Naren Mukherjee typography

Searching for Typefaces

Typefaces in UWCSEA East Campus
Typefaces at my home

We were trying to find typefaces in UWC. Trying to find each and every letter only in UWC was challenging. Some letters, like T and O were easy to find, however some like Z and Q were very hard to find. I think I might have even cheated when doing some of these. For example I may have really cheated for the P in the UWC one. I didn't even do the Z for my home one. I think in the end, the one at home was a lot harder to find letters for. Even though there was a high concentration of stuff to find letters for, there wasn't nearly as much stuff to work with as in the school one. I think this assignment was kind of useful in that we had a new appreciation for typefaces after we completed the posters. We've started opening our eyes to new typefaces in and out of our computer screens. Not to mention it was very satisfying to complete the project and the end result is pretty good.

Destroying Helvetica on Paper

All this step was was just printing out the word helvetica and messing with it as much as we could and in different ways. Most of my ideas were crumpling and un-crumpling them so that the crumple marks stay so you can see the effects that it had but also be able to read the word Helvetica.

Image tracing

This is the result of taking pictures of my paper destructions, then putting them into adobe illustrator, and image tracing them. The product is a high quality, specific outline of what I destroyed, so that I can mess with it cleanly on the computer. Sometimes I messed them up more using illustrator by stretching individual letters to contrast them to the rest of the letters, like in the second one. My personal favourites are the 2nd one and the 6th one.

Helvetica Posters

The Planning Mind map

To make our Helvetica Posters, which consolidated our knowledge of the typeface, we first watched a documentary about it called "Helvetica". It's about good graphic design and Helvetica. Above is a mind map that I made while watching the movie to serve as notes for when I made the poster.

Simple, list styled poster
Poster to "break the grid"

The poster that I made about Helvetica shows my knowledge of the typeface. I can say that after watching the movie and making this poster that Helvetica is my go-to font for anything else I make, too (even though the movie was kind of boring like let's be honest) because of it's simplicity and how neutral it is. You'll see I made two posters. This is because when designing it, our intention was to "break the grid" by incorporating techniques from this article. I made my Break the Grid Poster first, but I didn't like it all that much because it looked kind of strange. I slanted everything because that was similar to one of the techniques. Then I made one where everything is straight, and even though it is, admittedly, a bit less visually interesting, It's easier for me to read, which is why I like it more.

Destroying Helvetica on the Computer

Liquify Tool

Using the liquify tool was not the most interesting. It was hard to add details to a small scale, especially when Helvetica is so simple to begin with. And big details, while easy to add and infuse, looked really bad. If you look up you can see the effect. I tried artificially making the process entertaining by making little faces or twirling huge objects at a time. For the first one I was messing around with what I could do and I switched between lots of the liquifying tools (notably the l & v, the c, and the i) which is why it is my favourite of the three. The second one I only used the twirl tool on a weird spiky destruction from previously, so it's fun to look at some spikes which are stretched and others which aren't

Filter Library 1 (with background)

Above, I applied filters from the filter library to the word helvetica but with a white background as well so that the filter does stuff to the background of the text as well. Even though the results here are cooler, I prefer making them without the background because it gives more freedom to do anything I want to do with it afterwards (this is why there are more in Filter Library 1 than 2). My favourites of the following six filters are the 1st, 4th, and 5th one. The fist one looks like a swarm almost, so it looks rather complex and has potential to be used in a lot of cool ways if I were to blur it or something like that. The 4th is like that in a similar way. If i were to use the smudge tool on that, I wonder what it would look like. The fifth is different in why I like it: The outline it seems to have makes it look almost with a plastic wrap around it. I also like how easy it would be to convert it to something else.

Filter Library 2 (without background)

Applying Filters from the Filter Library to the word Helvetica this time without a background. By adding Filters to them I don't feel like I'm changing the amount of space that the Helvetica word is taking up or how it is taking it up. I feel like I am changing the attributes of the space, which gives a new feel which is why I find more enjoyment in the surprise of these than with liquifications. My favourites are (r = row, c = column) r1c3, r1c4, r1c5, r2c3, and r2c4 because they look really cool. I think my next steps here are to combine some. I think combining r1c4 with other filters has a lot of potential to look really cool because it doesn't have a textural change like all of the other ones, so the textures wouldn't overlap.

Displacement Map

The very last of the times that we destroyed Helvetica on the computer. I didn't spend a lot of time on the colours; I just chose them randomly, so ignore them. While the outcome is probably the coolest looking of the computer destructions, the outcome will look similar for everyone who does it, because it is a step-by-step process rather than a creative one like the others. It is possible to change the displacement map, which displaces the Helvetica words, so that the product will look different. However making a displacement map is pretty hard.

Grundge-vetica Poster

Initial Poster design

We were tasked to create a poster for Helvetica's 70th anniversary coming up, and this is how I start designing for it. Any idea that comes to my head is quickly drawn out so after I finish the page, I have lots of ideas to work off of. In this way it is similar to when I was making thumbnails for my logo. We went to typographicposters.com to look for inspiration. The posters I chose didn't really change up or destroy the typeface very much so it was very easy to read, which kind of defeated the whole purpose. I chose those posters because of how little they did to the typeface, it meant I had more freedom to do my own things with the typeface. After I chose those first three, I then changed my approach to find posters that already messed up the typeface so that I would get both ends of the spectrum: lack of changes which leads to more freedom, and really cool changes which leads to less freedom.

Thumbnail Development 1
Thumbnail Development 2

The two pictures above are me developing some of the ideas I already made when Initially designing. I couldn't decide which of the ideas I liked the most, so I developed some of my favourites a little further to see how how much I still liked them after some development, and also how easy it was to develop ideas for. I did this twice for two different pages because I wanted to repeat the process and narrow my selection from the thumbnails from the previous page. This also helped me later after I chose one final thumbnail to revise, because it easily narrowed my favourite thumbnails so that if I wanted to combine two to get a fresh, new idea, I could. I do this for the idea that I eventually decide on making my poster. I developed the idea at the very bottom of the first page (which is hard to see properly because of the scanning) but I also develop an idea I had using the thumbnail at the very top right of the first page of this document.

Open thumbnail refining

At this point, I was only developing for one thumbnail from the previous page, which was the one with 70 in the background, with Helvetica in the foreground, but affected by the 70 in a distorted way. But then I had an idea to make the 70 have an almost 3D effect and play with that similarly. I really enjoyed designing for this idea, even more than the other one. That's probably why I was finding it harder to design for that idea. This may be an improvement point for next time. But it was also good because I really liked the 3D idea, and also because it wrapped an idea in my head that designing isn't a straightforward process; it's more like a tree with new individual ideas branching of the same ones. I felt like it would be easier to make further advancements on the computer. The thumbnail with the star next to it is the one I brought to the final development stage.

FINAL thumbnail refinement

Above is the FINAL step in designing the logo: drawing the final design really big so that that you can zoom into the actual details and what specifically you had to do in the computer. You can see that the design I chose as my favourite is the one with 70 right in the front. I chose that one because that's the most impressive bit to me, so it'll be like "Wow, Helvetica has existed for 70 years; that's really cool!" when people see this poster (ignoring the fact that this will only actually be the case in 2027). I drew it three times, each time trying out specifically a new way to space the letters amongst the space. Eventually I settled on the one at the very top because I thought it looked the nicest. After this all there was left was to bring it the computer and make it:

The final Poster

And this is how the final poster turned out in the end. I spent most my time in this project making the "70" because, if you'll notice, the white, "70" bit isn't actually the 70. It's more of if you made the 2D object 70, but stretched it to make it 3D, then it only shows that expanded part of the 70 and not the original 2D shape. Something that I didn't spend a lot of time on however, was the "Helvetica Destroyed Anniversary" in the background. That part was super easy because I already had made that before, so I could just repeat the process for this one. Also a really nice detail that just happened to be there was that the top of the 7 looks really nice next to the H of helvetica. because of the 90 degree angles corresponding with one another. One thing I now see as a missed opportunity is that I didn't use any of my paper destructions in the poster. They were my favourite form of destruction, besides the displacement, so I should have used them both.

The photoshop file for my Poster

Typographic Portraits

Helvetica

This is a portrait that I made of myself by taking letters from Helvetica. This was pretty hard to do because when you're tracing something that is kind of curvy, but not that curvy, with a typeface that has either straight or very curvy lines (with no in betweens besides the brackets, which is why they are very useful but overpowered when making this), it is difficult. I am especially proud of my collar, because it is easy to make out that it is a collar, even though there really isn't much there. This is because I used curvy letters like r and j in similar ways on opposite sides of the line. This way, the human brain can easily assume where a line would be, so I don't have to put anything there to make it easier. Not to mention that I have finished the collar on the left side, so as long as the viewer can make out that it is a collar, they will want to finish the collar on the other side as well. However I am not so happy with the mouth, because it felt like a copout and lazy, so it ruins the piece somewhat. Another thing I did with the hair is that the middle layer faced bottom left, and the bottom layer faces the bottom right, because my hair in real life does that kind of.

Baskerville

In this typographic portrait, I used a serif font to see if the feel would be different. I am not as proud of as the Helvetica Portrait because in my opinion it doesn't look as nice. One thing I did try to improve on is the mouth because it is still rather lopsided though which I wasn't able to fix without making it look worse. Also it is a but high, so my chin is big, and if I lower it, the gap between the mouth and the nose is too big. One thing I am proud of this time around is the hair. I used the same technique as in the Helvetica one but regardless I think it looks better, maybe because it sticks out less.

Gloss and Bloom

I think this turned out to be the best of my typographic portraits. I am really happy that I was able to make a mouth that wasn't too simple, but wasn't overcomplicated as well, so it looks really nice; In fact, the mouth is the thing I am most proud of in the whole portrait. I am also once again proud of the collar because It looks even more like a collar when none of the lines are perfectly straight, which I used to my advantage when making the collar. Also the hair looks really nice to me. I didn't use the same strategy as I did with the other two where I layered the letters like a ladder but rather I scattered them so the edges mattered because they arc around my head. It worked a lot better than it would have if I stayed dedicated to the same technique because the typeface is naturally not straight, so I didn't have to give the illusion that it wasn't. If I have something I'm not a big fan of it is the ear because it looks simplified and not specific and also the G doesn't really work; maybe I should have put an S or a C instead.

Lino printing

We used our laser cut portraits to lino print. The hardest part was figuring out how to press the template onto the paper because if you don't do it enough, the entire print doesn't get printed and you get spots that aren't quiet finished yet (this is evident on my first one, which is the on the left). But if you press it too much, the paper sticks to the template which is annoying because the final result is torn apart. My best Lino print was the final print I did, which is the one in the middle. I like it because it is definitely the most consistently dark of the three I did.

Colouring with Gradients

Before I did this activity, I had a negative view on gradients because I thought they didn't look very good. I thought that it hard to have a good colour scheme when colour gradients blend and mash up the colours. But now I realise this isn't completely the case. If you can create a good contrast between the front and the back, you can make the gradients look more subtle, so it looks more impressive than it would with a solid colour. I think my problem was actually with using Gradients as a background, but I had never seen or used a gradient as the main object of focus. First, I experimented with simple gradients, gradients that have two similar colours, and putting them over a contrasting or complementing colour in the background. I thought this would be good because it is simple. I think they turned out pretty well. But the more advanced gradients, one that have a multitude of colours, were a bit more experimental- some of them worked and others didn't. I don't think that the very last one at the bottom right worked very well. However the blue and pink one at the bottom left looked nice.

Applying Text Effects

ACID text effect

Before I did this activity, I had a negative view on gradients because I thought they didn't look very good. I thought that it hard to have a good colour scheme when colour gradients blend and mash up the colours. But now I realise this isn't completely the case. If you can create a good contrast between the front and the back, you can make the gradients look more subtle, so it looks more impressive than it would with a solid colour. First, I experimented with simple gradients, gradients that have two similar colours, and putting them over a contrasting or complementing colour in the background. I thought this would be good because it is simple. I think the turned out pretty well. But the more advanced gradients, one that have a multitude of colours, were a bit more experimental- some of them worked and others didn't. I don't think that the very last one at the bottom right worked very well. However he blue one at the top right looked nice.

Happy New Year text effect

I think this product is too simple. There is really not much going on that is complicated or worthwhile. This is my least favourite of the text effects that I did for the portraits because it is so very underwhelming. It was really easy to make even though the sample image made it look complicated.

Burn text effect

I think this is my favourite of the text effects. If it was thicker, I think it would of looked more like the intended look, but this look is still pretty good. I like the colours and how they complement each other nicely. Even though I took the leather background from the tutorial, the colours were modified by me. My favourite part, however is how It looks like an actual burn on leather that does into the leather itself like a tattoo.

Watercolour text effect

I think I messed this one up. Because the object I used wasn't a text object and instead a smart object, some of the functionality went missing. i wasn't able to make the edge of it painty, so the final result doesn't look at all like it was watercolour. Instead it looks like it is on something completely different, as if it wasn't painted. This is why in the end when I was colouring, I didn't use the colours that they said to use and instead I used purples and dark blues to give it a 'space' look. I don't really know why I did that, but it looks cool. But because of this, even though it looks cool it ended up being simple, like I actually didn't do much to the portrait. In the end while it doesn't look at all like my intent, it still turned out pretty ok.

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