Thursday, December 16, 2010

VISC 202 Final Project

The assignment. create a drop cap/illuminated letter.  Get inspiration from historical figures by mimicking their style in the design of a drop cap.  

Roy Lichtenstein

Gustave Caillebotte

Robert Smithson

Project Overview: Of all of the projects this semester, I am going to say this one was probably my favorite.  I really appreciated the amount of time and energy spent focusing in the final product. I feel that each example was a successful version of a modern drop cap letter.  But my favorite part, what I thought was the most affective was the freedom we had.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Final Three

Gustave Caillebotte was born into an upper-class Parisian family in the 1848.  At the age of 12 his family moved to the country where he began drawing and painting.  After intently studying the arts, he joined the impressionist movement and entered his work in the second Impressionist Exhibition of 1876.

*Gustave Caillebotte and the fashioning of identity in impressionist Paris

The one painting that really inspired me to use Gustave was his masterful attempt at rendering every day scenes in such an emotionally appealing way.  He captures a specific moment in each painting, whether it is the moment before the two on the sidewalk collide or the next raindrop will fall on the rippling creek.  As a response to his involvement in the impressionist movement, Gustave dabbled in the school of Realism.  This is where he found himself and his talent.  I don't even need to explain. Just look at these photos of some of his most impressive realist paintings....

Hopefully you saw the common theme of water and its beauty that is reflected upon in every day life.  For this artist I plan on creating an illuminated letter that also uses this precise rendering of the wetness of an object or water itself. 

Roy Lichtenstein was a prominent american pop artist of the late 1900's who worked with artists like Warhol, and Jasper Johns.  He was not taught much about art and design as a young boy but he truly loved jazz and often found himself at the Apollo Theater in Harlem.  Then he went to art school and studied but was interrupted by WWII.  When he got back  he studied more in Ohio then moved back to New York. 

*Roy Lichtenstein: pop-paintings, 1961-1969, Roy Lichtenstein : drawing and prints / with an introduction by Diane Waldman

During his lifetime, he studied within many schools of art... from cubism and expressionism to abstraction to pop art and surrealism.  His interest in cartoon and comic strips show in his late pop art paintings.  These images show his interest in bold colors and thick outlines.  

Robert Smithson was born in 1938.  He is famous for his American land art exhibits.  He began his career in the minimalist movement.  The he wandered outside of the two dimensional and practiced with glass sheets and tubing to explore visual refraction and mirroring of light. 

*Robert Smithson and the American landscape

His mature works bloomed from an odd interest in dump trucks and their ability to move earth (rocks, concrete, dirt and more).  He often combined his natural elements in galleries with mirrors and glass.  One of his other noticeable characteristics was the need for temporary, or ever changing art.  This theme brings out the stage of his earthworks.  

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Illuminated Letter

An Illumination is an embellishment, or additional decoration that enhances the pges of a written, or manuscript page.  The term, illumination comes from the term illuminate, or to fill with light.  This effect is achieved with the applications of gold leaf to the letters and images, which reflect light and appear to glow.  An illuminated letter was usually the first letter of a page or paragraph.  It was always enlarged and in color iwth gold applied in areas, while the rest of the text remained black.  The images used to enhance the letters include animals, plants and mythological creatures.  These images were modified to fit into or around the letter, or in some cases took on the shape of the letter itself.  

The modern counterpart to the illuminated letter is known as a drop cap.  The first letter of a paragraph that is enlarged to "drop" down two or more lines, as in the next paragraph. Drop caps are often seen at the beginning of novels, where the top of the first letter of the first word lines up with the top of the first sentence and drops down to the four or fifth sentence.

So this next project involves creating an illuminated letter/drop cap that represents a person who has a recognizable artistic influence.  The following are 6 artists that I have chosen to study in order to recreate a drop cap with their initials.

Fillipo Brunelleschi: Italian architect of the early 15th century.  Dome of the Florence Cathedral, sacristy of the church of San Lorenzo in Florence

Gustave Caillebotte: french painter late 1800's, Paris Rainy Day

Roy Lichtenstein: american pop artist 1960's.  Oh Jeff!

Bradbury Thompson: american graphic design of the early 21st: washburn bible

Robert Smithson: american land artist of the mid 1900's.  spiral jetty

Georgia O'Keeffe: 20th century american painter: red canna

Monday, November 15, 2010

oohhh yeah!

those freshmen in design 1... GOOD JOB!

These guys did an awesome job of building and placing their super cool letters around campus.  sorry if you didnt get a chance to see them. they were great!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

hmmmm fall :)

just a quick lil thing i needed to make because i really love leaves! I adore this time of year and especially today since we just TURNED IN OUR VISCON POSTERS!!!!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Wordless Diagrams by Nigel Holmes

I got ahold of this book and i thought it would be helpful for everyone. But then i did some more research on good ole Nigel and was more impressed with his other work...

Nigel was born in england and studied illustration at the Royal College of Art in London.  He did freelance for magazines and newspapers for 12 years before coming to the U.S. to in 1978 to work for Time Magazine. His pictoral explanations of complex subjects gained him many imitators in the creative field.  Most of all he was committed to the power of pictures and humor to help readers understand otherwise abstract numbers and difficult concepts.

^ perfect for this project! especially those of us who chose pretty complex studies. But anyways here's him and some of his work (if only we all wore glasses like these)

Thursday, October 7, 2010


Hey guys.. when you take my poll, be sure to check one or the other even if you do not watch TV. Just guess which you think you'd prefer.  Please and thank you :)

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Meet Mrs. Eaves!

Here is my font for the next type project! I'm lucky enough that I snagged this super sexy font :) <check out this video>

Mrs. Eaves was designed by famous typeface designer, typographer and innovator, Zuzana Licko.  It was released in 1996, the same year as the opening of "Rent" on Broadway, the finding of a the new element copernicium and the raising of minimum wage to $5.15 and hour. She is the co-founder of Emigre, a magazine and now font gallery, together with her husband Rudy VanderLans. She is also the creator of original handmade ceramics and many inventive font families today. Licko was born in 1961 in Bratislava, Czechoslovakia and emigrated to the U.S. in 1968. She studied architecture, photography and computer programming before taking a degree in graphic communications at the University of California at Berkeley. Being left-handed, she hated her calligraphy class, where she was forced to write with her right hand. She graduated with a degree in Graphic Communications from the University of California at Berkeley in 1984.
          Emigre Magazine was founded in 1984 and garnered much critical acclaim when it began to incorporate Licko's digital typeface designs created with the first generation of the Macintosh computer. This exposure of her typefaces in Emigre magazine led to the manufacture of Emigre Fonts, which Emigre now distributes as software, worldwide. Vanderlans was editor of the magazine, while Licko was responsible for many successful Emigre fonts. Mrs Eaves was Zuzana Licko’s first attempt at the design of a traditional typeface.  As a member of the vanguard of postmodern typography, and through Emigre the foundry and Emigre Magazine found herself on the forefront of type design in the late 80s and early 90s.
          Her father, a biomathematician, provided her with access to computers and the opportunity to design her first typeface, a Greek alphabet, for his personal use. Working with the newly invented Macintosh computer and a bitmap font tool, Licko began creating fonts for the magazine. Emperor, Oakland, and Emigré were designed to accommodate low-resolution printer output. They were used in issue two, and, after several readers inquired about their availability, she began running ads for them in issue three. In 1985, Licko and Vanderlans launched Emigré fonts to allow them to market their own typefaces and those of other young designers.
Licko's fonts are also evolving in reflection of the magazine's changing contents. After a variety of releases, including a set of pinwheel dingbats and a French-tickler version of Modula, she is putting her own spin on classical serifs with Mrs. Eaves and Filosofia, reinterpretations of Baskerville and Bodoni.
At first, her fonts were criticized by traditionalists and0 designers.  They attacked her for promulgating visual incoherence while her new typefaces were viewed as a threat to Modernist ideals and an affront to universal notions of beauty. Licko rejected standardized formats in favor of organic grid structures that reflected his enthusiasm toward the contents. "People read best what they read most" has become a credo for Licko and VanderLans and has been adopted as a rallying cry by designers eager to challenge preconceptions of type design and magazine layout. Licko's ascendance in a primarily male-dominated profession and her bypassing of traditional training have been an inspiration to a generation of font designers with access to computer technology.  Her and her husband both won American Institute for Graphic Art (AIGA) gold medals for their work in the world of typography and design.

Transitional, also known as modern transitional or baroque, style are serif typefaces formed in the late 17th century as "improved style". Only later was it named "transitional" (as a bridge between Old Style and Modern). They are among the most common, including such widespread typefaces as Times Roman. Transitional fonts fit somewhere in between moderns and old style fonts. Many of the transitional letterforms have the same kind of readability as the old styles. However, they are based on slightly later design. While a move in the direction of the moderns may be visible in these fonts, they are still much more subtle than the moderns. Serif fonts are a type of typeface characterized by small details in the form or tiny lines or hooks at the tops and bottoms of certain letters. These details are called serifs. The four types of serif fonts are old style, transitional, slab serif and modern. Serif fonts are considered somewhat better than sans serif fonts for body text. A common rule of thumb when selecting typography is to use a sans serif font for the header text and a serif font for the body text. They are considered to be a neutral font and work well for body text.
The late 17th century and early 18th was known as The Enlightenment, a time that was to sow the seeds of revolution in France, North America and beyond. The Age of the Enlightenment was marked by resistance to tradition, whether that be art, literature, philosophy, religion. But we stand in the cobbled streets of 17th century France; Louis XIV is on the throne and Jacques Jaugeon is working on what is now considered to be the first Transitional (or Neoclassical) style typeface, the Romain du Roi or King’s Roman, commissioned by Louis XIV for the Imprimerie Royale in 1692. The type designs were produced by a committee set up by the French Academy of Science. One of the committee members, Jacques Jaugeon, at that time better known as a maker of educational board games, in consultation with other members, produced the designs constructed on a 48×48 grid (2,304 squares). The designs, also known as the Paris Scientific Type, were engraved on copper by Louis Simmoneau, and then handed to the punch cutter Grandjean, who began cutting the type in 1698. Interestingly, Jaugeon also designed a complimentary sloping roman (often referred to today as an oblique) as an alternative to a true italic. However, Grandjean himself was to produce the italic from his own designs.
In 1758 Baskerville met Benjamin Franklin who returned to the US with some of Baskerville’s type, popularizing it through its adoption as one of the standard typefaces employed in federal government publishing. Franklin was a huge fan of Baskerville’s work, and in a letter to Baskerville (1760) he enthusiastically defends Baskerville’s types, recounting a discussion he had with an English gentleman who claimed that Baskerville’s ‘ultra-thin’ serifs and narrow strokes would blind its readers. Another notable character from this period in type history is Pierre Simon Fournier who developed the ‘point’ system. William Caslon is yet another notable figure, though his types were based on the Dutch Old Style; however, some modern interpretations of Caslon’s types would sit more comfortably in Transitional.
Transitional style shares some characteristics of Venetian Old Style. Whereas the earlier Humanist and Old Style types owed much to the handwritten letter form, the pen’s influence has all but disappeared in the Transitional types. There are three main characteristics that identify a typeface as transitional. The first being its vertical or almost vertical stress in the bowls of lowercase letters with the stress, like the minute-hand moving from the humanist axis to rationalist axis at 12 o’clock. This is most notable in letterforms like a lowercase "o". Another distinction of this classification is a greater contrast between thick and thin (sub-) strokes. From the Old Style low contrast in thick and thin strokes, Transitional fonts show much more contrast, especially in the legs of letters like M, W and N. Finally, this classification maintains generally more horizontal head serifs. For example, the head of the lowercase d has a smaller angle from the baseline than the Old Style fonts. Examples of Transitional fonts include traditional Baskerville, Times New Roman, Bell and Perpetua as well as the much more recent Mrs. Eaves.
Mrs Eaves, named for John Baskerville's lover, is a mildly stylized Baskerville revival known for its profusion of colorful ligatures and "petite caps", a unique variation on the theme of small caps. Mrs Eaves is a technical tour de force, formerly being accompanied by a program from LettError intended to help designers manage its unwieldy set of ligatures, and recently being converted to an overwhelmingly full-featured OpenType family by John Butler. Mrs Eaves was Zuzana Licko’s first attempt at the design of a traditional typeface. It was styled after Baskerville, the famous transitional serif typeface designed in 1757 by John Baskerville in Birmingham, England. Mrs Eaves, the revival of Baskerville, was named after Baskerville’s live in housekeeper, Sarah Eaves, whom he later married after the death of her husband.
The typeface family includes roman, italic, petite capitals, small capitals, bold, and roman and italic ligatures. Ligatures in all variants of Mrs Eaves include the standard fi, ffi, and fl ligatures, and resurrect the classic eighteenth century ct and st ligatures. A Just Ligatures variant, available in roman and italic, contain a vast array of new ligatures, many incorporating intertwined and swash characters. Identifying characters of this font family, similar to Baskerville's types, are the lowercase g with its open lower counter and swash-like ear. Both the roman and italic uppercase Q have a flowing swash-like tail. The uppercase C has serifs at top and bottom; there is no serif at the apex of the central junction in uppercase W; and the uppercase G has a sharp spur suggesting a vestigial serif.
One element of this font that gives it a unique feel is the slightly undersized lowercase letters. The measurement from the baseline to the top of lower case letters with no ascenders or descenders, is smaller in relationship to their upper case counterparts than many other fonts. Therefore, this must be taken into consideration when specifying font size and leading. For general use, 11.5pt with 12.5pt of leading, is recommended. In other typefaces, this setting may look large and crowded, but with Mrs Eaves it is still quite open, and sizing the font may take a little getting used to. Mrs Eaves has been criticized by typographers for its very loose and uneven spacing, and for having few kerning pairs. Mr Eaves is the often requested and finally finished sans-serif companion to Mrs Eaves, one of Emigre's classic typeface designs. Also, the WordPress logotype is set in Mrs Eaves. Bowdoin College also uses this font in the college wordmark and in many other official materials. This family was voted among I Love Typography's Favorite Fonts of 2009. “Reading text set in Mrs Eaves, I feel like I’m in a gracious home, where eloquence is permitted, gaffes are made endearing by their surroundings, and manners are observed without fussiness.” -Tom Biederbeck of Felt and Wire.

Blackwell, Lewis. 20th Century Type. Yale University Press: 2004. 
Émigré Home. Émigré. September 30, 2010. <Http://
Loxley, Simon. Type: The Secret History of Letters. I.B. Tauris: 2004.
Meggs, Philip B. and roy McKelvey. Revival of the Fittest. RC Publications, Inc.: 2000
Morison, Stanley. Letter Forms: Typographic & Scriptorial. The Typophiles: 1968.
 “Mrs Eaves” Identifont. September 30, 2010. <>
Tracy, Walter. Letters of Credit: A View of Type Design. London, G. Fraser: 1986
Updike, Daniel Berkley. Printing Types Their History, Forms and Use.  Dover Publications, Inc.:1980.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

homework for 9-29

-old style…classification based on the types of fonts that are friendly 1.low contrast with diagonal stress 2. bracketed serifs 3. short x-height (Garamond, Bembo, Caslon, Jenson, Palatino)

-transitional…1. greater contrast of thick and thin strokes 2. wider than old style 3. uneven concave serifs (Apollo Std, Olympian Std, ITC Bookman, Gazette Std, Janson Text)

-modern… also knows as diode 1. hairline sarifs 2. no horizontal stress 3. no influence of handwriting (Bodoni, Bauer Bodoni, Walbaum

-slab serif…hallmark of the egyptian types 1.abrupt serif of the same thickness as main stroke 2. round characters have vertical axis 3. thin, flat and bracketed serifs (baskerville and perpetual, manicotti, city, lucida fax)

-sans serif…letterforms without serifs (humanist or grotesque) 1. straightforward 2.geometric 3. similar weight cross strokes (Futura, fruitier, )

-script…based on handwriting technique 1. 2. 3. (Brush Script, Florens, Freestyle script, Giddyup, Palace Script)

-blackletter…script style of calligraphy 1. vertical, curved and angled,broad-nibbed pen strokes 2.letters formed by sharp, straight, angular lines 3. ascenders are vertical and often end in (Fraktur, old english, rotunda, schwabacher, texture)sharp finals.

-grunge… aged and distressed 1. serif and sans serif 2. added graphics 3. (Ariana, Babalon, Bighead (™), cawing, doomsday)

-monospaced…all letterforms are same width 1. the usually wider letters like m & w are the same width as I 2. non-proportional 3. (Courier, Prestige Elite, Fixedsys, and Monaco)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


If i see another bumble bee... i will squish that sucker. no doubt.

Monday, September 13, 2010

look everybody! Vahalla Studios vs. Myspace Secret Shows

i thought this would interest some of you since this is our professor's studio... they are making posters. the video itself is really entertaining but you should also look at Vahalla's site. there are some great images of rows and rows of their posters. so check it out. ps. there's a random shot of an adorable dog in the video :)

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Adrian Frutiger

"Legibility and beauty stand close together." -Adrian Frutiger

     Adrian Frutiger, Swiss born typeface designer, received his education from apprenticeship and at the Zurich School of Arts and Crafts.  After graduating, he worked for a typeface design company in Paris, then started his own studio in Arcueil.  His work has earned many international awards, including; Gutenberg Prize of the City of Mainz, the Medal of the Type Directors Club of New York and the Officier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.
     His work focused on creating font families and whole systems of typeface. Frutiger was the man guy who came up with the Univers family of fonts.  Other than designing other font families like Apollo and Avenir, Frutiger's impact on modern typography lends itself to recreating the feeling of old metal pressed letter and relief fonts. His goal to incorporate the previous ways of designing text have greatly improved the ways in which we learn and improve our type skills.

In the Univers chart, Frutiger's intentions were to eliminate confusion.  So the 1st number identifies weight while the second defines width and position.

Monday, August 30, 2010

type homework for 8.30.10

weight: The thickness of a character. Light/normal or Bold
width: the horizontal dimensions of a character. The set width is the body of the letter plus a sliver of space that protects it from other letters.
style: design variations of type.  Bold, italic, roman

Type can be measured in points, picas and inches. Picas measure width and points measure height.
point: a measurement roughly the size of a pixel
pica: 1/6 of and inch, also made up of 12 points.
x-height: the height of the main body of lowercase type, excluding ascenders and descenders
cap height: the distance from the top of a capital letter to the bottom
leading: the space between lines of type

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

type homework for 8.25.10

grid: a guide, aid, tool that designers use to solve both visual and organizational problems in communicating a coherent message

Designers use a grid to organize and lay out tons of information in a short amount of time. It allows multiple designers to work together while maintaining the precise guidelines.

margins: negative spaces between the content of the page and the edge, surrounding the images and type
columns: vertical lines that create horizontal dividers between margins
grid modules: rows and columns of individual units of space
flow lines: lines that break up space into horizontal bands
gutter: area on a spread where type and images could be interrupted

hierarchy: the order of importance of the information based on the style, size, color, rhythm and layout of the type and image
typographic color:  differences in weight, texture or value, and rhythm of type that aid in establishing hierarchy

To achieve a clear hierarchy, designers maintain organization in the spacial distinctions (grouping, shifting items)

Monday, August 23, 2010

here goes nothing...

Well this is the first of many new things i will encounter this year.  Blogging has never been my thing. But maybe that will change, now that it is required of me.  Who knows, maybe i'll enjoy it.