Critical evaluation

I am studying Graphic design but I want to specialize in typography. In particular, I am interested in poetry and how typography and poetry relate to each other. My work has changed significantly since the BA stage. Looking over previous sketchbooks, I have found the majority of my responses to project briefs are based on typography and letterforms. Even though I have done branding projects, it does not interest me as much as typography does.

My Project Brief: ‘Not I’

My project brief was to create a response to the 1973 Samuel Beckett ‘Not I’ Play. My initial thoughts on the play were the intensity of the words, which were going through the woman’s mind and the way the words were said. The purpose of my brief is to create a way of showing words of the play through sound and rhythm in a visual format. The objectives were to create a typographic arrangement using the words from the play, to experiment with the words of the play and to render the words of the play using the using sound and the way the words were said. The outcome would be rendered words in a spiral or rendered words shown in cone shaped perspective to represent a tunnel. A digital version of the spiral and a digital version of rendered words shown in cone perspective were also created.

Development and discoveries of module

This project was quite challenging, as it was much more than just answering a brief. I had to work backwards and start thinking of ideas on the ‘Not I’ play then create my own response to the brief. I have learnt that rendering words using traditional media increases quality in terms of the volume of words and how the speech was said. I have found that rendering words portrays the way the speech is said better and the words have a more personal effect.

Initially, I was a bit hesitant rendering the words using traditional media, as it’s something I haven’t attempted before, and was new to me. However, I found this resulted better quality in terms of texture, which added to the effect of the words. Another part of the project that I was hesitant about was working to a bigger size, as this is unfamiliar to me, but felt that this was relevant to the project and it helped me a lot to experiment more and working to a bigger size made me realise weaknesses in my work and where words could be improved.

I decided to use red and black, as I felt the dark colours were more relevant to the play. The colours red and black connote the darkness and evilness of the play. Red is associated with passion and love, however it can also be associated with anger and blood, both of which are represented in the play. Black is associated with evil and death. (Colorwheel, 2015).

I learnt to refine the words digitally and to experiment more using traditional methods. Although most of my responses at the start of the project were quite literal, I felt it was necessary to think in a way to create less literal and more unique responses for the project brief.

Overall, I’ve learnt a lot from this module, as I’ve learnt how to render words, how to work outside my sketchbook and to work on a bigger scale. Working to a bigger size has improved my confidence with my work and I will definitely be use this in future projects. Over the past three years and this module in particular, has given me a better insight of what visual communication is. There is not an immediate answer to problems; as a visual communicator it’s our job to solve the problem not just give a simple answer.

Identification of field of study

Through this module, I found that my strengths lie within typography and using words in a visual way to communicate sound and pattern of letterforms. I have also found that using strong contrasts in my work can have a huge effect. Using a traditional method and then refining it using digital processes is another strength that I want to develop for my MA. I have always worked digitally this module has helped me to take a step back and realise what I can achieve using traditional media.

 In my practice, I am more interested in exploring the written word used in a visual way through the study of concrete poetry and how sound, rhythm and shape is shown by typographic arrangements.

I would like to develop my practice through examining typography in poetry and finding ways this field indepth.

I have been looking into contemporary and historical practioners within my typographic practice. The practioners that I have looked at are: Dom Sylvester Houedard, Sam Winston, Carl Andres and Andrew Topel. Houedard’s as a historical practioner involved working with a typewriter to create visual and abstract poetry. His most well known work was the cosmic typewriter and most of his work was in the early 1960’s (Poynor, 2012). Winston is contemporary practioner, who works using type to create an image and convey a message. He combines playful contemporary information in a visual format. He uses digital methods to refine his designs as well as traditional media to begin with (Winston, 2014). Andres was a poet before he was an artist and he produced visual poetry in the early 1960’s (Artbook, 2015). Topel created visual poetry using mixed media: Ink and digital text (atticusreview, 2015). All of these practioners have created visual poetry in different ways but all of them used patterns, letterforms or words to show rhythm and sound in a visual way.

Having looked at various practioners, most of the typography is only legible to certain extent, as the main focus of their work is the pattern and how sound is shown using typographic arrangements.

How is practice developing?

I’m interested in how type can be visually seen through poetry. Obviously poetry has rhythm and repetition but what does this entail? How can words show repetition and rhythm visyally?. Obviously it has been shown in a 2D design before but how can this become 3D. How can poetry come to life without reading but seeing? As poetry has some implications of the theory of semiotics, how some words can signify and be signified? (Chandler, 2015). These are the questions I’ll be asking myself.

Concept Panel Evaluation

Although I find presentations are quite daunting, I found this one helped to talk through my process and my specialisms in for the MA in a clear and concise way. I hope my confidence and the way I talk has improved and continues to do so during future presentations. My feedback stated that my work has noticeably improved since the previous tutorial in terms of refining and rendering words and the tunnel needs improving by re-arranging words to make words to make them into a better tunnel shape. I need to become an expert in my field of study and to look at more practioners.

Over the summer, I will research my field of study indepth and try to find new ways of designing typography and visual poetry. Also I will look for places to gather more inspiration such as: museums and art galleries. I will try and talk to other practioners within my field to get a better insight to what typography means to me and what problems I want to solve with visual poetry?


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