Typography being one of the pathways I'm very interested in i was excited to learn this week. Having done a little on foundation but not knowing much about the history i was eager to find out this in the morning workshop.

We started the day with some history on typography from the old roman letter forms to font used today. , looking closely at their shape / style and form, the reasons for this and how they changed over years. We then got to try these letters by using two joint pencils.
I found this exercise really useful and felt i learn a lot in a short time. I will use this technique to further practice. It was quite difficult at first, perfecting each angle. But i found it very interesting how we can use such simple materials to create intricate letterforms.

We then compared different fonts such as Dante, Baskerville, Ionic, Univers, Futura Light and Gill Sans. And used tracing paper to draw attention to similarities and differences in the fonts. I looked at the x-heights, the ascenders and other qualities of the typefaces. it was very interesting to understand and see the meaning for each difference between the fonts.

As a group we then got to try these letter forms on a bigger scale, with coloured ink and balsar wood. I really enjoyed this part of the workshop and working on a bigger scale helped me to understand the forms a lot easier. We had sand papered the wood at an angle so that it was easy to draw with and transferred the ink successfully. The ink marks left behind were very interesting and we got to experiment with different mark makings when doing this. 

I felt the workshop gave me a lot of things to take home to practice, and knowing we were being assigned a brief in the afternoon, i was already thinking about how to apply these techniques for my own work

Project brief - We were individually assigned a typeface.

The brief was to research the history of our given font. To find interesting facts about the font to enable us to use our research and knowledge of the font to create our own piece of work. We were able to work in any medium and the final piece could be anything from an object to a film. Therefore even though we were restricted to a given font not of our choice we did have a very broad way in how we wanted to work.
The main points we had to focus on were the functions of the font and its personalities. One main factor was that we did not actually have to include any type in our final piece. This confused me a little at first but i realised then that the research was essentially the most important fact of this task. And how we could communicate what the font was all about without just using it.


Letter press workshop

In the morning  we were given an induction in the letterpress room at csm. Having never worked in these facilities or did a letter press before it was very interesting learning about the room and its functions with Helen. Seeing the process of each different machine and how each one worked uniquely, 

The room was full of a variety of multiple lettering and different sized metal typefaces. And to learn that people used to have to use such a time consuming process to make a print of letters made me appreciate the work a whole lot more.

We got to learn about embossing and debossing and were shown an example of this and how it worked, I'm really interested in exploring this further if i have a project to suit this. I feel the simple technique could be explored in many ways.

The techniques were professional and having being able to try it out ourselves showed me how effective and precise this method of printing is. 

I am most definitely going to explore letterpress more, and feel the quality of work that is produced from this is appealing.

In the afternoon i decided to have another go at what we learnt yesterday with a handwriting calligraphy pen i had at home. I used this with some different colour inks. And started to get used to the way of working.


The font i was assigned was ocr-a. I hadn't really heard of the font before however i recognised it visually. I used today to research as much as i could about the font. And start to think of ways in which i could represent the font. 

Ocr-a was a font that arose in the early days of computer optical character recognition. Learning that it was created when there was a need for a font that  could be recognized not only by the computers of that day, but also by humans. Looking at the fonts aesthetics it uses simple, thick strokes to form recognisable characters and is a monospaced font. 

The font is very digital looking and is known to be mostly used on computers. But the font has a diversity about it and this made the font successful in graphic design and advertising ( because of its unusual look )

Its usage remains widespread in the encoding of cheques. And some lockbox companies still insist that the account number and amount owed on a bill return form be printed in OCR-A.

OCR-A .... Its goal

- To create forms which could be used & reproduced electronically and remain legible 

- Strict mathematical criteria with typographic tradition to solve both technical & aesthetic problems

- Created specifically for multimedia, but its distinctive appearance made it a popular typographical trend.

Ideads // Making

Having researched the main elements of the font and its history i decided to start making some work to represent what i had found about the font.  Previously thinking too much with briefs i wanted to just go with what i knew and start putting ideas together visually. I started to work on some posters, but felt that they were a little safe and boring. 

- I need to think about how to showcase the fonts functions in an interesting / unique way


Thinking more closely about what i wanted to communicate in my piece i started to think more about how this font is designed for computers. Even though used by humans also, it is mostly recognised by computers. 

Its function and look is suited to machines more than humans, so i started to think about how i could showcase this

I decided to go with a poster of some sort, but wanted it to have more that one layer. 

Using the point of it being harder for humans to read i wanted to play on this and bring it out more

How could i create something that was hard to read, but also readable?

- " A layered poster "

I created simple posters stating the main functions of the font, overlaying, mirroring, duplicating and repeating the words and sentences. 

- Material 

Knowing that i wanted these to be layered, the appropriate paper would be a transparent paper, this would enable me to again play with the readability of the font and the sentences written for the human eye.



Not able to print on tracing paper at home i used the morning before the crit to print out my work. 

I had a few problems with the printer and my work wouldn't print on A3 as i hoped. So i had to do my posters in A4 instead. 


Initially wanting to use my first idea as the cover with the layered text, i decided to print it. The cover didnt work with the other layers, and it took away from the pain point of my work. I feel it was too hard to read the rest and over powered the other layers a lot. 

I decided to re-make a cover and use the same visual language as the other layers.

This worked much better and the poster was coming together as i wanted.


I was happy with the work i produced in the short time we had been given, and received positive feedback from the crit. My poster communicated the fonts main characteristics and functions. 

I was told to try and develop this idea further in my own time, to look at making a booklet, or play with using some letters on each page to form one statement instead of using a different sentence on each page. And to look into distortion more.


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