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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

Week 12: Walthamstow Echo article

I am going to promote the project by writing an article for the local paper. I’ve been given 400 words, aimed at a non-designer audience. Here we go.

The Heart of Awesomestow. Corner shop signs. Grocery prices. What do these have in common? They are all examples of lettering in Walthamstow, and lettering is meaningful because it forms part of our social backdrop.

Although we might not realise, lettering is one of the first things we learn at school. When we pick up a pencil to form the lines of a capital T’s, the circles of O’s and the triangles of an M, we are engaging with the design of letters, or, in ‘design speak’, typography. We learn to leave a little space between letters, and more space between words, to write what we want to say. It doesn’t matter which language we first learn to read and write; the principle of moving a pencil across a surface to create a mark is universal. As we grow, our writing gets steadier, and we progress from focussing on how we form the letters to how we can communicate with those around us.

We retain the skills to create letters and forget we learnt them, and yet, how words are displayed affect what we feel about people, places and things. Each piece of lettering in Walthamstow tells us a story of the person who wrote (or designed) it and the community around them, whether we realise it or not. Combining them gives us our collective history of an innovative and welcoming area that thrives when we celebrate our community.

I am an MA Graphic Design student, and I want to engage people in the Walthamstow community in a conversation about the lettering we see in the area and how it creates a sense of place. It doesn’t matter whether you are interested in lettering or if you have never thought about it before; I’d like to hear from as many people as possible.

I have created workshops for you to participate in, including a type treasure hunt, letter drawing, and type walks around E17 and am excited to share them with you at Visit the website to download the activity sheets and contribute to the study. The activities are all free, aimed at those aged 18 years and over, and can be done individually or in Covid-19 compliant small groups.

I posted it on the ideas wall and Tony gave me some feedback:

FInal piece

Week 11 Overview

What I did

What I plan to do

  • Draft an advertorial article for Waltham Forest Echo to get people to participate in the project

AcTIvity Feedback

So, after getting some good feedback from my flatmate Cassie, here are the latest sheets:

As you can see, I’ve made it printer friendly (black toner only) and addressed the issue of ethnic background that Susanna brought up. Participants can now write their own ethnic background as they choose.

The activities have examples, clearer instructions and are less wordy:

I managed to get a map in my using the software QGIS that is Illustrator for maps. I downloaded open source data from Ordinance Survey and had a play. Perhaps it would have been neat to show you the process in a video, but the programme took up most of my RAM, and so I avoided all other processes running at the same time. Even so, it crashed several times. So, please trust that I went from zero to semi-hero in a couple of days to get the map in the format I wanted. I want to include other maps in my final hand-in, and this will be a great way to build them.

It’s really important that the people taking part can see how big and wide the E17 postcode is and that they can wander around their homes, it doesn’t have to be on the high street.

Week 11: Print Inspiration

At this point, I am thinking of creating a printed design outcome, and as I am going around the internet, I have found some sources of inspiration.

I like how this format folds out to be a square – it is a nice format and slightly unusual
A bright and bold look at how you can display typefaces within a publication
Bright typeface format with stretrched and condensed letters
Lots of type on the cover
Use as section breaks? Wow at this typeface!
Strong colour theme
Section introduction with photo and bold typeface
Colour stock
Different presentations of the same letter
Bright typeface showcase

Week 10: Process

Action Plan

Something I need to create …


I’ve got my workshops to a point, and now I would like to get some feedback so that I know how to progress. My flatmate facilitates workshops like this and has said that she will help me. Here’s the point I got up to beforehand:

and her feedback is …


I want to have a good map of the E17 area so that people can mark their photos on it. I am going to experiment with GQIS to get a good quality version.

See the progress of the above here.


I’ve set up my instragram account for Stowe Framework and have been building a following in the area using hashtags. Since I created it, I have gained 56 followers. Here are my insights this far:

For my website I’ve tried to get things going, I think it will be easier to know what to put when I have the workshops together.

To get connected to the community, I have asked if I can promote the project in the local Social Distance mag that has been publishing over the past eight months or so. It publishes about quarterly so I need to get my piece in the next one publishing in January, else it will be too late.

Social Distance

I don’t want just an advert: I want the readers to get something out of it too and to draw them in. One of my activities is going to be for people to draw in letters what Walthamstow means to them. This is in the vein of Louis John Pouchée:


Of course, William Morris and Kelmscott Press did a lot of illuminated letters, like this:

William Morris

But I think that Pouchée’s letters give more scope for people to create a drawing about Walthamstow for themselves. Pouchée’s letterforms are heaver than Morris’s and show a more diverse range of subject rather than Morris’s natural twining flowers and leaves. Of course, Walthamstow is still very green, but I want to persuade participants to show their parts of Walthamstow instead, and thus Pouchée makes a better example. I’m taking a part of Walthamstow history, but changing it to make it fit today.

So, in a W, I am going to draw main highlights of Walthamstow in black and white so that people can colour it in. It gives something to them, and if they are interested in drawing their own letter they can participate in the project.

A bit like this:


25th November
After feedback from coworker

I am much happier with this poster because it explains why I am putting advert up and draws people in more!

Week 9: Feedback from Panel ReVIew

In Week 8 we had a panel review. I thought mine went well, despaite some technical hiccups! Here is what the panel said:

Mark Rudd

A great presentation and a subject which is bound to be interesting on many levels. I agree with what others said – this will be more interesting if it is aimed towards people who are not designers, more towards local people, with a view to encouraging dialogue and community. Also with a view to historical interest – again, interesting to local people, not just designers. 

It is great to think about this being a model for a project that could happen all over, nationally, maybe even internationally. With this in mind, it would be good to consider the name. Stowe Framework references Walthamstow… maybe there should be a parent brand name, like PlaceType, or CommunityType, or something much better than that! And then you would have Walthamstow, (or Hull, or Rome) underneath the parent brand name. Just a thought! 

Bryan Clark

  • Focusing on vernacular typography – to capture cultural identity place and time of Walthamstow – really great!
  • What else might it show, change in racial balance, political or faiths etc…
  • Good workshops about curating local identity – is it a period of time and how can reveal the unseen – I prefer the idea of working with residents as opposed to designers
  • Is a glyph workshop a long shot – good for designers but interested more in community response
  • Phil Baines and others work in this field – so what could you do that is new and will give them a run for their money.
  • Good to see feedback on the project at the end slide
  • Final question around how lettering and type gives a sense of home – more emotional connections, like lettering on railway bridges and a broader mosaic of visual connections

Anna Mankee- Williams

I like the project and it speaks to the connectivity of life,(and how disconnectedness with our environment can have huge impact. Arguably place and people cannot be separated (although we work hard to do just that!) Consider:

  • Understanding the culture and sub culture of a place through the lens of this project
  • Has Covid altered the sense of place (are people spending more time locally – has that had an impact)
  • What are the threats to the vernacular and will there be a pivot back to protection of the vernacular?
  • Where can this project impact most powerfully?

Rosanna Vitiello

Great borough to work in and work on hyper-local vernacular seems like it’s really missing I would find this very valuable in my line of work

How do human’s shape a sense of place
What are the stories behind the type?
What do we do with this new knowledge of vernacular once we have it?How are we codifying subcultures? And multiculturalism?

Look at England In Particular —
How can you involve community members in something as specific as type?
How can you bring them in? And what might they do differently as a result?


Great presentation and well handled with the technical issues! I really love the look and feel of your project, it already has a strong identity which is great. I’m interested to see how you market this and get people signing up to take part! Do you think this would be somewhat weather dependent and will this impact when you launch the workshops? 

I know one of your external collaborators mentioned their concerns about doing this during the pandemic, but I think there’s plenty you can do to make it work – it might not be exactly as you envisioned it pre-covid but the tweaks you have to make could end up improving it. Will there be any focus on the wellbeing benefits of taking part, a bit like Ella’s project? As it is again encouraging people to connect with their local area, giving people something different to focus on etc. 

– Have you thought of how you will adapt to the current covid crisis in terms of the workshops?
– How can you use social media and digital marketing to enhance the project.
– Will you promote the work produced in the workshops?
– Could you target other industries to attend workshops as group team building activities. How would those industries approach the workshops differently?

My thoughts

It might seem big-headed to evaluate my feedback, but I see it as a way of really honing in on what the panellists are saying and how I can progress with the project. I doubt I’ll be able to do everything that is suggested of me, so I am going to figure out what is the most useful and what falls outside the remit of what I can do.

The common theme is that although the panellists they were interested in local designers’ thoughts, they thought I should focus on the community’s responses. I really do intend to do that! Maybe they were just making sure that I do, or maybe my presentation didn’t emphasise my true intentions. Either way, that’s something that I need to highlight when I next show my project to someone.

Covid also pops up a lot, and it has been always on my mind. I’m trying to balance the possibility vs the reality of what I can do. My workshops are designed to be self-led, and so I need to be able to describe what I want well. For the glyph workshop I have toyed with the idea of making a video-led workshop that people can follow.

The feedback has also suggested I look into the world beyond this project: taking it outside Walthamstow. Mark Rudd suggested changing the name to make it less Walthamstow focussed. I did think of TypePlace and CommuniType as names, but ti seems they have already been taken. While I do see his point, I have shortened the name to its suffix that means ‘meeting place’ and I so like that the name has ties to its origins. Maybe I should explain this more. I do intend to bring in other industries to take workshops, but this is out of my budget right now to facilitate. It’s something for the next stage rather than now. I can use this stage to build and beta-test the project before expecting people to pay for it.


WHat I did

  • Played with how I can incorporate architectural features into my project
  • Launched an Instagram account
  • Researched London typographers, such as William Morris and Jean Louis Pouchée

What I plan to do

  • Continue to market and build a following on Instagram
  • Think about how I can display the large collection of images that I already have

TYPE design

Previous post/Next post. Walthamstow has a lot of industrial spaces that have roofs like this:

The sawtooth roof, with its glass panels facing away from the equator on the steeper side, blocks the light and heat of direct sun exposure and provides uniform, natural light over a large area. It was particularly useful in design factories and manufacturing buildings and can be seen in designs as early as the 1830’s (thanks Wikipedia).

The name reminds me of the angles used in half-tone printing The smoothness of the edges of the box changes as its angle relative to the halftone screen angle changes. The ragged appearance of edge of the last box is referred to as “sawtoothing”.

And I like the idea of incorporating the design into my final outcome. I’ll use the shape and position text around it:

I like both examples. One uses the outside of the shape and highlights the outline and feels lighter, whilst the right one forms the shape itself and feels blocky. I’m not sure which one feels appropriate yet, but I will experiment with this further.

Social Media

My project will have people getting involved, and so to promote the project I have an Instagram account. I’ve had it set up for a while, to nab the hashtag before anyone else, but haven’t posted because it felt too soon. Now, I have an idea where my project is going and I have spoken to local people about it, and thus it is time to establish myself. I might not be calling for volunteers yet, but a base of a couple of months and posts will instil a sense of trust from the community and maybe potential funders. It’ll be a way to promote to people and the design industry outside the area too.

Currently, my social media strategy has three types of post:

  1. Reflect on the lettering around us in Walthamstow and the circumstances in which it was made⁠
  2. Engage the community and local design practitioners to discover how lettering affects our sense of community⁠
  3. Create new lettering that speaks to us.⁠

The language of us and our is intended to warm and draw people in. The three types of post give me a theme and structure rather than an random mix of posts and has given me interesting opportunities.

Social media tires me out when I do it constantly, so I am using to set up the automatic posting for a few weeks. I can create posts in a bulk when I feel like it and then have them post, so I don’t have to be constantly thinking of new things, and I think it creates a sense of consistency in tone of voice and posting schedule too.

Going back to the interesting opportunities, when I’ve started writing posts under each of the three headings I’ve been able to link to a practitioner or part of the community to really champion them. For instance, I’ve included my recent letterpress workshop and included the studio, Paekakariki Press, a letter in a London Plane tree which was annotated my Rachel Summers in her tree chalk facts project. It’s grown in a few hours to be much more than here’s a pretty picture of typography in Walthamstow.

Excitingly, by using the right hashtags, the local archive Vestry House Museum featured me in their stories without me asking for it, so I hopefully will get more traffic from their followers. Building a solid base will give me more engagement in the community.

Of course, social media will only reach a certain portion of the community, and I need to look outside it, but I feel it’s a good start to promoting Stowe Framework. Maybe this week will be Marketing Week for me!

Week 8: Conversations

I had a lot of conversations with people this week, from Maria Geals …

… Alistair Hall …

… local practitioner Angry Dan …

… and local arts organisation Artillery Arts:

I thought my panel review went really well, too, and I made some notes at the time:

I grew my contacts list and I filled out what the research mthodology I was using so that I could be clear when I’m writing my Critical Report …

I also made sure to follow all these people on Instagram and to start posting with hashtags to start piquing people’s interest.

Week 7: Ethics Review

Feedback from Susanna

After seeking further advice from Falmouth and my line manager please see the info below.

* this is particularly for Anna, Alice N and Alice M but could apply to others.

If you are going to be working with community and social groups or those deemed as vulnerable (children, elderly, those with disability or illness)

  • you should have a standard DBS check that you can seek yourselves (or equivalent if in another country)
  • Seek specialist advice from experts/ people who work in these areas but don’t have vulnerabilities themselves such as
    • Local voluntary services
    • Charities
    • Professors/ experts in health/ medicine
    • Social services
    • Local council
  • Consider the use of service design tools to remotely record – a cultural probe – set of questions, mobile devices that people use to record their day for example so you are not first hand collecting with vulnerable groups
  • Adhere to local rules and legislation
  • Create a focus group of experts from relevant areas to maintain regular checks and advice as your project progresses and checks every stage of delivery/ interaction to ensure the correct procedures are followed and documented.

So all of your ethics approval forms are good to go – but you must ensure you follow the above throughout your projects and communicate with Stuart and I regarding development.

Some of your consent forms will need adjusting once you have gained expert advice from the focus group/ experts in your field of investigation, as will some of your methods for gathering your research and user testing your work.

Great – this is really helpful. I need to change my forms slightly and write up my Workshops and send those over to Stuart and Susanna

Week 7: drafting my Literature Review

At the end of week 8, I have to hand in a draft of my literature review. Here is where I got up to at this point:

How does vernacular typography contribute to a sense of place and belonging in the community of Walthamstow? 

Visual communication is ubiquitous in every environment that we inhabit, from private space to public spheres, in the form of signs, advertisements and arts. Furthermore, humankind’s instinct for language unites us, allowing us to express ourselves and our cultural identity, whether orally and aurally or through language’s written form: type and lettering.

Stowe Framework seeks to explore the vernacular typography in Walthamstow, an area of North East London, and highlight how the typography informs us of the changing demographics and builds the area’s culture. This literature review will present the history of the area and its communities before it considers how current academic studies apply in this instance. Finally, the review will consider how Stowe Framework can bridge academic study and community engagement to enhance awareness of, and safeguard our visual history.



Located in the northeast of London, UK, the Domesday Book recorded Walthamstow as “Wilcumestou”, or the place of welcome, from which Stowe Framework derives its name (Mills, 2010). It remained a rural area until the nineteenth century, when train travel allowed office workers to live in the borough and commute to work, boosting the population. The population rise was echoed in the 1980s when the Victoria Line of the Underground extended to reach the area.

Through the centuries, 

Examples of Typography in Walthamstow

Walthamstow has three areas that can be considered commercial centres: the first, Walthamstow Village; and the High Street and Wood Street, both of which formed as a result of the transport links to the area.

The link between Typography and Culture

“Typography is more than legibility, and more than aesthetics. It is the search for greater power in the written word. It is the embodiment of a culture’s identity. It is the celebration of humanity” (Blankenship, 2003).

“Type does not exist within a vacuum, it is predicated on cultural change and motivated by underlying social structures that may not be readily apparent to an observer looking in” (Snodgrass, 2018).

Studies on typography

In 2006, Gaydos launched a project called Visual Scavenger Hunt that asked people around the world to photograph objects in their environment. He had the goal “to have individuals focus on how visual communication can make our communities similar, and also how it makes them unique” (Gaydos, 2007, p.93). He compiled the submissions from 25 people from 20 different cultures that focussed on a list of subjects such as a business card, a restaurant menu, and a piece of graffiti to create a “contrast between variable and control [that] made for an exciting cross-cultural comparison” (Gaydos, 2007, p.93). The study was as broad as it could be, with the instructions translated into thirteen languages, and gave Gaydos insight into a wide variety of cultures. 

The heart of the project is very similar to Stowe Framework in that looking at the visual culture can represent the communities around us. From there, a researcher can conclude the similarities and differences between the visual responses and, therefore, those societies.

In comparison, Stowe Framework focusses on one area, Walthamstow. Firstly, the encompassing borough of Waltham Forest “is one of the most diverse areas in the country” with more than a third of its population born abroad according to the 2011 Census (Waltham Forest Council, 2020). As such, the area could be viewed as a microcosm of our global society and functions as a concentrated ground where “cultures hybridize and reinvent themselves” (Gaydos, 2007, p.63). Stowe Framework aims to highlight and honour the many strands of the Walthamstow community.

The control of the physical area opens up the research to a broader selection of typographic examples than the Visual Scavenger Hunt. However, a list of potential examples does support study participants whilst they conduct research.

Research methods

I have my own bias

Can I look outside, given that I moved here only recently?

Given the wide range of people, there will be different views.


Mills, A., 2010. A Dictionary Of London Place Names. New York: Oxford University Press.

Gaydos, B., 2007. [Ethno]Graphic Design. Richmond, VA: Virginia Commonwealth University.

Blankenship, S., 2003. Cultural Considerations: Arabic Calligraphy and Latin Typography. Design Issues, 19(2), pp.60-63.

Snodgrass, N., 2018. Facilitating Diversity: The Designer’s Role In Supporting Cultural Representations Through Multi-Script Type Design And Research. Master of Fine Arts. Kent State University. 2020. Statistics About The Borough | Waltham Forest Council. [online] Available at: <; [Accessed 31 October 2020].

Week 7: Publication development

Thinking about my final outcome, I’ve spotted some design treatments from around the Web that inspire me.

Here, I really love the big and bold title mixed amongst text wrapped body text and cut and stick sub titles. It lends itself to a casual, arty feel while still imparting information.
Almost looking like index cards, the bright cards have individual pieces of body text on them. Separately they are easy to rtead and come together to make a deeper piece of work. It would be interesting to play with this idea and how to display them all at once: in an index box, on a wall?