Week 4: Project overview and feedback

What I did

  • Submitted an ethical review and recieved feedback (see below)
  • Looked at a well-implemented shop design project in Hoe Street

What i plan to do

Implement the feedback given below into my project

For submission on Friday, here are my PDFs:

I think that I could narrow down my timeline a little better, but it feels like such early days that I don’t want to commit to something that I can’t meet. On the other hand, I could commit to a schedule and then explain why I do or don’t make it.

Official Feedback

We’ve been told to critically view our feedback, and I have some thoughts on this. My comments in italics below:

Your research question is clear and you have a strong direction in mind. We’re particularly interested in the multiculturalism aspect and how typography can aid community and inclusivity. This will involve a lot of research into the contemporary history of migration on your area, which will be fascinating.
With regards to ethnicity in relation to your project and the participants I feel you need to be very sensitive in your use of language- in your consent forms for example and with the project in all forms of communication and interaction. Please look at this article and rethink your categories – this is important to address. It’s got useful tips on appropriate language to use.

I’d like to raise something that I feel will be pertinent to the whole group. In my Participant Information form, I asked people to identify their heritage using the government census style guide categories (see link) as I thought that this would be the most appropriate. Granted, these were used in 2011 and I can’t get access for the ones to be used in 2021 yet. I was therefore surprised that  I was told “Please look at this article and rethink your categories – this is important to address.” when none of the language described as problematic in said article was used – the categories give nuance as described and none of the acronyms or “BAME” that’s been considered problematic for a while now.

There are lots and lots of typographers to potentially interview, but it would be good to focus on designers that have experience working within a similar area. Colophon spring to mind and you could revisit their interview in GFE720. Here’s an archive of global type foundries http://typefoundries-archive.com/. Contact Alistair Hall from We Made this about his street signage book in London which looks at history and place. Listen to others about what local typographic vernacular means to people in the community – whether enforced or co created, Where does it sit, what is its function etc etc Kellenbeger-White have done some lovely participatory
workshops in relation to co building an identity for a space. http://www.kellenberger-white.com.

Great links, I’ll take a look at this! I want to think big about people to contact, but I have found that people are very slow to respond in this climate and are overrun.

There is lots out there to get informed about. What research methodologies exist that link to your work?

Good point, I have found an MA project that describes well what kind of research methodologies she used, so I am getting a feel of how to describe this.

I’d also love to hear people talk about their memories of typography in Walthamstow, from a young age growing up in a multicultural area to first becoming aware of different ethnicities and language through shop fronts, signage, posters, music, branding etc. This could form another part of a project, which could be print or moving image. A series of video interviews would be amazing, but might be difficult to conduct in the current climate.

I agree: video interviews are difficult to conduct and potentially losing sight of the design, as below? I wonder if there is a different way to go about this.

When speaking to the 20 community members, try and gain a balance between background, race, gender, age and position. An insight into how Walthamstow has changed over the recent generation, through the lens of vernacular typography is fascinating. Take a look at the Outsider Art series of documentaries, presented by Jarvis Cocker. It’s always amazing to see original and unexpected examples of creativity by people without any formal art training.

Cool, I’ll check these out.

You mention creating a business plan / academic study as a final outcome but please don’t lose sight of the potential to be very creative and expressive in the project. There’s a lot of exciting scope here that could also be included in a presentation.

What do the tutors mean by “presentation” here? My outcome is not going to be a pat-on-the-back slideshow in front of a design festival. There are two ways of thinking about this project: a testing phase to which I practise and draw conclusions on which to form a bigger project. For a bigger project, I need funding and therefore, I need a business plan or funding application that uses numbers and measurable outcomes. Or, it can be of itself and limited because I don’t have the time (yet I checked on deadlines) to make it bigger. I think I can present an outcome as a midway point that shows my research in a creative way that can form part of a prospective funding application.

Your critical path is clear, but spend more time making the right connections and start this process now. This information and insight will underpin your project and it’s important to gather the right people to help.

Don’t lose sight of developing your design practice at every stage of this project, starting now. A pitfall could be getting lost in funding applications, project management and leaving the design aspect as a secondary consideration.

See, I do have an issue with this, because we’ve been told not to focus to much on the outcome yet so that we can allow our findings to not have too much definition yet. Oh, my designs have an established style guide already, and will be stunning. But … you’ve asked not to see them yet. I cut out all funding application ambitions before submitting this, as you can see in the development of my blog, restricted the number of people and workshops, so I think that the tutors are working with an outdated idea of my project rather than my submission.

A DBS check would be necessary in relation to your project.

I will get on that!

Your final project is all about bringing context and broader discussion to an idea in the field, This project certainly has the potential to do this.

Yes, it does.


Week 1: Workshop Ideas

My flatmate is the co-founder of Knots Arts, a non-for-profit that runs arts programmes for children and people with autistic spectrum condition. She is uniquely positioned to help me create sessions that will engage with people. Here are my thoughts of what I need to consider before my meeting with her.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

Area Survey

Participants walk around Walthamstow and are given a set of tasks. For example, take a picture of a shop sign, of a non-latin alphabet, of a way-finding sign. They are asked to mark down where they saw them. They are asked to pick one or two other examples of typography they see that interest them. They are given a toolbox of words to help describe the typeface and why they have chosen it. They submit their images and where they walked.

For each category (i.e. shop sign) participants pick the ones we like the most and why we like them – use sticky dots

Covid-19/ethics safe

  • Groups are 5 or less (6 including guide) led by DBS facilitator
  • Participants download worksheets and do this on their own or small groups
Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

Glyph generation

From the photos they took on the above exercise, or others, they start to identify shapes and patterns they can use to draw a glyph. On worksheets they create a single glyph which is saved and add to the bank

Covid-19/ethics safe

  • Groups are 5 or less (6 including guide) led by DBS facilitator in a public Covid-safe space
  • Participants download worksheets and do this on their own or small groups at home
Photo by mentatdgt on Pexels.com

Discussions about typography

Participants can learn more about typography and the history of Walthamstow to inform them about local history

  • Groups are 5 or less (6 including guide) led by DBS facilitator in a public Covid-safe space
  • Participants watch online talks filmed for the project
Photo by Pragyan Bezbaruah on Pexels.com

For Kids – 5 years +

Physical activity using type – how does this type make you feel? Is it spiky, scary, safe, soft, fun?

What does Walthamstow mean to you? (or a more kid-friendly question)

What do you see a lot of around Walthamstow?

Can you daw a letter that reminds you of Walthamstow?


How do I gather data that will be Covid safe and fit tech-savvy people and people less-so?