Royal Academy of Art’s Type Blog 

Diana Ovezea

        •Assignments 1st semester 2014–2015

 

These modules will concentrate on the more experimental/illustrative/conceptual aspect of type. We will explore different techniques to create interesting letter shapes that you can use in your graphic design projects, that allow you to break conventions and tell a story. It’s about using your imagination and your fantasy, while combining it with some important technical aspects of typography and type design.
      Each module allows you to explore a more unconventional aspect of type, relating to hand-work, photography, post-processing, and/or editorial work.

 

1. Superhero logos

Today, more and more clients are seeking a hand-made aesthetic. In this module you will design a piece of lettering for a fictive ‘superhero’ of your choice. You will learn how to sketch letters by hand and refine your drawings, then digitize and present your piece.

        Process:
Choose a character of your choice and design a piece of lettering based on his/her characteristics or superpowers.
Make multiple sketches by hand, work on improving the rhythm and spacing of your drawings.
Digitize the lettering using a font editor of your choice.
Make a moodboard to ‘present’ your superhero to the world.

        End terms:
Result: final printout of digitized lettering (B/W or color) and a moodboard/poster illustrating the creative process.
Evaluation criteria: creative thinking, consistency of letters within the chosen style, spacing/rhythm, quality of digitized drawing (use of extreme points, smooth curves, etc).

 

2. Experimental calligraphy for a product series

Every tool, every stick, and every object is able to leave a trace on paper. There are hundreds of factors affecting the quality of that stroke. Some are directly influenced by the writer’s hand, posture, and state of mind. The tool itself can be held in any kind of way, you can write quickly or slowly. Together, we will explore different techniques to create interesting calligraphic compositions, using color, overlap and repetition. The goal will be to create a series of compositions that work together as a collection, that you can apply to real-life projects later on.

        Process:
Experiment with different/unconventional tools and the strokes that they can make.
Produce many examples to help you explore a variety of techniques.
Choose a product series to ‘brand’ using the the learned techniques (books, perfumes, shoe collection, etc). You can post-process your calligraphic compositions digitally.
Present your series using photoshop mock-ups.

        End terms:
Result: a series of at least three images that work together, together with a mock-up of the products they will be used for (presentation in printed and digital form).
Evaluation criteria: creative thinking, interesting use of tools, broad scope of exploration, composition and use of color.

 

3. Calligraphy and textures

Calligraphy can be more than just letters in a line. How can you make letter shapes look like grass, rocks, honey, or ice? In this module we will look at ‘forming’ letters to visually match specific textures or create patterns. You will choose your own object of inspiration (water, stones, wood, rust, food, beans, needles, computer chips, etc) and create a series of compositions that reflect the structure of the objects you chose.

        Process:
Go around your house/city/drawers and find/photograph objects that create interesting textures or patterns.
Work on recreating a series of textures calligraphically, using different tools and techniques.
Scan and post-process your drawings.
Present your results in a form of a book.

        End terms:
Result: a series of at least ten final images presented as a series, in an appropriate way (publication, book, poster, app, installation).
Evaluation criteria: creative thinking, interesting use of tools, broad scope of exploration, understanding of the principles of rhythm and space, presentation.

 

4. Lettering for album covers

Although music is mostly being sold digitally nowadays, artists still need interesting album covers. In this module we will explore lettering and composition for music albums. You will be able to work digitally or by hand.

        Process:
Pick a music album and come up with a lettering style that can be applied as an album cover. You can draw the letters individually or create a font.
Choose 3-5 songs from this album and create the ‘single covers’ following the theme of the main album cover.
Refine/digitize your drawings, thinking about composition, spacing, and your media.
Digitize the lettering using a font editor of your choice.
Present your chosen album (music+letters) in a relevant way.

        End terms:
Result: a series of album art pieces, printed and digital, presented in a way that is contemporary and relevant to the genre/artist chosen.
Evaluation criteria: creative thinking, concept, understanding of the principles of rhythm and space, quality of drawing/digitzing, consistency of letters within the style chosen, presentation.

 

5. 3D type and food

Letters don’t have to be flat. Choose a series of recipes or food-related articles and create a series of characters to be used for illustrating the cooking process. You will be working in an analog way and learning to break away from the traditional 2D aspect of type.

        Process:
Use real food/objects to build a series of letters around a chosen concept.
Photograph your creations in an editorial way.
Create a series of posters or spreads that show off your letters and tell a story (digital or analog).

        End terms:
Result: a publication or series of posters that makes use of the 3D letters created, to tell a story in a relevant and contemporary way.
Evaluation criteria: creative thinking, concept, understanding of the principles of rhythm and space, quality of photos, consistency of letters within the style chosen, presentation.

 

6. Data vizualization with type

Type can sometimes be used as a means of illustration or information graphic. Discover how expressive type can be by visualizing data with it. You have the freedom to choose a subject that interests you. This can be done digitally, photographically or as a series of drawings.

        Process:
Pick a topic that interests you. Think about maps, numbers, clocks, graphs, annual reports, economics, environmental issues, etc.
Use your creativity to create letter shapes that will be both functional and tell a story relating to your chosen topic.
Present your series of information graphics in a relevant way.

        End terms:
Result: an interesting product (app, publication, series of posters, etc) that makes creative use of the typographic infographics created.
Evaluation criteria: creative thinking, concept, quality of drawing/digitzing, consistency of letters within the style chosen, presentation.

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