archives

There are many cultural projects in the borough, and two that stand out are Waltham Forest Oral History Workshop and the Facebook page “Walthamstow In Pictures”. The Waltham Forest Oral History Workshop has recorded residents’ stories for over thirty years, bringing the area’s history to life. Each record is unique, and it is possible to see trends of people making their homes here. The project is an outstanding example of the qualitative archives possible within a community, and it inspires my aims for Stowe Framework because it captures a wide range of views.

As another example, the Facebook page “Walthamstow In Pictures” publishes people’s photos of the area and have built up an enviable local archive. Rick, the person behind the page, has shared his motivation behind starting and maintaining the page, saying that he loves “love reading comments on the shared photos. [The sharing of photos has facilitated] childhood reunions [and] even families who lost touch with each other.” He preferred to keep his identity to himself as he feels that the page works best from an anonymous point of view. This approach has worked, as he has thousands of photos in organised albums on a page that has upwards of eighteen thousand followers.

This building is called the Ancient House

 The advent of social media has allowed keen amateur historians to build archives as they wish and enables the community to interact more easily. In comparison, the local archives stored at Vestry House Museum are available only in person and subject to curation. Above shows the comments and discussions on the photos. They are of equal importance because they collate memories that form the area’s history, readily as part of people’s everyday social media communication. 

If any fault were to be found with Walthamstow in Pictures, it would be that Facebook optimises the images and making them part of the Facebook infrastructure means it will be difficult to migrate the archive to another system later. Despite this, Rick’s work to maintain and increase the archive is focused and is to be applauded.

After the discussion of the term ‘vernacular’ above, the Waltham Forest Oral History Workshop and Walthamstow in Pictures are examples of vernacular archives. However, they are described as such not to deride these collections; instead, to differentiate between the origins of the archives and the easy way people engage with them. These collections have equal importance to the formal histories we see in museums and official online archives.

Week 17 Overview

Output development

I went looking for other projects to see what had been done with type for MA projects and came across this one from Daniel Stuhlpfarrer. He created a variable font with masters that mixed to create a unique font based on your personality after you answered a series of questions. His aim was to find “the effect that a cooperation between man and machine has on the design of type and what a future of type design could look like as a result”. I think it’s effective because the user gets a unique font for themselves informed by their own input, and it is like the user, machine, and Stuhlpfarrer create together.

Daniel Stuhlpfarrer’s work isn’t local and seeks to examine a speculative question; mine is very local and has a set question. Does type inform the personality, or personality the type? This is the case of one personality informing one typeface, so what happens when thousands of typefaces are combined to create a culture?

Thinking about online outputs though could be a neat way to present my project.

Online Tools

So with people’s contributions, I could create an online where people can see their letters. It could work with simple glyphs …or the big filled-in letters. It can give details about the letter and contributor.

It could be a neat online way to show people’s contributions rather than printing them all, and the gallery can make a piece of art, like above. I can do this easily using a CMS based gallery and worksheet. I haven’t asked people to design glyphs like this, but if I took the project forward and ran talks about typography, I could launch a new phase of the project.

Saw Type Development

Previous post.

From this image of sawtooth industrial roofs,. Walthamstow has an industrial past, with the London Rubber Company and film studies setting up in the early twentieth century.

The shape of the saw tooth roof intrigued me, and I saw the motif everywhere, from the top of gates and on modern residential buildings.

The sawtooth looks very much like a capital M, so I started building the typeface from this. A few sketches of my first type and how I could keep lines straight rather than use curves:

I built up a few template lines to be able to keep them consistent, with notched edges like to make the shapes more interesting. The typeface is designed as an upper case only typeface.

I really love how the A and V letters in the examples below fit into each other and how letters such as H and T are ligatures:

So I thought that some glyphs can have a slant in different directions that can also be used for an italic version:

I thought about, if I wanted different weights, how to break down the strokes:

After a tutorial, Stuart recommended Emigre magazine for typefaces as a way to play around. As you can see they used pieces of paper to angle lines in the same way I use grey boxes!

I really liked the E’s at the time, and wanted to use that diagonal detail. In the diagram below, I also try to make an O, which I was ultimately unhappy with.

After I’ve sketched out the components, I copy the features to a new board and expanded the experience.

Getting the Glyphs into Glyphs 3 🙂

This will continue to develop! Next post here.

Week 15 Overview

In the last week’s post I talked about making videos for the activities.

So how did it go?

Rather disastrously. Over this course, I have got used to hearing myself talk, particularly when doing the Studio & Entrepreneurship module, but video is still profoundly uncomfortable. I tried to do everything to make myself be comfortable: smart clothes, nice makeup, sitting on the floor, a script, a flexible arm for my phone for optimal angles etc but still I think this comes across as stiff and stilted:

I honestly understand why Susannah suggested I do one, but I think this will put people off more than it attracts them. I’m going to just put them to one side, and if I have to redo them ask a friend to help film and edit them.

Weeks 14 Overview

Over the past weeks, I have tried to follow the advice given to me in the halfway feedback: to make videos to introduce my activities. This is great feedback, and I appreciate how much the videos presented throughout this course have enabled me to engage with the content and the activities. Some people don’t like reading, or like reading for extensive periods, and by making videos I have the chance to present myself and my project and give people a sense of me. By seeing my face and me taking about my project, it gives me a big opportunity to grab people and encourage them to be involved.


I want the videos to be really slick and for me to come across like I know what I’m talking about, so I wrote scripts. I know the activities, I know the context but sometimes I babble. I don’t want this babble to put people off or confuse people. I want my videos to be as clear as possible. This is what I want to say:

Introduction video

Video 1: Brief Introduction

[SF logo and introduction]

[Video of me]: Hi, my name is AnnaI live in E17 and I am studying for a Masters in Graphic Design. I want to ask the Walthamstow community, to ask you, about your views about the typography and lettering in the area.

[Slide saying typography]So what is typography?

Lettering, basically, is letters of our alphabet and how they are formed. Typography can also be called lettering, and I will use the term lettering from now on. 

[Speech bubbles drawing conversation] Lettering is how communicate visually with each other and share information without speaking.

Lettering can be simple, or decorative and anywhere in between. [Simple and decorative]

Everyday we see hundreds of examples of lettering in the world around us. We see door numbers, road signs, advertisements, street art, timetables. If it has letters or numbers, it is lettering.

We don’t usually pay attention to this lettering unless we need to, but every piece forms a part of or community. It tells us a story of who we are and our history.

For example, walking down Walthamstow High Street, there are lots of shop signs in English, in Polish, in Bulgarian, in Tamil. This is because Walthamstow is one of the most multi-cultural boroughs in the country, and people coming to the area are welcomed to the community. The lettering we see on the high street is reflective who we are.

Lettering goes beyond this: it is not just the language, it how they are displayed. Are the letterings big and bold? Are they in bright colours? Do the letters have loops and flourishes? What are they made out of – metal, wood, vinyl?

[Video of me]In this project, I would like you to take notice of the lettering in Walthamstow, E17, and tell me what you think of it. You don’t need to be an artist, or a designer, or know anything about lettering – you only need to think about what the lettering in Walthamstow means to you. Maybe some lettering feels welcoming, and others imposing. Some lettering might brighten your day, and some might annoy you.

If you’ve lived in the area for some time, what are your memories of the place and what you got up to in your free time? I’d love to here your 

I am creating some workshop activities that you can do in a Covid-safe manner and on your daily exercise walks. To find out more, click on the Workshops link at the top of the website.

Thank you, and I look forward to seeing what you create!

[End with links to Instagram and website]

Treasure Hunt

Video 2: Treasure Hunt

[SF logo and introduction]

[Video of me]: Hi, my name is AnnaI live in E17 and I am studying for a Masters in Graphic Design. I want to ask the Walthamstow community, to ask you, about your views about the typography and lettering in the area.

This is a video explaining the Type Treasure Hunt workshop. I’ve made a video explaining about the project and you can see it on the Homepage of my website.

[Slide saying Type Treasure Hunt]

The Type Treasure Hunt is an activity of exploration and looking around you in E17! What I would like you to do is to take some time to look at your environment on your daily walk and spot examples of lettering. I have some prompts for you, so I would like you to find examples of lettering that fit that prompt.

You’ll need a camera or a camera on a phone and the worksheet that you can download below and take out with you.

Prompt Number one is “a handwritten piece of lettering”. Maybe you go out and see a notice in a newsagent, or on a chalk board. Take a photo on your camera and mark it as done. Then move onto the next one. You can do them in any order your please, and take photos in one go or many goes.

Some lettering that you see might fit more than one example. For example, this lettering is handwritten and in all capital letters. Take the photo for one prompt, say hand-written, and take another photo for CAPITAL Letters.

The first fifteen prompts ask you to look for lettering that has certain characteristics and the next five ask you to find lettering that makes you feel something. Walthamstow is said to be a very welcoming place, so is there a piece of lettering that makes you feel welcomed. 

As an example, for me, this lettering makes me feel joyful because it is bright colours and makes me laugh.

I have a few tips for you! When taking your photo, try to go into the lettering as close as possible, like this, rather than far off. Look up at the sky and down at the ground to appreciate things you might not have paid attention to before. Also, don’t include people In your photos if at all possible!

When you’re done, please send me the photos! Rename them to the prompt they describe, like 03.jpg and send them to me by email at hello@stoweframework.co.uk or upload them to the website at stoweframework.co.uk/submit-treasurehunt

Thank you, and I look forward to seeing what you find!

Letter Drawing

[SF logo and introduction]

[Video of me]: Hi, my name is AnnaI live in E17 and I am studying for a Masters in Graphic Design. I want to ask the Walthamstow community, to ask you, about your views about the typography and lettering in the area.

This is a video explaining the Letter Drawing workshop. I’ve made a video explaining about the project and you can see it on the Homepage of my website.

[Slide saying Letter Drawing]

The Type Treasure Hunt is a creative activity of exploration and looking around you in E17! What I would like you to do is to take some time to look at your environment on your daily walk and spot examples of lettering. I have some prompts for you, so I would like you to find examples of lettering that fit that prompt.

As I said in my introduction video, Lettering can be very simple, or very decorative. [Simple and decorative]

Lettering can be very ornate and include drawings of people, plants and objects inside or around them. You often see illuminated letters in religious texts, for example (Bible and Koran)

Illuminated letters aren’t only used in religious texts. William Morris, who grew up in Walthamstow, used illuminated letters in his books by his publishing press and the often included floral and leaf motifs. 

Louis John Pouchay lived in London and also decorated letters with things that were important to him, like fruit and agricultural motifs. 

These all look old-fashioned, so what would they look like if we decorated letters now? What I would like you to do is to decorate a letter with images of Walthamstow that are special to you. You can pick any letter of the alphabet and download a template below. Here is a letter that I drew earlier, in classic Blue Petter style.

For this letter, I am going to add some patterns from Walthamstow. We have lots of sawtooth roofs In the industrial parks and the pattern is repeated in the new housing developments too. In the shadow of the letter I have included famous William Morris patterns.

Here there is the Walthamstow tube sign, and the town hall clock surrounded by hearts. I’ve drawn a picture of the Saturday market. On the left I have birds and fish from the nearby Wetlands and a beautiful sunset that we’re lucky to have so many of. At the top I’ve drawn a rainbow because I’ve seen on my daily walks to thank essential workers for this year.

This letter has the sights of Walthamstow to show you all the types of things you can include, and feel free to draw what ever this area means to you!

I’ve started to colour it in a bit, with bright colours! I’m not much of a sketcher, I’ll be honest, so I’ve used pictures that I’ve drawn on my computer! You can draw in your letter, paint, collage, or a combination. 

When you’re done, please send me your letter! Scan it in or take a photo and send them to me by email at hello@stoweframework.co.uk.

Thank you, and I look forward to seeing what you find!

I think this is all rather neat and well put. Next week I’ll show you what I’ve got!

Community Activities live

AREA SUrvey 

I devised the first activity of Stowe Framework and detailed the results of the first alpha test here. In the Area Survey, the participants are asked to take a short walk around an area of E17 and take photographs of typography (or lettering, as I described it) and remember where they took them. When they returned home, they choose five examples of lettering, mark the examples’ positions on a map of Walthamstow and answer some questions. One purpose of the activity was to add more examples to the photo archive. More than that, the underlying motive is to enable the participants to start thinking about how they undertake the challenge. In asking them to submit only five examples to me, they curate their experience rather than unthinkingly responding.

I have copied out the questions with my reasons for asking:

Looking at your photos, did you start to favour certain types of lettering? Can you guess why that might have been?

Here, I want the participants to notice patterns about their preferences and a reason for their bias. For example, a couple of remaining ghost signs feature advertisements for printing presses and typewriters, and the owner of a local publisher might find these fascinating. I intend these to lead to further qualitative research between myself and the participant.

Did you stick to a route, or did you let yourself wander? Did anything draw you off your expected route? What was it?

I am curious about the participant’s mindset: do they start with a rigid plan, or do they wander? How they react to unexpected stimuli? The questions are deliberately broken down into easy clauses to allow comprehension by many people.

Did you find the lettering you were expecting? What surprised you?

Like the questions above, I want to understand the participant’s preconceptions and if they are open to being challenged.

What do you think the lettering tells you about the area you surveyed? What kind of lettering would you like to see more of in E17?

Now, I am eliciting their opinion of what the lettering says about their area rather than speculating, and giving them a chance to shape the area in the future.

Week 13: activity development

A lot of my feedback from December focussed around the activities, as this was the most significant part of what I passed by the tutors. I’ve gone back and worked on them several times, run them by people in the community and who run local workshops, and I have also passed it by Cassie Yates of Knots Arts CIC who regularly engages people in participatory arts projects. Here is where they are:

Most of the changes focus on the language that I use: although I had attempted to make it suitable for a non-design audience, Cassie Yates suggested that I make some changes. Typography has become lettering: even though the words are not technically interchangeable, people are more likely to recognise what lettering is and the word sounds less intimidating. Sentences are broken down and relevant information more visible by cutting out extraneous details. It is a hard balance: to give the reader enough information in order to complete the task and not leave them confused but not overwhelm them with detail. However, with feedback from Cassie I feel like the balance has been reached.

Week 13 Overview

And at the end of January, Week 13 begins! I wasn’t idle with the course and used the time to do research and have an experiment. In all:


This week we had a webinar, and here is my presentation for it:

There are some links that people recommended to me:


Stuart put me onto a Studio that used to be in Walthamstow and thought they might have an interesting perspective. I haven’t heard back yet!

Daire’s Interviews

Daire’s interviews for his final output where listed as a good resource for me to look at.

Other media – TikTok and Facebook

Alice suggested I get on TikTok, which pains me, but I know is good to do.