I’ve seen Helvetica a few times before, and every time I see it and hear the people talk about it, something inside me sparks and lights up. I love this stuff. It’s how I know I’m meant to do graphic design.
I especially like when a couple of people in the film state that Helvetica is “like air.” It’s always around us. It’s such a neutral typeface, open to interpretation. People insert their own context into it. That is what makes it such an important typeface. It’s very accessible.
However, with it becoming a default typeface, it invites amateurs to slap it on a page and call it typography. That ain’t gonna look pretty. But I like to think of Helvetica as a gateway typeface. Amateurs cling to it for its ease of use and readability, but if they truly love what they’re doing, they start to branch out and try new things with different typefaces.
I’ve had intense classes and projects before, but it always seemed to magically work around my schedule at my job. I’d get everything finished while still making some money. Not this time. For the first time ever, I had to take the whole week off work to devote extra time to this project. It breaks my heart that I wasn’t there with my young artists. But in the end, it was well worth it. I’m very proud of myself for making this book happen.
Behold, the fruits of my labor!
Here’s what each page shows:
Process: proximity and correspondence. The pieces of my compound shapes are identified by how close together they are, as well as the color they share.
Calculate: proximity. I show three groups of objects that relate to each other but are still separate.
Store: continuation and correspondence. The pieces correspond to each other in rows of similar sizes and colors.
Evolve: continuation. I imply a path of movement and growth between shapes, while leading the viewer off the page to where an imaginary following shape might be.
Protect: proximity, asymmetry. The defending shapes surround the vulnerable larger shape on one side.
Network: continuation. Implied cords or lasers (or whatever the connecting force may be) between shapes show a connection and communication.
Monitor: scale. The surveillance shape is much larger and more dominating than the poor little shapes at the bottom.
Infect: repitition. I repeat shapes to show a sense of monotony and order, until I break it with the offending virus shape.
Alienate: proximity, correspondence, framing. The colored dots that are clustered together are imposing on the faded, gray figure at the bottom of the page.
My first real taste of “cut & paste”analog typography a few days ago:
My word was obviously stitch. To illustrate the word, I wanted to show elements of it weaving together. The straight lines come together for a cross-hatching jam session. However, the bold T doesn’t really help. It’s unnecessary and doesn’t make much sense. I think I was trying too hard to get my point across. This is what I have the most trouble with; being too in-your-face about information. I need to pull it back a bit and let the image do the talking without me saying, “Hey! Lookie here! I made it bold for you in case you didn’t get it the first time!”
Aside from that tender morsel of wisdom, the most important thing I learned: Don’t be too rough with laser paper. The toner will flake off and ruin your life. And your craftsmanship. But mostly your life.
One problem I always have with blogging is I never quite know what to say.
Well, I know what I want to say… I just don’t know exactly how to put it together in a coherent manner.
But I guess I’m doing an okay job so far…
Well, a little bit about me…
As some of you may know, I am a veteran KCAI student (and I even get alumni newsletters sometimes).
My first stint at KCAI was extremely short-lived. I attended classes for one day, and, being the nervous wreck I used to be, I left KCAI with my tail between my legs and ventured into the exciting world of community college. (…yay…)
Biggest mistake of my life.
After getting an Associate of Arts (that’s liberal arts, not fine arts… bleh.) degree, I put on my big girl pants and returned to KCAI in 2008. In the time that I was away from KCAI, I had gotten a job as, you guessed it, a graphic design apprentice. (Okay, maybe you didn’t guess it. But it’s still awesome.)
Between 2006 and 2008, I got a job at an art program, got promoted in my department, had artwork in three art shows, and discovered I was absolutely in love with graphic design.
2008 was the year that I decided I needed to be back where I belonged. KCAI.
Fall semester of Foundation went well. No problems at all.
After that first semester, I had to take two semesters off for financial reasons.
I finally returned for good last semester, and I’ve been enthusiastic and grateful ever since.
I hope the next three years are exciting and fulfilling.
Now, I’ll leave you with some lovely drawings of a lowercase “a.”
Filed under: KCAI, Typography1
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