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  • Danielle Louise

Week 10 | Type & Page

How can typographic conventions and design inform and imbue the meaning of a given text?

Lecture notes:

Type is ever evolving. From the first scribed manuscript that was all created by hand; to now having technology with an endless amount of digital type forms. I already did some slight research into the start of typography in week 7 - looking into letterpress and Johannes Gutenberg.

Technology and Type - Printing Methods

Moveable type - uses individual letters and requires also adding spaces. Printed using a cylinder that rolls over the set type.

Linotype - for a long time was the dominant type of print production. Allows you to type out a line at a time instead of individual letters. W Would turn out a lot of copies quickly. Machines extremely noisy that most workers would be deaf.

Phototypesetting - Uses photopaper or film to create type. Can scale up and down easily.

Offset print - A more modern type of printing using inked plates. How digital prints are created.

Type and Design

Romain du Roi - one of the first examples of systematic and constructivist way of thinking about letters.

Trajan Column - First example of what later became loads of typefaces, like Helvetica.

What is typography to to design and art? It can be more than just type, it can become an illustration and completely mix up a composition. Dada and the Bauhaus being perfect examples. Also does the design of type actually matter or is the meaning of the letter more important? Looking at the work of designers/artists like David Carson, Herbert Bayer. and Jan Tschichold I think makes it evident that the composition and design is just as important. I also love how a type can emphasise the meaning of the word adding more of an emotional feel. So many designers push the boundaries of how type is used; I think this is the beauty of type and design, you can experiment, break boundaries and realise anything is possible.

The task:

Take an excerpt from a national poet or writer and transform the text into a single typographic composition.

I have chosen to take an extract from a beautiful book by Charlie Mackesy called The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse. Although this is a book that was only published in 2019 - It is not only an incredibly beautiful book but also has an inspiring story.

"What do you want to be when you grow up?"

"Kind" said the boy.

My initial thoughts for my typographic composition is to create something colourful. It should also focus primarily on the word ' kind' as this, to me, is the most important part of the text. I think the fact that it is also a question and answer can play into the design and the fact it is a young boy answering.

I had a look at works that I think play into these ideas. Being colourful and child like. I like how most us a rough sketch type of typography to make it look like a child has drawn it. This would also have reference to the book itself as it uses ink sketched illustrations and type.

Hackney Forest School (bottom right image) use a lot of block colours and crayon like drawings for their branding. I think this crayon type effect could work well as a type form.

Looking into the idea I had of the text being a question and answer; made me start thinking about kids exam papers. I love the comedy versions you see from younger children in Primary school where the answer are wrong but comedy genius. I think this idea of it being a question and answer type of layout could be interesting.

I have experimented with using textured paper and laying out type in the form of question and answers. I like this look but hope to experiment more to make it a bit more interesting.

I have also thought about using the colours of the book. It is nice to create a link to the original text. Especially as it is also a very beautiful book.

Final Outcome

I have created my outcome as a poster. It could also be added as an extra page within the book itself.

I like the overall textures created and the question and answer styling. I think the answers could be slightly messier to look younger. Maybe with some extra scribbles around the page to show a kid has been answering this. I think I will also text printing this out and photographing it like it is a real exam paper.

Mackesy, C. (2022) The boy, the Mole, the Fox and the horse. London: Ebury Press.
Hackney Forest School (2019) Spy Studio. Available at: (Accessed: April 21, 2023).

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