Typography Claire Janssen

The typography unit is the second topic that we have studied this year, and it consisted of a few projects which taught us a range of different skills. To introduce the topic, we were taught how to identify different letter styles and letterforms in everyday objects. With this knowledge, we then continued to learn about how different styles of letterforms are used in different situations to set a mood and create an impression on an audience. We learned how to use letterforms to create an abstract piece of artwork using different skills on Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop. I really enjoyed this unit because, through using the letterforms and different fonts, we were each able to express a different personality through our work and individually work towards a finished piece.

Found Letterforms

We were introduced to the typography unit through an activity we did during class and outside of school where our task was to identify letterforms in everyday objects. We then photographed them and later arranged them in Adobe Indesign to form the alphabet. Through this activity, I learned that the more complex letterforms were much harder to identify and to find, while other letterforms were much more common and were easier to come by. I also learned that no letterform was the same, and every object seemed to give the letterform a different type of 'font', even if it was not a typeface.

Letterforms in everyday objects

Helvetica Poster Project

Helvetica Mind map (information collected from the movie)

Helvetica and Distortions

The unit then progressed to learning about typefaces. During this part of the unit, we focused specifically on a very commonly used typeface which we would later be able to alter and use to create our poster project: Helvetica. To introduce this part of the unit, we watched a short film about how the font was created and how it was developed over time, and also showed different uses and opinions on the typeface. The video further explained that certain typefaces and letters are used to create a mood, which is why different fonts are used in certain situations. Notes taken during the film are displayed above.

We then started developing the helvetica typeface so that we could creatively integrate it into our poster. To do this, we were each distorted the helvetica typeface so that we could later transfer it onto a digital screen and create the poster. The aim was to destroy the letters in the typeface as much as possible.

We distorted the printed Helvetica manually by wrinkling, tearing and cutting the paper.
We also scanned the paper to create a wave effect in order to distort the typeface.

Helvetica Digital Distortion

Displacement Map

Using Adobe Photoshop, we learned how to create a displacement map, which is something that is used as a background image when distorting another image. The displacement map is an arrangement of waves that can alter the image in the foreground by combining the image. By using the displacement map and the previous helvetica distortions, we were taught how to distort the typeface even further for the final helvetica poster. In this lesson, we were also introduced to different ways we could distort the image using the liquify tool in photoshop, which could also be used in our final project later on.

Helvetica digital distortion progression

Helvetica Poster Project Inspiration Board

Helvetica Poster Project : Gathering Ideas and Developments

We started gathering ideas by sketching out design ideas inspired by the posters that we had chosen from the different artists. Because each of the sample posters had their own unique styles, each poster that we sketched that was inspired by one of the posters was different. This was a good because we then had a variety of styles to choose from to present our own Helvetica work.

Here, we gathered poster ideas from the sample inspiration posters that we chose earlier.
After we sketched out a few designs, we each chose one that we liked and developed it further to show a journey through the work and how it changed and progressed through feedback and alterations.

Letterform Typographic Portrait

The typographic portraits are portraits that consist of only letters and in only one font. Each portrait is made with a different font, and you can clearly see that each of them, although they are the same photo, express a different mood, personality and appearance from the original photo.

Helvetica Typographic Portrait

I created this typographic portrait of myself using the Helvetica font. Out of the three portraits that I have created I think that this was the least interesting one to make because the letters seem quite 'normal' without a serif or another type of effect. They look very block-like, and they make the image look very structured and tense, in a way. Because the letterforms are quite thick and look very digital, the portrait looks a bit closed off and makes the photo look very unkind. I did not really like using the Helvetica font to create the portrait because it did not express a light, cheerful mood that I was aiming for.

Helvetica Typographic

Serif Typographic Portrait

For this portrait, I used a font that had serifs, and it gives the original photo a very different appearance than the Helvetica portrait. The use of the serif font makes the image look more formal, and I think that it gives it a bit more personality. The face looks more open and kinder, and the font adds a more cheerful expression to it in contrast to the more blank look of the portrait using Helvetica.

Serif Typographic

Typographic Portrait (Using Font of Choice)

The third portrait uses the font 'Gloss and Bloom', which has more of a handwritten, brush stroke type of effect. I liked using the font because it gives the original image a very flowing effect and, because of the curviness and creativity of the letters, it was very easy to make the hair. The letterforms in this font are ideal for creating a portrait because there are many soft shapes and curvy letters to use. Overall, the font gave the image a softer and more flowing look and, because it is hand-written, the font makes the image look more lively and interesting.

Free Font Typographic

Transferring the Typographic Portrait onto Lino-prints

While we developed our typographic portraits a lot digitally using Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop, we also laser-cut the images and printed them out on a lino-print so that we could print them onto paper manually with paint. During the lesson, we used paint and rollers to evenly spread the paint out onto the lino, and then tried to evenly print the paint onto a piece of paper using a spoon and other tools to transfer the paint. The most challenging thing about this activity was to use the correct amount of paint on the lino so that the paper would not tear while transferring the paint onto the paper, and also transferring it evenly to create the clearest image possible. On some of the prints that I made, I did not use enough paint on the lino, which caused the surface of the paper to tear off because it stuck together. Some of the prints also have white edges and spaces between the black paint, which means that the paint was not evenly transferred onto the paper. The last print was the most successful because it has the greatest contrast between white and black and looks the most clear.

Colour Experiments

Not only can fonts create a mood and affect the appearance of an image, but the use of different colors can work the same way. In this part of the design process, we experimented with different color palettes and combinations to see which ones would work together and look the most appealing, and we can now use these to create our text effects and even use them as a background color for the lino-prints.

Experimenting with Color

Text Effects

Similarly to our logo design project, the last thing that we did with our typographic portraits was add different text effects to them. Here, we followed Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop tutorials on how to achieve the different types of effects, and we were able to experiment with different effects on our different portraits.

Wrinkled Blanket Text Effect

This is the first text effect that I have applied to my typographic portrait. I think that it makes the portrait look a bit odd and I do not particularly like it. I think that, aesthetically, the design could be taking up more space on the page than it is now, because it looks very thin, and could be a bit bolder to stand out a bit more.

Smoke Text Effect

I made this text effect using another typographic portrait that I made with the more handwritten font, Gloss and Bloom. I really enjoyed making this text effect because it looked more dynamic than some others, but because some of the effects that were added to the text in the tutorial did not work on the portrait, it did not turn out like the original example from the tutorial and there is not as much smoke to make it look more realistic. While I quite liked making this text effect and like the look of it, I think that it could be more abstract and there could be more going on in the image. The effect looks too simple to have a great effect on the actual text, but rather in the space around it.

Coffee Stain Text Effect

This text effect is supposed to depict a piece of work which had coffee spilled overtop of it. While it does look similar, I think that the effect on the text itself could be more abstract, because this is very simple and very plain. I could possibly use a text effect that highlights and emphasises the text more. This was a very simple tutorial which only required different brushes on Adobe Photoshop, but I really enjoyed putting together the different brush strokes to make the coffee stains look as realistic as possible. Overall, I think that I could have followed a tutorial of a text effect that would make the typographic portrait stand out more rather than be more simple.

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