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Type faces

Categories: Extra-curricular, Nice stuff

Possibly a throw-back from being forced to write 'self-initiated briefs' at university, every now and again I like to set myself a small design project.

It feels like a useful and, this sounds cringeworthy but, 'creatively fulfilling' exercise to design things outside of commercial work. Trite but true; and doing things like this helps me access the bit of my brain that does the lateral thinking, allowing me to consider things in a way that I hope adds something to my day-to-day work as well.

Anyway, the latest of these little projects is typography-related, as many of my self-set endeavours tend to be, and is called Type Faces.

Creating pictures from letterforms is hardly a ground-breaking idea (and is in fact fairly common on the interwebs) but I did stick to several specific and rigid constraints to keep things interesting:

  • Each face can only be made from one weight of a single typeface.
  • The face must be up of an anagram of the typeface's name.
  • The only manipulation allowed is alteration of each letter's rotation and/or size.

Although my Helvetica Face ended up a complete disaster (and now resides in an 'In progress' folder until I can bring myself to try again), the other outcomes have so far turned out fairly well and are currently prettifying one of the walls at Supercool HQ.

Yes, they may respectively look like Rolf Harris, a forlorn puppy and some kind of surprised punk, but can you identify the three faces from the three faces?

Character traits and information overload

Categories: Extra-curricular, Nice stuff

The other week I wrote a post (Designing the ABC) mentioning we were taking part in collaborative project, Not My Type. Well, the project's completed and, for your delectation, here are the Supercool creations:

Overload by Sarah Wilbois

The ampersand was created using magazine cuttings of the word 'and', meticulously chopped, glued and placed to create the ampersand shape, which is bursting at the seams and falling over backwards with the umpteen 'and's contained within it. Information overload!

S is a character by Katie Parry

The letterform is made up of adjectives beginning with S and each word's set in a different font; a font which helps to represent the word in some way – either its meaning ('squidgy' uses a chubby, rounded font) or something else about that word's character ('Swedish' is set in Verdana; used by IKEA).

Within the S there are: one logo; one (purposely) misspelt word; one word which is also the typeface's name and a couple of coded S-words, set in Wingdings and Monotype Sorts. Spot/decipher 'em if you can!

All of the Not My Type characters – including a very jolly J by Jon Burgerman – are all on show and for sale (in limited numbers) at the Created in Birmingham shop, but only until Sunday 23rd May, when the shop closes – so get there pronto!

(Finally: I vow not to post any more alphabet-related things for, well, at least a week or so …)

Grafisk gorgeousness

Categories: Nice stuff

I'm not at all sure what is it with me and the alphabet at the moment but here it is yet again …

Hyperactivitypography is an abecedarium designed by Paul van Brunschot's students at the Westerdals School of Communication in Oslo.

It looks, feels and smells great, and is full of wittily written information to boot. It really is a ridiculously good, perhaps even flawless, example of balanced form and function.

You can look through and enjoy Hyperactivitypography in its entirety at or buy the real-life, beautifully tactile hardback book from Arctic Papers' shop.


(Hat-tip @H_FJ)

For the love of print

Categories: Extra-curricular, Nice stuff

I first got my mitts on a Love to Print zine last summer when Karoline popped Obsession in the post to me. I swooned a bit, then wrote a blog post about it because it truly is a thing of beauty. (And yes, the print still smells lush.)

Imagine how chuffed I was then, when Karoline got in touch recently to ask if I'd like to be part of the latest Love to Print zine – Pattern. Ooooh, yes please!

My brief: design a typographically-themed spread, based on 'pattern'.

This certainly got me thinking. In fact, a while back I droned on, apparently randomly, about thinking backwards and upside-down but there was method in my madness and it was all because of this project.

Typography is about words, so I had to consider words in my design; it had to mean something as well as look good. That's where the idea to use palindromes came from as they're essentially word patterns. I researched those palindromes which (phonetically) name a letter of the alphabet; with the idea of then using that letter to create the pattern. I eventually settled on 'Did Hannah see bees? Hannah did', making a repeating pattern of uppercase Edwardian Script 'B's.

Not only was I lucky enough to design this spread for Pattern – I got to design the contents and contact pages too; along with the cover, each and every one of which has been lovingly screenprinted, by hand, by Karoline.

Anyway, Patterns contains loads of exquisite illustrations from five fantastically talented screenprint artists, who each have very different styles – Karoline Rerrie, Sarah Lynch, Ruth Green, Helen Entwisle, Daisy Whitehouse – and yeah, I did some stuff too. (Though I can't call myself an artist!) Love to Print Patterns #1 will be available at The New Art Gallery Walsall's Artists' Bookfair on 22-23rd May. If you can't make it there though, watch this space for other ways of getting your hands on Patterns.