Visual Experiments: Motifs

Apart from the typefaces, I want to have motifs to use throughout.

letter grid

I used this lettergrid in my previous hand-in and I want to carry on with it. It can be used as a feature or a texture, and shows the full range we can push letters whilst they retain their legibility.

Threads

Because of my background in sewing, I’ve always been intrigued by using threads and lines to draw together and divide. By connecting different elements I can spark different associations in people’s minds, and as I plan to have a printed object as part of my hand-in, I can used actual thread for the binding and across pages.

I’d like these to have more of a texture, and I experimented with different implements.

I can use images of the same location from the past and present to show the difference between the typogrphy used. For example, St James Street:

This is what I can do to show images front different eras and how the time has changed.

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Visual Experiments: Logo

As you know, this project came from a previous module, and so I have a fair amount of branding already done. Still, I think it’s good to test out a few things to make sure I can make the best out of it.

Typefaces

I am using the typefaces Archia (san serif) and Calendas (serif) from the Atipo Foundry – I like pairing the typefaces from the same foundry as it gives a more cohesive feel. Both have a few difference styles in the font families, but not so many to be overwhelming. Calendas Plus is a serif font with a pleasing stroke contrast and is suitable for long stretches of text. It also has some interesting discretionary ligatures as extra glyphs (see the as and us below) that give it a special feel without being too distracting for the reader.

Archia has a modern geometric feel that contrasts to the traditional feel of Calendas. The ‘a’ is single story, like Calendas, and some letters like the lowercase ‘l’ have slab serifs to make reading easier. The descender of the ‘g’ has a flattened base, and the ampersand has a flattened top loop, which gives it some distinction. It can be used for very heavy text, for captions in small sizes, or in lightweight spaced capitals for headings.

Licenses

I’ve checked the licenses for these typefaces and I can use them for what I want. I have bought them.

“this font family can be used for personal and commercial works. you can use this font at a single home or business location on a maximum of five (5) cpus.

  • you can do any kind of design work with this font family, including logo/trademarks design.
  • the font may be used in editable embedding pdfs and other similar documents.
  • the font may be used in e-publications.
  • this font family can be embed into one (1) website (unlimited pageviews) so that it can be displayed on any browser.”

The logotype uses a scribbled graphic style that is used to sketch out how a typeface might look in the first stages:

The top line has been drawn over with felttip pen to give a pleasing ragged edge then scanned.

I wanted to experiment with the thickness and density of the scribbles making up the letters, so used different pens, pencils, crayon and charcoal with varying strokes to achieve this. Here are my experiments and notation about what worked and what didn’t.

I also found that I like the ‘e’ tilted so that the crossbar is pointing upwards rather than horizontal.

I do really like the current logo because Stowe has a pleasing weight and neatness that I didn’t achieve in the new experiments whilst still retaining a craftiness. I don’t like writing the Framework underneath – I’d rather have it typed – because it provides contrast and looks more polished.

January: Halfway Feedback

It is really interesting to read the feedback that Stuart and Susanna gave back to me in December. Having taken a break over Christmas to give myself a rest in this hectic time, I’ve come back with a rested mind a motivation refreshed. As such, I feel in a really good position to take a look at the feedback and work out where I need to push my project further. I’ve focussed on these bits!

You are drilling into areas that can potentially bring new debate into the discipline about culture and representation. You need to really consider how you can focus this, ask the right questions to gather research that investigates this properly. This will come in stages but what is lacking from your proposed workshops is the
narrative from peoples own diverse perspectives beyond images.

That’s really nice to hear, and I appreciate being told I need to get a different perspective from my workshops. I had thought about conducting a survey where people could type in their results and really draw the narrative out, so I think I should follow that. I’ll draft the questions and post them up. I do agree with this feedback, because my project doesn’t elicit this kind of contribution from the audience yet, and I really want it.

Action plan

  • Draft survey questions and set up
  • Include on website and desseminate

“It is great to see you searching and engaging with others practice but where is your critical analysis, or the context in relation to your own work? Tell us.”

Ooops! At the end of last term I was really exhausted and posted up so much but I know I didn’t critically reflect well enough, at least on my blog. I think I’ve done a much better job in my draft critical report, however, I’ve not posted that up because I didn’t want to begin duplicating things and losing my train of thought. I wonder if I should go back and include this now, but I think if I write up my critical report now and then retroactively amend the post I won’t confuse myself so much.

Part of my reticence in doing in last term is that I’m very unsure in the language to use. I read critical pieces of work and they use vocabulary to critique that seems so far beyond my own that I get that imposter syndrome feeling. Still, I need to do it, even if I use a different kind of language.

Action plan

  • Carry on researching and including others’ work
  • Research on how to critically review. This piece from UCL is about critiques as a larger writing genre, however it does include a list of how to evaluate source texts. I will endeavour to use this and include my thoughts on my blogs as well as critical report.

In the workshop participant information sheet it would be good to encourage people
to collect / document lettering that means something to them. The shop signs they
use/ see, the hand created signage, etc- I think you might need to empasise or
make more links to encourage them to document from their own personal / cultural
perspectives to get interesting results perhaps. And ask them to describe not just
document – it is the narrative that is interesting.

Again, this focusses on building the narrative. I was so focussed on making the tasks easy that I forgot why I was asking them. I’ll go back and look and see how to tie it together. I wonder if the survey can help address this.

There is too much text for the people you wish to engage all in one document.
Have you considered doing video intros to the project? It is far more human. You
can still have the text copies but you need to think about how to engage people
when their first language is not English, who are not academic, who might feel
intimidated by the way you are introducing the project. I think you need to be more
creative here. Who have you consulted with about what are the most effective
methods to use?

Your project is dynamic and human but your intro to it via a text heavy document
is dry and overwhelming- this will put many people off. Many people won’t know
what you are going on about they have not been on your journey with your project. They do not know what typography means. How can you illustrate what you want
via a short video piece? Make it human…. Make it visual… Make is accessible…. If
there are human conversations- videos – examples etc that can be shown to hook
people in the text can follow but do not rely on these documents to get
participants. How are you sending these out and to whom? Are you working with a
local voluntary service- how can you work with them to intro the project? How will
people get help in terms of accessibility – language etc?

I think this feedback repeats a lot and deals with a lot of the same issues. I need to make my project more use friendly, really! I didn’t think of doing videos, although I know that Artillery Arts do find them useful for projects, especially in the early days of Covid. Perhaps this is something that I could do in the mornings before work and put up onto the website.

It’s always a balance between too much information and explaining it well, and perhaps paper isn’t the best initial way to introduce it to people. I’d still like to have paper so that people can have something concrete to refer back to, but I do like their idea of videos to introduce people who aren’t confident reading English or prefer to engage in a different way.

I’m struggling to know how to include different languages, as I am a typical English monoglot. I could try reaching out to different organisations to see if they could help me translate to the other common languages in the area.

Action plan

  • I have cut down the forms a little already, but will go a little further
  • Write and structure videos
  • Make videos, which I think should be easy enough to bring together on the website.

I would like to see more theoretical research into participatory research methods –
you must demonstrate you have done your research thoroughly in this area. You
have delved well into research relating to typography but not enough into socially
engaged design/ participatory design/ co design etc and the vast amount published
in this area.

This is really interesting, and I will do this!

Action plan

  • Research the theory behind research methods and write about them in my critical report
  • Copy to the blog!

Right now, I’ve lost a bit of oomph to analyse the feedback further and will get to work on my action points instead.