The pages are the result of a one-day workshop we had at university, run by Ant and Edd from the Entente.
The concept of the workshop was to create a typeface out of a system. The system could be anything – a simple idea you want to stick to, restricting yourself to using a certain shape for all the letters, or creating letterforms directly from a grid.
The ideas which I explored are below. I began by thinking about bitmap fonts – designed for screen, these fonts use as little as 6 pixels for the height of most letters. I considered how I could change such a strict existing system – perhaps by taking it out of its ‘natural environment’ and making it very large, or creating italic styles. From this, the idea was born that I could make a fish-eye font; the intial idea is the second page below.
However, once I’d had this idea I didn’t want to waste my time with Ant and Edd showing them something which could probably be finished very quickly. I wanted to try something more challenging and different. The answer is on the third page – a Didone-style typeface, where the horizontal strokes carry stress rather than the vertical ones. The first thought I had with this was that it could save space – the leading of text could be reduced if your eye was naturally drawn along the lines of type. Space is a valuable commodity in publications like newspapers and advertising, so creating a font which solves this dilemna would be very interesting.
The final image is the result of the workshop – by 4 o’clock I had a working typeface on Fontographer, exported as an OTF file, sans a few letters and punctuation! I called it Fat Bodoni; it’s very different to what I had in mind and I wasn’t very pleased with it on the day. However, looking back, I can see some potential in it, and I guess the Entente did aswell as it lead to an internship with them last month.
Giving yourself restrictions is often a great way to tackle a creative block. If you’ve just started making your own fonts, I really recommend designing yourself a simple grid system and using it as a basis for your letterforms. However, remember that typefaces are constructed on what looks right, not what is mathematically correct, and rules are made to be broken sometimes!