constellation – New Materialism – Provocation 1

Meaning of the term body – What model of body do I think of when I relate it to my own practice (Graphic Design) How do we perceive our bodies in the world. Author M Johnson explores this notion in his book ‘The Meaning of the body’ – In chapter 12 he breaks this down to five different models of the body and its meaning;

  1. The body as a Biological Organism – The principal physical focus of the body in the world, made up of living flesh and blood
  2. The Ecological body – Our bodies in the environment around us
  3. The Phenomenological Body – As we live and experience life
  4. The Social Body – The human environment in which we live
  5. The Cultural Body – How the body interacts / grows in different cultures


My initial thoughts after reading this part of the book, from a graphic design point of view was the Cultural Body, as in our everyday life we are surrounded by text and graphics within our own culture. Its everywhere and almost merges into the background as it is so familiar to our everyday cultural life. However I am not looking at the boarder picture of what Graphic design is, as it is worldwide stemming over lots of cultures and environments. Graphic design is the art of visual communication or creating something that is visual to the eye. It involves a creative and systematic plan to solve a problem or achieve certain objectives with the use of images, symbols, words, and ideas to convey information to an audience. It is an aesthetic expression of concepts and ideas using various graphic elements, our own experiences and desires of the client. Also an important part of graphic design is to listen and interpret what the client needs. So when looking at the different models that Johnson talks about we need to use them all to get an overall balance, as there lots of different representations of body throughout the world as a result of the different cultures and life experiences.


Type Specimen Poster – Research

For this project we have been asked to design an A3 type specimen poster in Adobe InDesign. This is a typographic poster that displays a typeface in its complete form, including, all letterforms, ligatures, numbers, glyphs and punctuation marks.


I was given the typeface Didot. I started to research the history of Didot. Is has a very extensive background and was one of the first modern typefaces of its time. Dating back to 1784, it was developed and created originally by Firmin Didot, part of the Didot family. The Didot family owned the most important print shop and font foundry in Paris. Pierre Didot, the printer, published ‘Editions du Louvre’ series with the typefaces of his brother (Firmin Didot). Firmin born 1764 in Paris had many talents, punch cutter, printer, publisher, author as well as type founder . He cut his first typefaces in 1783 and also reworked his fathers roman alphabets. The family printing company still exists today under the name Firmin Didot, Society Nouvelle. The Statuesque, clear forms of the Didot alphabet are representative of their time. They are known as ‘modern’ and are characterised by extreme vertical stresses and fine hairlines contrasted by bold main strokes. As shown in the picture above taken from my sketch book.

                  The picture above, shows the books that I used while researching Didot Typeface

In 1991 Adrian Frutiger developed the Didot font further and is a sensitive interpretation of the french Modern typeface. Linotype Didot is used in many book and magazine designs, as well as advertising. It is classic and elegant. – A feature on Adrain Fruitger taken from Eye magazine.

Didot is everywhere, on fashion magazine covers, like Vogue and Bazar, on billboards, and branded logos such as Hilton, Dior, CK, Boss, Yves Saint-Laurent, Giorgio Amani, Zara and Guess.  This is blog that I found while researching. It shows Didot being used across a variety of products.

Now that I know the history and where Didot is mostly used, I started to look at different type specimen posters online. This link will take you to where I sourced my type specimen posters

Above are a four that I found. Each one has a very different layout and are effective in their own entity. I particularly like the bottom right poster, as it depicts the sense of what Didot being used for Magazine covers, such as Vogue. I also looked at typographic posters to get a sense of how I should think about laying out my own poster. Here are some example of a few that I looked at.

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Above are a few of my preliminary layout sketches that I have drawn for the Didot type specimen poster. My initial thoughts are to go with sketch number 2, to me it is the most eye-catching. However I am undecided, more sketches need to be done before I make a final decision.

After coming up with some more designs in my sketch book, I have decided on my final design ready to reproduce in Indesign




Six Word Story – Hybography


Final pieces displayed in the studio

For this brief we were asked to come up with a six word story that encapsulates the essence of a Roald Dahl story of our choice. I decided to go with one of my favourite Roald Dahl stories from my childhood ‘The Twits’. The word that I choose were ‘Hairy revolting duo play beastly tricks‘. From this I had to create an A3 black and white typographic poster. Thing that we had to consider:

  • The majority  or all of the letterforms must be hybrids
  • Must not contain any illustration or image
  • The tone of the words used
  • Can use both upper and lower case
  • size and scale of the letters
  • Placement of the text

To begin with I started to look at Hybography – typographic hybrid. This process creates new forms using half serimg_0221-2if and half san-serif. You can do this by cutting and chopping letters and placing them together. We were given a large sheet with serif and san-serif letters on, like the photo to the left. By tracing over the letters half and half, I was able to create the hybrids letterforms. The next part was to choose descriptive words and conveyimg_0229 their meaning with my newly created letterform. These are some of my experiments. Think that word explode came out the most effective.

Below are a few sketches that I made in my sketch book of ideas that I started to have.

After initial drawings I started to develop my ideas in Illustrator. Fonts used that I used  Luminari (serif) and Duperpro (Sanserif)

Luminari and Duperpro fonts used to create the hybrid font

I was trying to make the hypo font messy and a little playful.  I was trying to make the word revolting look like it was throwing up the duo, I turned the g around to give this effect, with the word duo spilling out of the g’s mouth. The word Play I created the effect of it being playful by placing the a above to make it look like the l and the y were kicking it about.  For Beastly I used the white arrow (in illustrator) to drag the whole word down to give the effect of it being more scary / sinister. The word tricks, I turned the i and the k inside down so that it had a mischievous look.

It was challenging to make the words come across as their descriptions, and getting to grips with Illustrator, as it was something that i had not used before. However from looking at the piece again I would have liked to make hairy and tricks larger to stand out more to emphasise these words. I think that I may do some more tweaking to this piece to get a cleaner outlook of the whole piece.

six-word-story-2-02 this is my final piece

6-word-story the alphabet that I made with two different fonts.


Cardiff Font Hunt


We were given a task in groups to seek out certain types of fonts within Cardiff city centre. The typefaces that was had to find were:

  • Nesting – when a letter fits snuggly in a space shaped specifically for that letter, and the letter is shaped for the shape


  • Ligature – When two of the letters out of the word are joined together
  • Condensed – theses typeface allow you to make the font fit into a space when there is limited amount of space to fit your word into.

Finding examples of these was more difficult than first expected. I found that the ligature typefaces that we had sourced were not correct to their definit2000px-ligaturesion, as I discovered after the hunt. Ligature typefaces are only  relevant to certain letters. As shown in the picture to the right. We were also mistaken with the nesting typeface, as the images that we took were classed more as logos rather than nesting.






As you can see from the image on the left, nesting is literally the letter nested neatly into the word.

After our font hunt we, discussed what we had each found and choose a couple of typeface to recreate in the studio, with coloured card. We then up all the pieces together to create a display in our reception at University.

I enjoyed discovering different typefaces in Cardiff, it has made me more aware of all the different types of fonts that are used everyday. I am now finding it very difficult not to spot and question any type of font that I see. It has made me look at my world in a different way. This activity has also taught me how important it is research properly, something that I will be more aware of for my future projects.


Letter Press Workshop

The Letter Press workshop was something that I was really looking forward to as it was something that I wanimg_0167t to have a go at. Letter press is the oldest form of printing, designed so text could be mass produced, such as for books or newspapers. The workshop was on a much smaller scale.

The process uses raised letter incased in a chase, you have to place the letters within it to create the words. However the letters have to be placed upside down, so that when it came to printing it reads the right way, this part was rather tricky. The process of printing is fairly quick, its the typesetting which is the most time consuming, which I found out.

The workshop took place in a small room just off a larger printing room. As you walked into the room, you could see rows of wooden draws full of different types of metal letter fonimg_0174ts, which were at our disposal. As there was quite a few of us taking the workshop there was only limited amount of certain letters, so I decided that I would use a variety of different fonts. I did find though that the packing process, (which makes sure that the letters all stimg_0168ay in place ready to be used for printing), was a lot more fiddly, and it took quite some time to get right, without them all falling out at the bottom. While working on the typesetting we had to use metal blocks in-between the words to create spaces and long strips of leading which was placed underneath the words to create the vertical space between the lines. I learnt that this is actually where the typography term leading derives from.

After the typesetting, I was ready to use the printing press. We were using oil based ink, we had red and charcoal black. I used a roller to spread the ink on the the surface of the raised letters. Then placing the paper that i wanted to print onto, along with some extra padding on top, I proceeded to push a large roller over the top to make the print.

My first print as you can see in the picture below showed all the letters that I got back to front on the typesetting. Once I made correctionimg_0169s, I was able to print many prints. It was very satisfying process and the final outcome I was really please with.


This is something that I will defiantly be doing again. Id like to play about with more type fonts and colours.


Layout, Heirarchy and The Grid


Part of our word section of the course covers the key concepts for designing a piece of work. To begin with we looked at Layout; page layout deals with the visual element of the page to create an overall composition. Which shows a clear path for the eye. This is for the viewer to find the easiest route to look over the piece. There are different types of layout that can be used below are a few examples.


Within the layout of the piece, typesetting is an important part. Typesetting is the composition of text within the layout. The text itself is a ongoing sequence of words which are distinct from the headlines or captions. It is often referred to as the the “body”. When thinking about layout of the text it can be set out in many ways to achieve different results.

Centred type which is most often used is the simplest ways to set out text blocks. Lines are of uneven length, however it allows the designer to create elegant and organic shapes, by breaking the text up.

Justified can either to the left or right. By using justify text you can create a clean shape on the page. Most efficiently used in newspapers and books. However gaps can appear, as the text is forced to make lines of even space. This can be overcome by increasing the line length. Poorly done and you will create what looks like rivers running through the text block.

Flush left is where the left edge of the texts looks hard and the right edge is soft. It give the text an organic flow and avoid the uneven spacing the plagues justified type.

Flush right  text  gives the text hard edge to the right and soft left edges. Often used for captions and side bars .  As it is unusual it can distract from the  path for the eye.

When using any of the type layouts Rag is an important factor to be aware of. The Rag describes an uneven margin for a vertical column of type. A bad rag will create all sorts of weird shapes along the edge of your text. It spoils the overall look of the piece and can be a distraction if wanting to create an organic flowing layout.

Another part of typesetting is line spacing within a paragraph of text. This is the distance between the lines of type. It is also called leading. Designers play about with the leading to create distinctive layouts. It is also important to think about the kerning and tracking when creating a piece of text. As well as line length, as the eye and brain can only stay focused on a line of text for so long before the reader looses position and destroys the flow of the text. The optimum line length is generally set at about 39 – 45 letters. This is often referred to as ‘measure’.


One of the most important aspects of communicating with type is to establish a strong typographic hierarchy. It is the styling and placement of all the elements both type and images that guide the viewer through the contents in order of importance. Hierarchy is important for creating a clear path for the eye. Making things that need to relevant stand out.

The Grid System

Using a grid when designing on the computer is a helpful tool to take advantage of. The grid is there as a base to your design. For instance when designing a magazine layout, you want the magazine to have a uniformed layout throughout, as to make it feel like its all part of the same thing. You basically set up your grid by using X amount of columns for each page. Within these columns you are able to play around with the layout more freely and know that it is not going to look too different on each page.

All these parts of design are important to creating a successful piece of work. To make them legible, and creating a clear path for the eye. However, thinking outside of the box will create some really interesting pieces of work. Something to explore in the future, but for now, I’ll be producing pieces of work using these tools of design.


Quentin Blake Exhibition


Blake is one of Britain’s  best loved illustrators, known famously for his illustrations in Roald Dahl books. Blake himself writes about his techniques and experiences of being an illustrator. The exhibition brings together first drafts and finished art work to demonstrate how his own ideas evolved.

Images taken from Cardiff museum website

We looked at 9 books chosen by Blake and next to each book he talks about how he developed characters and mood, and examines the essential balance between text and pictures. A interesting part of the exhibition for me, was a short film that showed how he uses different types of techniques with is pens to create the distinctive look to his unforgettable illustrations. There was also a piece on the design process showing illustrations from the “The Green Ship”, it was interesting to see the working out of how blocks of text and Illustrations were worked out to sit within the space nicely.

The whole exhibition was very well laid out with a lovely flow to the exhibits all encompassed in a light and open room, adorned with large illustrations of his work all around to see. Over all it was all very familiar, stirring up great memories of reading Roald Dahl books in my childhood. Has also inspired me to look up other works that he has illustrated.