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Artist Typeface Module TFD1064. Design for Communication Design Graphic design group Project – “Artist typeface” Student: Leo Patterson Student number: U1259121011 Contact details: 07871574032

Artists and experiments

Cassandre Art deco movement. Painter, commercial poster artist, typeface designer.

Key features :

The shapes and symmetry of Cassandre’s work seem very suitable

- Rich colours

for transcribing into a typeface. His own typefaces are very unique and

- Bold geometric shapes

show many features of his other works, and the art deco movement in

-Extravagant ornamentation

general. I want to explore the art deco movement and the potential it

- Embrace of technology

has for typography, I chose to look at Cassandre as his work is original

- Symmetry

and stands out.

Before creating any ideas I would first sample pieces of the artists’ work, for Cassandre I began with ‘DR. CHARPY’ and his ‘BIFUR’ typeface. I aimed to acheive a font that used features from his own working style, these features included intense bright colours, clean streamlined lines, symmetry, vertical emphasis, and linear hard edges, all of this while still tryijng to balance simplicity. I next gathered a range of colours that are used in his works, seeing which combinations worked best. I decided I did not particularly like experimenting with the art deco movement and moved on.

Paul Klee Bauhaus movement. Painter.

Key features :

Another movement I was keen to look into was the Bauhaus move-

- simplicity

ment, whilst exploring the range of work that came out of the move-

- Geometric

ment I caught a glimpse at Klee’s work, I instantl;y saw it apropriate for

- Circles, squares, rectangles, triangles, and bars to unify or seperate elements

transcribing into a typeface. The squares, triangles, lines and circles he uses in his compact style could produce some interesting results.

I particularly liked the cubism work of Paul klee, I liked the simplicity and the colours he would use. I created this font with the piece ‘Castle and the Sun’ (sample on right) in mind, first creating it in pencil, then experimenting with different mediums, in many of Klee’s works he uses water colours for the fill, I decided to try this also to see how it affected the texture. Each letter is contained in a box linking to the next box/ character, this would give a nice contrast in the colours as they met each other. This font is meant to look hand drawn and sketchy, following Klee’s style.

Anni Albers Bauhaus movement. Textile artist, pintmaker.

Key features :

Another Bauhaus artist, Anni Albers’ had the most appeal to me, the

- simplicity

simple designs and shapes form together to create interesting colour

- Geometric

combinations and patterns. The triangle based designs are what caught

- Circles, squares, rectangles, triangles, and bars to unify or seperate elements

my eye the most, I feel that transcribing her work will form some interesting results, with a possible three dimensional feel.

Anni Albers’ work instantly caught my eye, the geometric patterns and shapes that she incorporates into her work were the main selling points to me. My initial thoughts were to create an isometric grid and see what character forms I could create. the main inspiration to create this initial experiment was from her ‘DR X X’ piece, a piece which forms hundreds of red and white triangles. in the letter C with red triangles I rubbed out section of lines to fill with varying ammounts of colour and shape.

El Lissitzky Constructivism movement. designer, photographer, typographer, polemicist, architect.

Key features :

Part of the constructivist movement, El Lissitzky’s abstract yet sim-

- Abstract

ple pieces will help me create a range of fonts. Lissitzky’s art work will

- Emphasis on basic geometric shapes

prove fairly easy to transcribe into a range of typefaces, the simple use

- Reductive

of colour will allow for more concentration on the form of the charac-

- Simplifying to the most fundamental level

ters, whilst allowing for emphasis on areas of characters.

When I look at El Lissitzky’s art work I can instantly see typefaces being formed, his abstract shapes almsot look as though characters are being formed already. I began the experimental stage here by drawing the basic geometric shapes, then layering them to create letter, and trying to find the most simple ways of creating a typeface, these initial sketches were the outcome. I experimented with varying line weights and lengths to, using negative space to fill and define characters, overlapping shapes to form new ones, and adding ccolour, however, Lissitzky’s work usually comprises of little colour, red is the colour that adds emphasis to areas of his work. Many of Lissitzky’s pieces contain shapes at random angles, but then often with another shape pretruding from it at a 90 degree angle, often this was text.

Sonia Delaunay Cubist movement. Painter.

Key features :

Whilst looking at Sonia Delaunay’s work I notices that she uses a vast

- Reduced and fractured shapes into geometric forms

range of colours, contrasting and complimenting eachother, I immedi-

- Geometric forms realigned in a reflective space

one of the most interesting parts of her work to me, I think that these

- Bright intense colours

patterns have the potential to be turned into some interesting type.

-Circles are dominant in many of her pieces

ately thought of the results of type. Her simple repeated patterns are

Sonia Delaunay’s cubist style makes it quite easy to form characters, in many of her pieces she uses repeated patterns, I thought that using this repeated pattern but then breaking it up into chunks would be a good approach at creating a nice texture, I created the ‘O’ shape out of rectangles, the texture looks like it is forming lines of string.

Eduardo Paolozzi Pop art movement. Sculptor, artist.

Key features :

Eduardo Poalozzi’s pop art work is very focused on shape and contour,

- Bright, quircky colours that stand out

with his work looking almost explosive it’s that busy. I particularly like

- Geometric shapes varying in size and angle

the repeated patterns he uses, such as the blue, yellow, green and red

- Focuses on contours and shape

crosses and squares at a 45 degree angle below. At first glance, I would

- Very pattern orientated

definitely say that his work is suitable for transcribing into type.

- Many layers are often present

When I first began looking at Eduardo paolozzi’s work I wandered how I could form typography from it as I was just looking at his sculptures, when is tumbled across his pop art work however I could see all the potential. I sampled a few of his pieces in sketches and attempted to form charatcers. The use of geometric forms varying in size, lines, squares and diamonds of different sizes seemed to be consistent in his work so I followed his technique, my initial experiments show a similar style to Paolozzi’s. Many of his pieces are very pattern based with many layers present, I applied similar styled layers to sections of the characters I had made, the result was a very messy looking letter.

Sol LeWitt

Key features :

After looking at the book ‘Sol LeWitt a Retrospective’ I became very

- Lines are dominant

intrigued by Sol leWitt and his work. His work is so much more than

Minimalism movement.

- Extremely simple

just lines, a lot more thinking is involved, with the spacing of lines and

Painter, drawer, sculptor.

- Bright and colourful work

the mathmatics involved, the results of his work is quite beautiful. Tran-

- Monochrome work

scribing LeWitt’s work will yield some very nice results, I will concen-

- Structured

trate on the formation of lines and patterns.

-Pattern based

Frank Stella Minimalism movement. Painter, print maker, sculptor, architect.

Key features :

Similar to Sol LeWitt, Frank Stella’s minimalist work is also very line

- Simplistic in both form and content

based, but unlike LeWitt’s work he uses symmetry to form some very

- Very line based

nice shapes out of lines. I will be combining the work of Sol LeWitt and

- Symmetry

Frank Stella to create my own minimalist inspired typography.

Sol LeWitt and Frank Stella lead me to create the most fonts, this was due to my deep interest in their work, more specifically Sol LeWitt’s minimalist work. I would use simple methods to form the characters, of which were mainly line based like these artsts work. I experimented with line weight, line frequency, and line placement. However, I found that some of the sketches I produced would prove quite tedious to form into an actual typeface, an example of this is the triangle looking A. I experimented with constraints such as limiting myself to wotrking within a box, but the whole box would have to be filled (far right A). squaring and rounding edges were applied to give different bodies to the type.

Craig Ward Designer, typographer.

Key features :

Craig Ward’s work is some of the most interesting typography I have

- Texture is a dominant role in his workings

ever seen, he utilises materials such as rope, petals, glass and liquid to

- Experimental mediums

create some amazing typefaces. I will also try and create some experi-

- Digitially created/modified

mental typography using materials other than pencil and pen.

Sasha Prood designer, typographer, illustrator.

Key features :

The amazing illustrations of Sasha Prood have led me to attempt to

- Deep and subtle colours

experiment with texture, like Craig Ward. I intend on using watercolours

- Work based on textures

to try and create type in a similar style to hers. The Caligraphy styled

- Very organic

writing is very elegant and would be interesting to play around with.

- Nature inspired

The problem with transcribing her work is that she mainly focus on

-Watercolour paintings

typography, meaning I must base my type on her type.

I chose to look at Craig Ward and Sasha Prood because they take a slightly different approach to typography, texture and materials are a strong influence on their work, I decided to also take a similar approach in this experiment. I used some wool to form a sequence of letters, I then tryed my best to re-create the woolen letters with pencil. Other materials I could have tested would have included feathers, liquid and stone. Sasha Prood’s work is quite elegant, I tryed my best at creating a similar styled font. I then combined both of the artists styles to create the splattered watercolour, I feel this worked quite well, however would be difficult to recreate digitally, and would be very tedious.

Artists to focus on

El Lissitzky

For the designs I created based on El Lissitzky’s workings I mainly focused on the the form of the shapes and the different ways of layering. I created the top font with this in mind; the simple use of colour in these designs allows for emphasis on specific areas of characters, this making it easier to interperate the character. Rather than using smaller lines for the characters I used triangles in an attempt to keep a sort of consistency through out. To keep the simple form, I only used a maximum of three shapes per character.

The second design I created I based more on the abstract fractally pieces of Lissitzky. I attempted to create a busy looking typeface with a multitude of shapes in varying sizes and colours (based on the colours Lissitzky used). To form the main frame of the character I made a thicker shape, this would be black which would form the majority of the character.

The above font I created using only the shape of the triangle, with each character having a maximum of three triangles to avoid it becoming oo complex. I then

outlined the characters with red to emphasise the character as it is fairly difficult to translate. I thought that this font looked quite like

folded paper, this lead me to create the font below which is made by folding 5cm x 5cm squares of paper.

The final font I made based on Lissitzky’s work was based once more on the simple geometric shapes. I created three different style variatons to it, the first shows the shapes overlapping each other, the second merging the shapes into one, and the third layering the shapes in such a way that they were arranged on top of each other with no overlapping, but rather a dominant shape. My favourite of the three styles is the first as I feel it portrays El Lissitzky’s work the best, maintaining a simple form.

Anni Albers

To begin the expermientation based on Anni Albers’ work I printed out isometric and square grid paper to work on, as I felt that working in this way was most apropriate to the style of Albers. I experimented with thickness of characters, removing sectoins of a shape, and adding pattern.

I experimented with different ways of creating triangle shape fonts, the isometric paper did have it’s flaws as it limited me from creating characters with ease, trial and error lead me to creating these particular fonts, some worked better than others, but usually those were the harder ones to figure out how to form. I felt as though these were not embracing Anni Albers’ work enough, so I moved on.

I decided to sample colours from Albers’ work (bottom right) and created some initial responses based on some of her pieces. The yellow L with pipes extruding is based on ‘Plate 40 - yellow meanders’ a maze like piece, forming similarly to a cross word puzzle. I later created a digital colourscheme sheet to further sample her works colour combinations.

These are the final sketches I created for the fonts based on Alber’s work, I created four variations of the same typeface to see which I felt would work best. This typeface would be the most appropriate as this is by far the most similarly looking in the style of Albers, rather than a continuous line, it is made up of singular triangles linked together. The variations of this were: 1) spaced apart, 2) outlined, and 3) with further detail of an additional three triangles within each triangle.

Below are a few thumbnails of how the characters would be created, the extra parts to some of the shapes are simply just a shortcut to actually making them in full. The next page is an experiment of a similar typeface, but simplified. The page after is this typeface in the full alphabet.

Sol LeWitt

I chose Sol LeWitt as my third artist to focus on as I was keen to further explore and develop minimal styled fonts, the purelt line based designs were creating some nice results so I wished to carry them on. The above fonts were mainly block based fonts where I would create a box and qork within i, keeping to the box shape resulting in the fonts looking very defined and neat. Some of these fonts also had the potential to be subtracted from if I chose to further develop them. The two top left fonts are by far the simplest of the lot. The L on the left is based on LeWitt’s mathmatical work where he would create a grid and create a character from numbers, the higher the number, the harder the pencil would be applied, the result is this shaded L.

I attempted to create a few fonts that would use some sort of continouity. The continous lines would form parts of each character, examples here are the letters R and O. I also wanted to create a font using LeWitt’s contious patterns, I acheived this with several methods: the left sketch I simply made a box full of conecting triangles and then coloured in the triangles to form the letter M, the middle I did the same method but instad filled the triangles with continous black lines, the third I filled all the traingles and boxed the character in to make it more pronounced. These were based on LeWitt’s wall drawings #652, #565, and #752.

The above font is based on many of LeWitt’s wall marking which were simply black and white with lines reaching in different directions. I added bold lines to one side of the extending lines to bring out the font more, the same applies to the three dimensional shape, which many of LeWitt’s work were. The left font shows the transition of scribbles taking over a letter, based on LeWitt’s gradient scribbles on walls. The next page contains the above font in three different variations: l) lines at one thickness, 2) varying thicknesses and three dimensional, and 3) the character is quartered by the centre.

Anni Albers font development

Multiple sollutions

I chose to further develop the final sketch I created based on Albers’ work as I thought it was most appropriate and looked the nicest out of the selection. I began by creating a grid on Adobe Illustrator then using the pen tool to create the triangles which were then arranged accordingly. I chose to work in red as it meant the characters were easy to see and work with. After creating the full alphabet and numbers, I decided to create a few symbols too, however some are difficult to read.

I created a grid on Illustrator to neatly allign the typeface. I created two of the variations that I initially sketched, the results are on the following pages.

Size - 60pt ABC

Size - 72pt ABC

Size - 84pt





I took samples of Anni Albers’ work which I felt had a range of colours, from these I created swatches from which i would choose the colour my font would be. The next page shows half of these swatches applied to a character.

The coloured character abover the line are the original swatch colours, below the line are slight modifications to the existing colour. I thought that some of the colour combinations could do with some slight improvements, such as brightening, greater contrast, or a more complimenting colour/shade. To colour the letters I used the live paint tool in Illustrator, this proved to be quite a tedious task as I had to individually colour each triangle of each character.

These were my favourite colour sollutions which I had to choose from. I chose to go through with the red shades colour scheme as it has a three dimensional feel to it which appealed to me.

Specimen page

Font Beauro specimen book Two designs for the front cover of the specimen book for Font Beauro, both include the design style of my font.

Font Baeuro Type Specimen Third Edition

Font Baeuro Type Specimen third


Font Beauro website This os my website concept page which is based on the current Font Beauro website.

Anni Albers Font


Inspired by the artist Anni Albers, this font gives a hint of Bauhaus design to the work. Can be used as a cover font or a feature font in a piece of work. The font also comes in a full colour set, bold and italic. Bring that edge to your design by adding the Anni Albers font.





• Anni Albers

Artist Typeface  

My digital sketchbook

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