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‘Visual Thinking’ focuses on extending your visual awareness, individual creative language and understanding of contemporary practice while examining the fertile and complex semiotic and aesthetic nature of word, image and object. You will examine these relationships while engaging with broad and experimental creative processes through a series of workshops, demonstrations, seminars and critiques provided across the courses in the School of Visual Arts: Fine Art, Graphic Design, Illustration and Visual Communication. This unit has been designed by the Course Leaders across the School to give you a unique opportunity to test and expand your range of skills and to combine materials and processes in different ways.



1. Distinctive Characters 1.1 Research 1.2 Project Development 1.3 Outcome 2. Vernacular Letterforms 2.1 Research 2.2. Project Development 2.3 Outcome 3. Berlin 4. Lectures 4.1 Transmedia 4.2 Postmodernism 4.3. Propaganda 5. Workshops 5.1 Mein Gott G端tenberg Goes Digital 5.2 Japanese Bookbinding 5.3 Hand Lettering 6. Exhibition 6.1 Poster proposal


Typography can be used as a powerful vehicle to transmit ideas and notions of culture, gender, history, materiality and value. The function of typography is to communicate a message so that it effectively conveys and reinforces meaning. In the early 20th Century Beatrice Warde in The Crystal Goblet ascertained that typography should render itself invisible and be subservient to the content. In the 21st Century digital intervention has allowed greater access to typographic technologies and no longer is typography judged on its ability to remain within these constrain parameters. Typography as a semiotic resource in its own right is capable of transmitting meaning. The first task of this project consisted of creating a 3D model of the letter that we were given, in my case the letter N, in a scale of 300 mm high. The model had to represent a word that begins with the letter N. The second task consisted of making a postcard that included a photograph of the 3D model, and add a piece of text that related the word we use with typography.



For this unit of work it was essential to find books that serve as inspiration and that will help build knowledge in terms of typography. One book that was of great help is called The 3D Type Book by Fl@33. This book shows typefaces made ​​of different materials, from pills to shoelaces. There is also a word made ​​with nails carved in a piece of wood. This work served as an example for us to realize that we could improve our work, by simply changing the material used. For the development of the text that would accompany the pictures on the postcards. It was necessary to refer to studies within the field of typography such as Thinking with Type by Ellen Lupton and Best practices for graphic designers texts -an essential guide for understanding and Applying principles page design by Amy Graver and Ben Jura.


One of the best things about this project was that we were able to explore the area of model making as a powerful resource for the elaboration of work in graphic design. Sometimes we forget that graphic design can be combined with multiple areas to achieve innovative and more significant works. The computer is not the only tool of a graphic designer. We managed to execute most of our initial ideas except for two. In order to create the postcard we first created the letter N with materials such as acrylic, wood, nails, news papers and post-it notes. In many cases we used the laser cutter and wooden area of the workshops. The use of Photoshop was essential to improve the quality of the photos in terms of light, contrast and unwanted imperfections of the three dimensional models.


The first poster aims to represent the word numbers. For the elaboration of this piece it was necessary to create the outline of the numbers in Adobe Illustrator and then we were able to make use of laser cutters to create three layers of the same size. My colleague and I thought that the layers could be used to manipulate the lights of the studio and create shadows from different perspectives. Unfortunately this did not work as well as we expected and the layers did not full-fill their function.

For this postcard we took a completely different approach. We bought a great variety of post-it notes without knowing what to do with them. We tried making a flat N on our sketchbooks, we experimented by sticking the post-it notes around a three dimensional N without writing on them and we also tried writing on them. At the end we decided that a three dimensional approach was a better option as people tend to engage more with objects than with a flat piece. We also decided that it was better to use the post-it notes without writing on them because the concept could be easily recognised without any more explanation.

For the elaboration of this postcard we first traced the letter N of the New York Times logo, then we cut it in the laser cutter, painted it with black acrylic and finally we photographed it on top of a purely typographic page of the newspaper. We decided to use red for the text boxes to create a good contrast with the picture. We think that although this N is not as obvious as the other, people would be able to discover the word that we are trying to represent as is quite a powerful N in terms of semiotics.

The last postcard consists in an N made out of acrylic that serves the function of a tank for instant noodles. This was probably the most challenging N of all as we had to try to make it waterproof so we did not get water everywhere in our studio where we were taking the pictures. Also in terms of the text we had to write it was quite difficult as noodles and typography are not related in any way. Overall I felt this project was of great help to improve my hand craft skills and my knowledge of typographic terms and typography as a semiotics source..


This project began with a visit to Poole where we identified, collect and photographed, examples of vernacular letter forms in the town. Our images were literal interpretations of details of road signs, hand painted signs, neon signs, fragments of words, individual characters, manhole covers, gravestones and shop-front signs. Documenting these typographic had a crucial to rebuff the constant threat from planners and councils that choose to subvert local history and ignore the rich traditions of vernacular heritage. Alternatively, we choose to record a slightly more challenging abstract collection of ‘hidden signs’ drawn from architectural forms, found objects, and unintentional typographic structures. The second task of this project consisted of creation a photographic book with the pictures we took in Poole, for this assignment we had to use InDesign to create the final outcome and Photoshop to improve the quality of the pictures.



For the creating of this book it was necessary to understand more how grids function, the elements that compose them and the different types. The following two books were of great help as they guided me through the process of planning the book by making hand drawn sketches and they also help me deciding the type of grid that me and my group were going to be using for the creation of the book; Grid systems in graphic design : a visual communication manual for graphic designers, typographers and three dimensional designers by Josef Muller and Best practices for graphic designers-an essential guide for understanding and applying page design principles by Amy Graver and Ben Jura.

Grid System Josef M端ller


The first step to create the book after the research was to set up the grid that we were going to follow throughout the book. The second step consisted of editing the pictures that we were planning on placing in the book by using Adobe Photoshop. Many of the pictures that we wanted to use we decided not to use as sometimes they did not contrast with the other pictures the way we wanted or simply because there was an excellent picture that deserved to be highlighted, to achieve that we consider that the picture had to be alone. To work in groups was not as challenging as I thought it was going to be. Sometimes our group did not agree about the layout for example, but this was not a problem because we would discuss which was the best idea in order to try to make the best possible outcome. This project helped us improve our team work skills as well as our technical competence in the process of creating coherent visual solution.


The photos on the right display two pages of the final book, Letters In the Landscape. I believe these are good examples of how we tried to maintain good balance and contrast between full pages and non full pages. In some cases we even had to change the colours of some of the letter forms so the page would not look plain and without contrast.


The Berlin Trip was of great help, for the development of the second project, Letters in the Landscape, as my colleague and I managed to take some photos of letter forms that were once part of street signs in Berlin and that know are part of a collection in the museum of typography. Many of the pictures we took in the museum were used in the typographic book. The visit to the design agency, Edenspiekermann, gave us the opportunity to have a better understanding of how big commercial campaigns are elaborated and how big design agencies work. It also gave us the opportunity to ask question that contributed to our essay.


The programming of lectures helped us expand our knowledge not only within the area of Graphic Design but also, Fine Art, Illustration and Visual Communication. Some of the lectures such as the one by Kirsten Hardie about propaganda helped us understand key concepts that were necessary to write our essays.



Transmedia; are different channels of communication telling a story across multiple platforms and formats using current digital technologies. It is not to be confused with traditional cross-platform media franchises, sequels or adaptations. From a production standpoint, it involves creating content that engages an audience using various techniques to permeate their daily lives. In order to achieve this engagement, a transmedia production will develop stories across multiple forms of media in order to deliver unique pieces of content in each channel. Importantly, these pieces of content are not only linked together (overtly or subtly), but are in narrative synchronization with each other. Interpretation/ adaptation (not a form of transmedia): Remaking one media product into another. An example would be a book made it into a film. What came before transmedia? Monomedia; the book, spoken word, music and images, however no medium really existed in isolation.



Postmodernism is a late-20th-century movement in the arts, architecture, and criticism that was a departure from modernism. Postmodernism includes skeptical interpretations of culture, literature, art, philosophy, history, economics, architecture, fiction, and literary criticism. It is often associated with deconstruction and poststructuralism because its usage as a term gained significant popularity at the same time as twentieth-century post-structural thought. Postmodernism is the opposite of modernism as the movement looked at the past and not at the future. Postmodernism shattered established ideas about style and brought a radical freedom to art and design. At its height in the 1980s, postmodern designers such as the Memphis group, Alessi and Arad, contributed to the New Wave: a few thrilling years when image was everything.


Propaganda is a form of communication aimed towards influencing the attitude of the community toward some cause or position by presenting only one side of an argument. Propaganda statements may be partly false and partly true. Propaganda is usually repeated and dispersed over a wide variety of media in order to create the chosen result in audience attitudes. As opposed to impartially providing information, propaganda, in its most basic sense, presents information primarily to influence an audience. Propaganda often presents facts selectively (thus possibly lying by omission) to encourage a particular synthesis, or uses loaded messages to produce an emotional rather than rational response to the information presented. The desired result is a change of the attitude toward the subject in the target audience to further a political, religious or commercial agenda. Propaganda can be used as a form of ideological or commercial warfare.


The workshops allowed us to experiment with different techniques, material and mediums. All the workshops can be apply to graphic design in one way or another, they were definitely of great help to build our craft manual skills.


The introduction to LetterMPress software gave as the opportunity to experience the process of producing our own designs on the computer as if we were working on with an actual printing press. The process was as simple as it is when using a real letterpress because it has the same dynamic. The process begins by placing and arranging type on the press bed then we inked it, and then turning the hand crank to make a print. The following images are examples of the work I produced during the workshop.



Traditional Japanese binding is quite complex. It requires the use of one piece of exposed wax thread or twine which penetrates the text and the cover, linking the holes on the outside of the cover and wrapping around the spine. The holes are generally in groups of even numbers, four being the most popular. The steps are as shown below.


This workshop consisted in exploring ways of writing words that we would never use daily. Some of the exercises consisted in using the non dominant hand to write a series of words displayed in a the screen, other consisted in drawing a word without drawing an outline but instead colouring from the inside to the outside or drawing with dots and lines. This exercise allowed us to explore different ways of writing with the purpose of creating decorative hand lettering. The picture on the right display many of the letter I created on the workshop following the exercises.


For the love of graphics was an one day exhibition that allow us to share with the rest of the group what we think is a good example of graphic design. In my case, I exhibit a slipcase that contains 5 books with examples of the work of the German artist OUBEY designed by Stefan Sagmeister, I decided to include this in the exhibition because is a perfect example of how Graphic Design can combine new technologies such as; laser cutters and 3D printers, in order to create a witty outcome with a powerful visual impact and a meaningful concept. The exhibition was a good opportunity to learn more about the work of other graphic designers and to about curating an exhibition.


A one day exhibition that aims to explore our love of Graphics through a spectacular display of Graphic artefacts, text and collections collated and curated by students and staff from the BA(Hons) Graphic Design Course at the Arts University at Bournemouth. This exhibition aims to investigate how we consider, position, love and cherish examples of Graphic Design.


The design on the left was the poster proposal that I created for the one day exhibition that took place in the main graphic design studio. I was trying to avoid the use of hearts as it would have been the obvious answer for the poster, so I tried a typographic approach that I thought it would also relate more with the subject of the exhibition; graphics.

Visual Thinking Workbook - Daniela Osorio  
Visual Thinking Workbook - Daniela Osorio