December 19, 2004

Final Typography Project

Above is an image from my final typography project: two spreads and the front and back cover of a fake literary/arts journal called Cadence. I chose the 20th anniversary of White Noise, Don DeLillo's National Book Award-winning novel, as my subject matter.

Unfortunately, because of how I made this project (more on that in a second), I can't really post something that's going to do the final piece justice; even a pdf isn't going to look right.

In order to get an arty, grainy, 'zine-like feel, I used a technique that my professor Kristin Hughes taught me. First, you print out your pages backwards and then xerox them. Then you take lacquer thinner and paint it onto a sheet of newsprint (and thus stink up half of the second floor of the design building), then press the xerox onto the newsprint, smoothing it down. When you peel the xerox off the newsprint, the ink from the copy sticks onto the newsprint, giving it the texture you can sort of see above. It's a neat effect.

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November 24, 2004

Fall '04 Final Projects

The last three weeks of the semester bring with them the final projects of the fall. Here's everything I have to do between now and winter break:

Obviously, a busy time.

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November 23, 2004

Hi M.O.M.

Another week, another poster. This time, an event in a familiar place (ie. Pittsburgh). My event was a local tattoo convention.

Apologies for the large image, but since I'm underwhelmed with how this turned out (despite the best efforts of my model) there's no sense in providing a pdf. But I did want to show it, if only for the hours of effort that was poured into it. And maybe it's not as flawed as I think, who knows.

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November 16, 2004

Onomatopoeia Poster

We're running out of time in typography class, so we've collectively decided to pull the plug on the poster project that got put on hold to do posters on a place we've never visited and an event in a familiar place. Which is a shame, because I'm basically done with this poster.

To recap, this poster involved combining an onomatopoetic word (pop, wow, zap) with another word and an image. The three things together were supposed to make some sort of statement. Mine (36k pdf) is, not surprisingly, political.

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November 08, 2004

A Long Road

HEMINGWAY: I rewrote the end to A Farewell to Arms, the last page of it, thirty-nine times before I was satisfied.
GEORGE PLIMPTON: Was there some technical problem there? What was it that had stumped you?
HEMINGWAY: Getting the words right.

I'm no Hemingway, but I think I know a little about what Papa is talking about. I've spent the last two days finishing and printing my Unfamiliar Place poster for graduate typography class. This involved hours of kerning and pixel pushing to get the words (and images) right. I'm pretty proud of it; it's probably the most beautiful poster I've ever done. It's about a place I've only visited through music, pictures, and my dreams: Iceland. Take a look (5.1mb pdf)

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October 19, 2004

MOM Poster

The sister project of the Unfamiliar Place poster (which I'm still working on) is, naturally, the Familiar Place poster. This time around, we're picking an area of Pittsburgh (where CMU is), then find or imagine an event that would take place in this area. The area I've chosen is South Oakland, where this year's Meeting of the Marked (MOM) is taking place. I figure a tattoo convention should provide me with some interesting visuals and typography.

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September 24, 2004

Personals Typography Project

After an exhaustive amount of work, I finished up the personal ad project for typography class. The final piece (60k pdf) is a series of six 10"x10" panels meant to be read horizontally, flush up against each other.

My takeaways from this: typography is demanding, tedious, and requires a ridiculously sharp eye. It requires patience, but the results can be very beautiful. Who knew that simply moving letters around could eat up so much time?

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September 18, 2004


I must be a slow learner because after three weeks of graduate typography it's finally started to sink in: the space between the letters is just as important as the letters themselves. The shape that's formed between letters and words can be a thing itself and can make or break the whole composition.

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September 13, 2004

Personals Project

I'm working on a very difficult project now--at least it's difficult for me as a rookie typographer. It's a very challenging (but fun) first assignment for graduate typography.

We had to chose two contrasting personals ads, then pick two typefaces that best represent the two "characters," Male and Female. Using only those fonts and no color or greyscale, we have to do a series of 10"x10" squares of the two fonts/personals meeting, first with just the letters M and F, then with the whole personals ads meeting. My male (Caslon font):

23 year old SWM, 6'3, 235 lbs, decent build, brown hair, brown eyes with goatee. Looking for a F who is affectionate, loves to snuggle, kiss & be affectionate in public & private. If you have kids that is great. I am very passionate & compassionate & you should be too. Please no head games because I just got out of a bad relationship.

My "female" (TriplexLight font):

Very feminine, submissive, bi-WM cross dresser, tall, long legs, slender, loves dressing up. ISO a couple w/a dominant partner or a dominant M or F for frequent get togethers. I love role play, spanking, light bondage. I can entertain at my home or travel.

It's difficult because it seems like type has a limited set of "moves" that can be combined in many different ways to form a whole. In a way, it reminds me of chess, looking at patterns of form and counterform.

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September 08, 2004

A Sandwich Made of Type

An in-class typography project: Each student had to bring in a sandwich in a brown paper bag to graduate typography class. The sandwiches were "shuffled" and laid out on a long table. Then we each chose two of them to describe: what they were like, what characteristics they possessed, how we thought they were made. And finally, what faces they would be if they were fonts. (Someone suggested my turkey on wheat was like Cooper Black.)

We then took our own sandwich, and choosing a font, cut and pasted letters (with real scissors and glue) onto a paper plate to recreate our sandwich. (My sandwich was remade with Trade Gothic.) Interesting.

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September 07, 2004

Obeying the Rules

My graduate typography class, taught by Kristin Hughes, began with a review of the basic rules of typography, very much like Karen Moyer's lecture on What's Normal.

The rules to generally obey are the following:

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