Creating a cohesive typography system  

ABOUT: My first assignment in Andrew Twigg's Communications Design course was focused on typography, a core competency for visual designers. In addition to learning typography basics, this project was designed to teach process. We were given specific content to use, and over the course of 30 deliverables, we gradually integrated more design elements. First, we started with bare bones: the use of one typeface, one size and one style. Using an increasing number of variables, I created an effective typographic system that focused on the relationship between composition and meaning. My final typography system also integrated my own textured string background, captured on my iPhone and manipulated in Adobe Photoshop.  

PROJECT TYPE: Typography | Communication Design | Branding 

ROLES: Graphic Designer  


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01 PEN TO PAPER: Sketching ideas & testing in Illustrator

To get started on this project, I made 33 rough pencil sketches of possible poster designs. While sketching I focused on creating white space that would help guide the reader through the content. At this point in the process, I could only play with one typeface, one size and one style. Rules of hierarchy would come later on. After producing sketches and identifying my favorites, I created 8 solutions with different arrangement of text on tabloid-size posters. I used Helvetica 12 point font. 

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02 WEIGHT & SIZE: Playing with font

Here I started to add weight and type variants to the original posters. With these new variables, I was able to create more clear hierarchy within my content. After my posters had been updated, I received my first crit – a surprisingly liberating experience. I received valuable feedback from my professors and classmates and was forced to zoom into the details of space, readability and balance within the content and also zoom out to see the poster as a cohesive piece of communication.      

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03 COLOR, SHAPES & TEXTURE: Layering new elements

Now, it was time to have a little fun! I am very attuned to colors and shapes in the natural world and I like to capture these details with my camera as much as I can. When thinking about how I wanted to develop my poster series, I began scrolling through my photos for inspiration. I started noticing my affinity towards shadows and light and created the mood board you see on the right. First, I used Adobe Illustrator to experiment with shadows and color. I wasn't satisfied with borrowing imagery from the internet, so I started to take notice of the textiles I had at home. It was here I found string and noticed how the light cast a beautiful shadow onto the table. I decided to use the string as a strong visual element that would bring texture to the posters and also guide the reader's eyes through the structured content.  

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04 MAKING A SYSTEM: Creating the design lecture string series

The final typography system consisted of a tabloid color poster (17x11"), a large color poster (18x24"), a flyer (5.5x8.5") with content for one lecture, and a static web graphic (728px x 90px) designed at actual resolution.