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Typography Qiaodan Lou | Fall 2019

Table of Content

Assignments: 1. Visual Semantics 2. Letter, Space, Meaning 3. Dualities

5 13 28

4. Project 1: Grid Systems



2020 Calender


5. Project 2: Type Specimen 6. Project 3: Book Cover Redesign

71 80

Visual Semantics


This semantic project is the first project I did in the typography class. We started off with cutting text related material from magazines, newspapers and books. Later on scanned the nine grid into computer and use illustrator to create lines and copy of text. We first started off with only black and white and focus on the scale, weight, texture as well as visual hierarchy. From the material I choose from my aim for this assignment is to use this work to show my personal statement. Later on we removed the grid but still focus on creating balance, flow and hierarchy.


Tools and materials prepared, found many advertisements and old magazines at home, which all have much text on them.


First time physically cut down words from newspaper and magazine, found anything type related letter and glue onto a piece of paper with three by three grid.


First time scanning what I have cut down into a computer. Adjusting some sizes and removed all the color. This is how it looks like with the three by three grid in black and white.


The same composition without the grid. I am surprised to see how different two work looks even though I know they are the same thing.


Final designs(colored) Yellow and black is always my favorite color, as a personal statement work, I want to use these colors to show my personality. And I noticed that I have created words China since I am from China. So I was using the yellow from the Chinese flag as well as a little bit red to have better color range. Even though the black and white piece wasn’t very eye catching. But after adding colors and convert in and invert the whole project from black to white.


Couple points to for me to improve is that after I showed a couple of my friends and listen to their opinion, some words and meaning are not that direct. So they need little explanation to know to understand why I put elements in the project. And due to the lapse of time that I did not use Adobe illustrator. I feel a little restrained and worry about my ability to use this program completely. So maybe if I learn more about it and gain more memory back on how to use illustrator, I will be more fluent and have more ideas on how to create more interesting composition.


Letter, Space, Meaning


In this project, we are asked to use only letters from the words To create a composition can can can show the meaning of the words that we choose. We are creating a composition inside of an eight by eight square. And we can only use black and white. At the beginning of the assignment, I even don’t know what to choose. I looked at the list and I found towards their eyes and I guess immediately popped up in my mind of these two words which are space and humble.


To start this project, I drew sketches in my notebook. I was trying to visualize the words. I also went to google and did some image search base on the words selection I have for inspiration.


“Space� this word was on my initial list of making, I was thinking to fulfill all the space to show the idea of space.


humble is a hard one for me since I do not know where to start. Almost no inspiration for this word, but I still drew a few sketches to show my understanding of the words.


The idea of many sketches here is to representing that humble is the feeling of something small or unnoticed can be very powerful and big.


For word space. The image of all the space immediately popped up in my mind, Therefore I use a black background and use only white letters “space� in the middle to show the feeling of outer space. And then I try to create a square that is full in order to show


the meaning of a space was taken. And when I bring something I thought about the keyboard because we have a space key on the keyboard. So I use that as one of my design elements, Created a minimal looking keyboard was only letters from the word space.


Humble is a little bit more of a challenge for me in this case. When I do the brainstorming, I did not think too many good ideas about how to demonstrate the word humble.


In this theory, all I want to show is that you don’t have to look back just to prove how strong you are. You actually showed very little, but you have a very strong back to support you. So I have a tree that was only very little branch, but very deep roots. Also, I have trouble standing on Top of a building. But the building is very tall and strong.


Final designs







Dualities This project we focusing on creating two words composition inside an eight-inch by eight-inch box. We are free to create interesting composition illustrating the meaning of the words. The design is not only limited to the text. We can use the letter to create different shapes, as well as avisual hierarchy to show meaning and understanding. My aim for this project in the first place is to emphasis the meaning of the word with my composition. If a viewer can feel the feeling of two words not directly from what is the meaning of the words. I think that will be successful in this project.





As usual, I started a project by drawing in my notebook about some ideas I have. This time the challenge is to fit two words into one space and creating a balance between them.


Although I had a lot of different ideas during the sketch phase, I found that many of them were difficult to implement during the digital phase.


First draft in Ai


First draft in Ai


Different from humble and egotistical, when I was sketching time and space, I want to show them always go alone and together.


I still like to get inspiration from the pictures, and some of the original sketches were simplified or changed by the picture I found online.


First draft in Ai


First draft in Ai


Final designs




For time and space. I do not think they are very opposite so my idea is to create this feeling that time and space always run together. For humble and egotistical, I was trying to demonstrate that feeling of being humble does not mean you are weak, also being egotistical does not mean you are actually strong enough. So for time and space, I create components such as a spiral of two words that go into the distance, or two words like the shape of tai-chi, which two words flow into each other. Humble and egotistical are different because they are opposite of each other in their word meaning. So in the composition, I create design such as humble being have deep roots but egotistical have a tall branch, or even two words form the shape of a bicycle, but humble being the wheel to show without being humble, you are not able to move.


In all the composition I largely use the scale to shape the letter in different sizes. Also I used a lot of negative and positive space to show the contrast. With time and space. I was trying to create as much balance as I can and mostly centered much design because that way I can use shadow and highlight to create an equal feeling. While from shapes with letter, I still keep the typography legible. Words self already has power because the meaning we gave to them, any shape is just to emphasize the already existing power from the letters. I think my compositions successfully demonstrate the meaning of the words. If I could use color in this assignment, I think it will even enlarge the feeling that I wanted the viewer to have.





In this assignment, we discover more about the grid system and design from the grid to create composition use only text and color, to create visual hierarchy, and illustrate the meaning behind text uses only text. Inside the 9 by 9 grid, we follow the guideline, to align texts in a pattern that creates harmony. My goal for this project is to create interesting, balanced composition using the technique I learned in class and the textbook.


My topic about this project is to promote the trip to Sicily, Italy, with the theme “Cooking with Sicilian�. This topic is given to me, therefore I need to do some extra research to understand fully about what does it mean, as well as some cultural background. I went online and start looking and downloading photos of Sicily, as well as cuisine from that area.


I created a mood board from it and picked my color palette from photos I picked. I like the blue ocean and mud color ancient building, so I used them as the background in 3 compositions. I used the color from the Italian flag because it reminds me of many Italian restaurants.





Step 1 I began to try to put the information together, in different places and combine them with other information. Also, I’m trying to use the grid to help me make them look more harmonious and balanced in the square.




In the process I realized once again that my composition looked different when I took the grid off. I knew I needed to make more changes to make sure the end result looked good.



The use of guidelines is very central in this project. After we took the grid away from the black and white composition, I notice the shift to negative space. It just seems unbalanced. So I used many guidelines as my new grid, to align text box. And bold important words from the paragraph to make them stand out. I ask for people’s fresh eyes on my color choice, I believe I got very good feedback, strong and harmonious contrast is created. All the text are well proportioned. Overall, I am happy how my final turns out.






2020 In this project we are using all we have learned in typography class to create a unique and creative calendar for the year 2020. Before the project even started, each one of us in the class were assigned to a designer from the history. My designer is Lillian Bassman, She is a photographer that focus on black and white photos, I was able to draw some inspiration from her. But since her work is not really into typography, I only use this black and white as one of my inspirations. In this assignment, we are encouraged to explore diagonal text and just step out of the box to explore all kinds of text layout and just trying to be creative. My initial goal for this assignment is to create not only beautiful, but fully functional calendar that I actually can hang in my bedroom, and use it every day.



Mindmap While looking for the topic of calendar design. I started thinking about mindmap for 2020. With the keyword pop-up in my mind. I started to write them down. It is very helpful for me to find my topic.


Sketches I soon designed some calendars that I thought were interesting. Different from some previous projects, this time I had some real design ideas from the very beginning. Because of this, I quickly moved to computer software and started designing.





On my map calendars. I combined lots of Chinese elements. All the months are written in traditional Chinese calligraphy, alongside with English for better understanding. Using illustrator I was able to turn dotted line also into brush mark, Which I think creates a very harmony feeling with all the other Chinese character. The background I use an image of the traditional Chinese calligraphy paper “Xuan Zhi�. And put an illustration of rats in the background, Because 2020 is the year of rats.



Final I was happy that I was able to use diagonal text in one of the calendars which has the overlay pattern. Even though it was breaking out the great system, I still think it’s really well organized and easy to read. I struggled with color for a while. In the end, I settled down between black and gold color. I think these two colours has really strong contrast and really made my work stand out because the goal is so bright and the black is so deep.



Type Specimen


In this project, we designed a mailer about a typeface and its designer. The mailer (type specimen) contain four panel on the front and a text only poster on the back. In the four panels, we have to show many features of the typeface, including both lower and uppercase alphabets, punctuation, numbers and special characters, type family and description about the type designer. When it is folded, its 8.5 inch by 5.5 inch; unfold size is 11 inch by 17 inch. The typeface that I assigned to is Paul Renner’s futura. Futura was designed back 1923, but with very simple look and shows efficiency and forwardness. My goal for this project is to detailed inform people about futura typeface, while making it beautiful design.


In the earlier design stage, I draw many scratches to show possible way of making this mailer. Since we are not working with shapes, images, and colors (we could add color if we want later), I want to use diagonal text to make my work more interesting. Later on, I narrowed down to two ideas, one is very grid organized and the other is with diagonal lines across all four panels.




I personally like this one with diagonal lines more, but it is hard to read and distracting in some ways. And it’s kind against the design principle of Futura typeface. It’s all about clean, geometric, and efficiency. So I ended up with the other one and stick to the grid system.


I started working on my final with grid across the screen, these lines helps me with alignment and balancing texts. I use titles in each section to create hierarchy, and just makes the information clean and straightforward. All the texts are horizontal, no surprise anywhere. Negative spaces are created around elements so it’s less chaotic and more organized. This is also what I want to have in the first page, simpelicity. No super bold, heavy type is used, and scale of things are toward the small side. The part which I feel successful about is the way I shows the image of the typeface designer without an image. I used a program that helps convert image into text form, which makes my mailer more dynamic. Also I shows all my special characters and punctuation in an exclamation mark, that makes my page more organized.






Book Cover Redesign For the last project in Typography, we are asked to design a book cover for a book that we read. It is only the front cover for the book, with dimension of 8.5 inch by 11 inch. This is an open project that require us to use what we learned in class about typography to recreate a book cover. The books I picked is Jade Dynasty by Xiao Ding. Jade Dynasty as a Chinese fantasy novel, does not have an existing English version book cover. So I will have to build from the ground up.


Trying to wrtite the title in traditional Chinese caligraphic style.


Also during this project our professor encourage us to explore different ways of making. Many of my classmates decided they wanted to have hands on experience for this project Since I am not able to find the tool set that I need to do the actual traditional Chinese calligraphy painting are used my iPad. As technology advanced I was able to find a very close to reality software that helps me creating this project.





Thank you

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Process Book - Typography class fall 2019  

This is a process book that records all the work I did for typography class in USF @ fall 2019. It shows many design process and my thinking...

Process Book - Typography class fall 2019  

This is a process book that records all the work I did for typography class in USF @ fall 2019. It shows many design process and my thinking...