Here are some general doodles in my sketchbook from November. You can see that I have the concept of my Swan typeface in my head while I’m doodling; the first image shows the first alphabet I drew for it. The second page sees me getting ahead of myself with some embellished uppercase letters!
The third page was filled when I was having a conversation with my tutor… If I ever draw letters while talking to you, I apologise! I honestly do it all the time, and hey maybe you just inspire me!
You can see that on the final page I am starting some problem solving… just how would a swash work with the letter f, which doesn’t have many opportunities on it to add embellishment?
Although a letter may look beautiful on its own when you design it, how often do you see a lowercase f standing alone? You must always consider how the alphabet you drawn interacts when mixed up as words. The fs I have drawn here would create spacing issues with the previous letter, which is why I dropped this idea.
After all, “A great typeface is not a collection of beautiful letters, but a beautiful collection of letters.” — Walter Tracy
Now, I don’t mean to scare you off, but this post is a pretty big deal! Here are the initial sketches that kick-started my current typeface, which I am calling Swan. I have been working on it since around November, and it shows no signs of being finished any time soon! It is a Didone style font, with a modern twist – ball terminates which swirl into the bold strokes of the letters. Another idiosyncrasy of this typeface is the attatched dot of the i and j to the main body of the letter.
The typeface has changed a lot since these drawings, but I do find myself referring to them a lot – after all, these are the essence of the font and I want to keep it feeling the same throughout all the characters.
Hello! I have finished my internship in Brighton with the Entente, and I’m now on the train home. I have a very specifically limited amount of wifi time left on this ridiculus train (6mins 37secs) so I’ll make it snappy…
Here is another look at what I’ve been doing this week… This is the typeface, featuring ink traps, which I have created on Fontographer. The grid which it’s laid out on is called the matrix.
Currently, I am happy with this typeface being uppercase-only, so all I have to do now is perhaps a bit more punctuation and sort out the kerning. Please let me know what you think! I am going to eat my train food now – a hoisin duck wrap. That’s what typographers eat.
In other news, please help me out… My blog has over 50 followers, nearly 50 comments and very nearly 1000 views – very exciting! Thank you so much for everybody who’s visited. To celebrate, I’d love to have some kind of prize/competition thing, anybody got any ideas? I’ve never done this kind of thing before! Thanks guys 🙂
I like to post my sketchbook pages in order, but I couldn’t resist showing you all a little sneak preview of something I’ve been working on today –
As I mentioned in a previous post, I’m doing an internship at design house and type foundry The Entente / Colophon Foundry this week. Today, I was asked to try out some ideas for a custom-made typeface for a band. The brief was basic – a heavy, condensed font, perhaps with some experimental ink traps.
Ink traps are little wells cut into the details of letters – when all type was printed using letterpress, the combination of low-quality paper and thick ink meant the ink would spread out a lot when printed, resulting in messy and unprecise letterforms. Each letter was painstakingly hand-carved out of metal or wood, so a solution was soon orchestrated: ink traps. Although they look a little strange, the ink fills the wells and results in a perfectly balanced letter. The most notorious use of ink traps is in Matthew Carter’s Bell Centennial.
Today, we have much better printing methods so ink traps are often only seen in low-quality prints, such as newspapers or telephone directories. They have become almost purely aesthetic in modern fonts, and I like to use them in my letters. To me, including them means that each of my typefaces carries with it some knowledge of type gone by, and a nod to those who spent a lifetime working with it.
Nothing too much to show here – my sister wanted a hand-drawn name card for networking events, so these are a few sketches for that.
In other news, I’m doing an internship with the Entente in Brighton this week! They also run the Colophon type foundry – 100& sure I won’t be trusted to fiddle with any fonts, but I’m definitely going to have a good nose about! I’ll let you all know how I get on, wish me luck (-:
Right, I’m getting sick of posting first and second year work, so here’s the last post before I move on to my current work. These images are pretty random, including a font called ‘Eggshell’ which is coloured with watercolour pencils. Also, here’s two sketchbook drawings and some large-scale work; painting letterforms on A1 paper.
Sometimes I like to make typefaces which are 90% concept and 10% legibility! It’s nice to take a step away from traditional letterforms and try something a bit new.
Here are two examples of these conceptual typefaces, which were done in my first year of uni. The first I have simply called Blocky, because it only took me a few hours and wanted to keep things simple!
It’s good to challenge yourself sometimes, and use problem-solving to create new concepts. Although not very legible, this was a good introduction into typography for me and was fun. Why not set yourself some restrictions and see what you come up with? I think it’s well worth it, even if you only end up with one letter you like.
The second typeface was inspired by a fashion which was popular during my first year; mixing girlie clothing with more fierce accessories, like studded bracelets. This was at a time when I needed a definite direction before starting a typeface, whereas now they all come from doodling.
The last image is a cupcake, because I like cupcakes.
Here is my Jay typeface – another part of my Animalphabet brief from last year, I spent quite a while creating these letters and using them in a variety of ways.
My mum’s favourite bird is a jay, and she’s got a stuffed one (right) which inspired me to create this typeface. I like the flash of bright blue contrasting with the soft brown feathers, and felt it could create an interesting start to some letterforms.
The basic shapes I’ve used to make the letters is taken from the soft curvature of feathers, with an upright stress to still convey the strength of a flying animal. The flashes of blue on each letter identify the typeface to a jay, rather than any other bird. Looking back now, I realise that idiosyncratic qualities like this need only be applied to a few chosen letters, rather than taking over the entire alphabet. I screenprinted this typeface onto a few different surfaces, including canvas bags.
This typeface is something I made in my first year. I love anything Art Deco, and this fan shape is often seen in jewellery and interior design from the Deco era. Inspired by this, I drew lowercase letters using fan shapes for the verticals, paired with a hairline stroke. It is quite an unusual and obviously uninformed approach to making a typeface–in that it is a Didone style, but the fan shapes confuse where the stress lies in the letters. Can you see, for example, how the vertical lines on the g aren’t running parallel?
This is an early learning curve on Illustrator; I didn’t even know there was a circle tool, which is why there are so many imperfections on many of the letters! As this typeface only exsists on Illustrator, I had to put the quote together one letter at a time.