Design Studio: Typography (Project 1: Word and Meaning)

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My word is honest and my material is paper.

Assessment 1: Project 1 – Word and meaning

This assessment task requires you to create original graphic forms – of letters, of a word – to tell a story. The outcome is to be highly resolved both conceptually and technically.

Week 3

You will have a formal review point in Week 3. In the group blog, present well-developed construction and photographic proof-sheet, identify images ready for further editing, enhancement cropping and other possible refinements or re-shooting.

Last week I created what can be considered the draft of the concept design, using different elements of paper. This week, I am going to develop and refine the idea, so that I can have a final submission of business cards that translate the meaning of honesty through paper.

Intention and purpose

Revised: Honesty in it’s purest form is to tell the truth and be faithful to the actuality of the information you are sharing. In reality, honesty is not always as clear and concise as that. Much like typography where there are many variations of form that communicate different messages. I have used this as inspiration to create two business cards that are being exchanged. An embossed gold card to represent professional, stylised honesty and a white cut paper card for personal morality. When placed together, it is intended that a trade is taking place, questioning the integrity of both card owners and who is more honest.

My intention and purpose is to use the material of paper to show the meaning of honesty. I will be using business cards and the technique of cutting the paper to form the letters, with contrasting colour placed behind each card to make the letterforms clear. I will use minimal procedures to archive this effect and will rely on the paper itself to translate the letterforms, without any ink. Drawing inspiration from the long history of business cards used within typography and design, as well as modern simplicity and Good Design, the business cards will aim to translate honesty in a growing and evolving form, that hopefully connects to the audience through the unity of all cards in the final structure.

Honesty in it’s purest form is to tell the truth and be faithful to the actuality of the information you are sharing. In reality, honesty is not always as clear and concise as that. Much like typography where there are many sizes and variations of form, I have used this as inspiration to create a set of business cards that show the progression of the word ‘honest’ from a small 5pt type size with 0 tracking, to a larger 45pt type size with 400 tracking. I have drawn on the use of clear (white) space to signify the purity of honesty and truth and chosen a sans serif, geometrical typeface that is set in a medium weight to make the letters strong and direct.

You might begin with an honest idea and intention. Maybe it’s only small and you feel insecure about sharing this information. As this thought grows, it can develop and increase, enlarging many aspects and opening spacial dimensions of what it means to share and portray this process in an open and truthful way. Finally, we are accepting of our morality and it has grown in our consciousness to a point of great recognisable scale. The message is open, clear and honest.

First Digital Mockup

I began week 3 by creating a digital mock up of the business cards. In this attempt I used many elements of the original ideas in the previous week and made some adjustments.

digitalcardsspread

With this digital mock up, I decided to use a few different typefaces, to play with the element of display typefaces. However, I think by using too many within the spreads, may distort from the concept and that one universal typeface should be used on all cards. However, used in a way that is still able to capture the intention of each card.

Second Digital Mockup

digitalcardsspread2

In the second digital mockup I have decided to use just one typeface, I have altered the weight and placement of some text. In my digital examples I have used Freight Sans Pro, a sans serif, geometric form designed by Phil’s Fonts. The font family is described as; “Designed for warm formality in text and an authoritative, helpful tone in display, Freight Sans eschews mannerisms of form in favor of a studied balance of organic and geometric shapes.” (Adobe Systems Incorporated, 2016) Within the font family there are many variations of the typeface that allowed me to explore many visual options to show honesty, such as varying weights/formations and small caps.

Third Digital Mockup

digitalcardsspread3

In the third digital mockup, I decided to simplify the concept even further. Using the Freight Sans Pro from the previous mockup, I stuck with a medium weight and altered the sizing and tracking of the typeface throughout the document, so that there was a great continuity and connection between all of the cards. This spoke to me in a much deeper way, and I feel like it does portray the message of honesty in a clearer way. It enabled me to not only show how the personal direction of honesty can change throughout the feeling and emotion of sharing an honest idea, but I also believe in the connection to typography as well.

In total there are 9 different business cards, and I am going to focus on each one, and then the unity between them as a whole complete work.

Card 1

Digital Cards 3

Typeface:
Freight Sans Pro, OpenType All Small Caps, Medium, 5pt with 0 tracking.

Description:
The first card has a very small typeface that is quite hard to distinguish. This has been created on purpose so that it begins as a starting point, in which the remaining cards build from.

Card 2

Digital Cards 32

Typeface:
Freight Sans Pro, OpenType All Small Caps, Medium, 10pt with 50 tracking.

Description:
In card 2 the word is becoming clearer. The letters are still small and quite close together that we may have some visual confusion and acceptance of the awkward size (when comparing to the following enlarged versions).

Card 3

 Digital Cards 33

Typeface:
Freight Sans Pro, OpenType All Small Caps, Medium, 15pt with 100 tracking.

Description:
The type size and tracking has again increased. There is a large amount of clear space around the word and the spaces between each letter are starting to become more defined.

Card 4

 Digital Cards 34

Typeface:
Freight Sans Pro, OpenType All Small Caps, Medium, 20pt with 150 tracking.

Description:
The increased sizing make the clarity of the word much stronger. The tracking does not yet begin to distort the word too much and there is a natural balance between the letter forms and the background.

Card 5

Digital Cards 35 

Typeface:
Freight Sans Pro, OpenType All Small Caps, Medium, 25pt with 200 tracking.

Description:
In this card we reach the display type size. The word is now a lot larger and the tracking a lot more noticeable. The type is balanced and clear.

Card 6

 Digital Cards 36

Typeface:
Freight Sans Pro, OpenType All Small Caps, Medium, 30pt with 250 tracking.

Description:
As we see the further enlargement of the word, there begins to build a dynamic and tension between each letter as they are drifting away from each other. I feel that in my third mockup that the eye is drawn to this version first, because of the placement and the type size.

Card 7

Digital Cards 37 

Typeface:
Freight Sans Pro, OpenType All Small Caps, Medium, 35pt with 300 tracking.

Description:
In this card, the tracking between the letters is starting to create a new effect with the word itself. We are finally reaching a stage where the words are going further away from each other than might be easily read (comparable to normal sentence structure and readability).

Card 8

 Digital Cards 38

Typeface:
Freight Sans Pro, OpenType All Small Caps, Medium, 40pt with 350 tracking.

Description:
The justification of the type is beginning to change in the second last card. In the previous, there was a great serenity to the letterforms in a central position and we are beginning to have this changed as we see further increase in type size and tracking.

Card 9

 Digital Cards 39

Typeface:
Freight Sans Pro, OpenType All Small Caps, Medium, 45pt with 400 tracking.

Description:
In the final card the letters are enlarged to a size where they are reaching towards the ends of the card. There is a tension here, because there is not the amount of clear space around the letters, but a great growth between them. The final card is the strongest, but it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the most important because it is the continuation of the growth of the honesty throughout.

Combined Business Cards

The overall combined effect of the business cards together units each into a final result that aims to translate the meaning of honesty. While each card has an important position to play, it is when they are all placed together that we can recognise that there is a transition between a very small size to the largest.

I have used repetition of the word as a way that we are constantly reminded of the meaning, and to also associate the growth and development of how honesty can be formed.

Ironically, when examining the combined business cards, there is an effect that is created that I had not considered. There is some association to the look of an eye chart, with the way the placement of smallest to largest is read. Although this was not intentional, it does drawn on the meaning of honesty with our vision.

Creating the Business Cards

Step 1: Measured Template
Before I began creating the cards, I decided that I wanted to have an accurately measured template to work with. What I discovered was that I had to look at many different areas within each card, to be able to get a final result that was quite precise. The measurements and dimensions where changed in many instances, when compared to some of the early drafts, particularly the sizing of the smallest typeface (on card 1). Using a 5pt was just too small and had to be changed to 10pt and each from there.

digitalcardsspread-measured

Step 2: Printing Template
Once I was happy with the measurements, I saved the template without measurement lines.

Template Cards A4

Step 3: Printing to paper
I began by printing the template directly on the art paper I had chosen (I had previously created a template with the letters on a stronger plastic paper, but found when trying to use it with the cut out letters, the paper underneath would fray because I would not see directly on the paper I was cutting, and needed good pressure and to be able to give procession cuts).

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Step 4: Cut single card
I loosely cut around the outside of a card I was going to use.

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Step 5: Scalpel
I placed a brand new super sharp #11 blade into my X-Acto scalpel, to make sure I was able to get an accurate cut.

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Step 6: Cut out letters
Very carefully I cut out the letters using the scalpel. I had to try and make sure that I did not fray or tear the paper. I found that it was easier to cut the longer base of the letterforms and then close them off with the ends. It was particularly had to cut out the O and S because of their curves. This was even harder in the smallest card (1).

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Step 7: Embossing Tool
After cutting our the letters, the edges were a bit rugged and didn’t look as polished and ‘pressed’ as I would like. I decided to use my embossing tool to give a nicer effect. Below you can see that the H has been pressed and the other letters still freshly cut.
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Step 8: Smooth Edges
Using the embossing tool, I smoothed the edges of all the letters, to provide a better effect, that did not look as ragged.

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Step 9: Cut out card
Once the letters had been cut and smoothed, I then used my scalpel and a steel ruler to cut out the card, trying to make sure that lines were straight and keeping the dimensions of the card accurate.

IMG_0535

I than completed these steps for each card, 9 in total.

Arrangement

Once I had cut out all of the cards, I had to consider how they would be arranged. In my first choice, which was to set the cards from smallest to largest, I created a template for the measurements that would be used on an A4 piece of paper.

Template Grid

Doing this in reality was a lot harder and I tried to keep it as close as possible.

Arrangement 1:
Here the cards are placed from the very smallest, up to the largest in a ‘logical order’. Card 6 (second down on right) is the one card that is using a brighter standard printing paper, and was originally the card that I had noticed as a focal point, so I wanted to enhance that a little.

IMG_0545 IMG_0546 IMG_0550

Arrangement 2:
In this arrangement I decided that I would create some dynamics with the cards positioned in varying sizes. It kind of makes the eye jump to each card, without any natural balance and harmony of the order from the previous arrangement.

IMG_0566 IMG_0568

Arrangement 3:
In this arrangement I used the smaller card, placed by itself to create a great level of contrast between the card, background and letters.

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Arrangement 4:
This time I used a card with a larger typeface, and tilted the card.

IMG_0562

Arrangement 5:
I placed the card with the smallest typeface and the largest next to each other. To play with scale.

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Arrangement 6:
I used the smallest and largest typeface on cards placed together again, but this time created tension with the placement, with cards overlapping.

IMG_0552

Arrangement 7:
Using my fingers, I held the card with one hand and have the card facing the camera, placed over the background, so that the black of the letters could be clear. I placed the hand on the left side of the frame and titled the card so that there was tension and dynamics created.

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Arrangement 8:
I stacked all of the cards into a pile and spread them out, so that it could be clear that numerous cards were included in a stack. The typeface of the top card, can still be clearly read.

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Arrangement 9:
I used five cards with varying type sizes to form a letter H. I changed the position of the centre card, to create a slightly different symmetrical effect.

IMG_0574 IMG_0579

Arrangement 10:

I placed all 9 cards in a pile, where various aspects of each card could be seen. Both with the letter forms made clear with the black background and from the white of the other cards.

IMG_0573

Arrangement 11:

In the final arrangement I had some help from my mum, to create the effect of two hards with cards being shared. I have used the smallest type size card and another more defined and clear card to also enhance this effect. The contrast of the white cards and hands surrounded by the background give the cards the main focal point. There is also tension with the placement of the hands and cards.

IMG_0593

After receiving feedback via the blackboard discussion boards that the background was too dark, I decided to take some further arrangements. Some of them are still using a dark background (?).

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IMG_0632

IMG_0732

IMG_0771

IMG_0796

IMG_0762

IMG_0801

IMG_0767

IMG_0769

IMG_0780

IMG_0788

IMG_0914 (1)

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Revised concept & theme

Honesty in it’s purest form is to tell the truth and be faithful to the actuality of the information you are sharing. In reality, honesty is not always as clear and concise as that. Much like typography where there are many variations of form that communicate different messages. I have used this as inspiration to create two business cards that are being exchanged. An embossed gold card to represent professional, stylised honesty and a white cut paper card for personal morality. When placed together, it is intended that a trade is taking place, questioning the integrity of both card owners and who is more honest.

Final Thoughts

This project has certainly taken me in a lot of different directions. I had many moments when I was unsure which direction I was going to go and how clear I was communicating my intention. There were a lot of problem solving situations and working out measurements. Most importantly it really made me examine typography and how a different message can be translated by the placement of a letter, and even the actual appearance of the letter itself!

References

Adobe Systems Incorporated, 2016. Freight Sans Pro | Typekit. Retrieved July 25, 2016, from https://typekit.com/fonts/freight-sans-pro

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