Updated: Mar 31, 2019
"Experiment with methods of type practice which engage the viewer in a practical way"
A blog post in which I document the process of my developing practice. Including, general progress and any kinds of problems I've encountered and sometimes solved along the way.
I started my practice as research process by sketching some type designs. I had this idea of creating a typeface that would fit into the shape of a cube. This meant grabbing my graph pad and sketching some cubic-bitmap hybrid letters.
My research question changed from generally studying typography as an art form to, "experimenting with methods of type practice that engage two or more senses".
After more work and thought, my research question changed to...
"Experiment w/ methods of type practice which engage the viewer in a practical way"
This move felt appropriate because what, in a way frustrated me about type design was that letters and good type design is almost an invisible art form. At its best anyway. Lettering and my cursive styles of type allow to flourish.
But I think that all we do is look at words and letters. I wanted people to touch it and experience it in a way that was more obvious and interactive. The sketches began...
I took a lot of influence from the form of Erik Spiekermann's FF Meta. Which is super legible and each glyph holds a huge amount of character which I thought would be essential to the success of this 3d type.
What I finished with, was a good looking bunch of unified letters. Though I did encounter some problems along the way.
• The 'k' proved problematic (as you can see in the sketches) as it would extremely difficult to get the right balance between drawing a letter full of character and one that would work when 3d.
• I also wanted each letter to be easily identifiable at any angle. So this meant making sure the 'b', 'd', 'p' and 'q' all had little serifs which mean someone wouldn't get confused which one was which if they picked up the 3d letter.
• The tittle of the 'i' and 'j' may be an issue when printed into a plastic block as they may not be visible. I tried to fix this by moving the space below it further back but it may only be resolved with colour.
The biggest problem was pointed out in my feedback and became apparent when I started to develop them into a 3d cube. This was that the letters were almost too uniquely shaped for their own good...
Though the images are small, you can see my early attempt at making the letters 3d and fitting together. I just couldn't get my head around it.
I wanted to create the cube with lower case letters because I thought it might come across more friendly but for a second, I was wrong. So I started again but with upper case forms...
Again, with the visual assistance of FF Meta I created the uppercase version of the letters. They, as expected were much easier to create than their lowercase counterparts...
A strong feeling of relief now the letters had been designed. Even before my second attempt at creating them in a 3d shape, I know it will work more successfully.
As I progressed through the production of the 3d typeface cube, it became clear that some of the letters needed changing. Namely, the 'J' and the 'Q'. This was because the strokes on the glyphs descended below the baseline. I thought this might be a nice feature, but later noticed that this would mean they wouldn't be able to stand up...
Alas I arrived at shapes I was happy with. It was important for the 'Q' to maintain character and to still be easily identifiable next to the 'O'; hence the indentation within its counter.
Throughout the production of my 3d type. My mind has wondered and I took a short interval to explore punctuation and numbers. Based still on the geometric-bitmap shapes of the letters, the outcome is quite cohesive.
It led me onto the thought for a separate experiment. This time using numbers. Interactive in the same way that they need to bed assembled together but as seperate objects are cool. I'm interested in laser cutting and I'm potentially thinking of something spherical and floppy...
I'm also desperate to finalise the designs of an ampersand. The coolest glyph around.