Page 1

visual thinking NADINE GRANT







This term has enabled me to extend my visual awareness and understanding of contemporary practice, whilst examining how words, images and objects work ztogether. I have created a typography book of images of Poole and 3D letter form in the shape of a ‘U.’ I have also collaborated with people from Fine Art, Illustration and Visual Communication, by attending a range of workshops, seminars and lectures, which have allowed me to extend my knowlegde about design and develop both my digital and practical skills.

isual t


ec tu re s






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 constrained parameters.

Typography as a semiotic resource in its own right is capable of transmitting meaning. Working with Tammy, we picked the initial letter ‘U’ 150mm by 150mm, following set and based on the terminology and glossaries contained within the brief we explored a variety of words that was related to the unit - we also looked at producing it in caps or lowercase. After carefully planning and researching we were required to design and make a three-dimensional initial character that communicates the meaning of the word, with the option of making the final model out of found objects.

150mm X 150mm

is for upset

is for USA





After having an initial brainstorm, Tammy and me decided to pick the best words that we would be able to experiment with in order to create a successful letter outcome. We decided to discard the idea of upset as we initially thought of making something 3D put of teardrops or quotes to do with people being upset, but we thought this would be unclear. We also thought that uneven would be hard to show as any textured

is for uppercase

surfaced created out of paper mache isn’t very imaginative. Also universe was a bit boring as all we could show was planets. Our strongest ideas were USA and uppercase, as we could look into why the uppercase form was originated and the influence of the Trojan column, Rome and introduction of stone.

is for universe

After having a crit with Roger and doing some research, we decided that the best idea to work with would be U.S.A as we would be able to research into American history of typography and look into the influences that America have had on design. As there are often many unique type faces, we could explore the stars and striped of the flags, we need to now look into ‘Émigré.”

is for uneven



After cutting out the shapes, we started to experiment with different placements of the stars and looking at capital and lower case letters, we then thought we’d experiment when taking the pictures with lights behind it to see how it affected it. I think that the lights really helped to emphasise the letter, however, we felt that it lost the American feel, as it didn’t really represent the U.S.A. After our crit, it was suggested that we really look into how we could show America, which led us to look at a range of things like American culture, food, and music. We then decided to make a

paper mache eagle, but we felt that it did not work as people would think it was an ‘E.’ We then decided to have relook at our initial ideas and see what other words we could used to represent the ‘U.’ We then started to explore the word umbrella, but instead of literally representing it we thought we would use cocktail umbrella’s. I braided Timmy’s hair and put the umbrella’s in her hair, in a sort of oriental style. Although, the image was really striking we decided that we were over complicating the idea.

We decided to use universe, because we felt that it would be a simple concept that we could experiment with the planets on the solar system. To make the planets, we originally decided to make paper mache balls, which we dried in the oven and painted. However, when we were trying to mould the shapes they became rough, in our crit it was suggested that we make the shapes out of oven hardening clay as it would be smoother and look more professional when we painted it, also we realised that if we tried to hang the

planets on string it would just droop down and we wouldn’t be able to get the planets on the string whilst they had dried, so we decided to use wire. When we went to the shop, we found polystyrene balls which we felt would work a lot better as we would be able to push the wire through it and shape it more to make the final ‘U’ shape. We were really pleased with our final ‘U’ design as we felt that it depicted universe really clearly, the only thing that we needed to do was tie the individual layers so the ‘U’ would stay together.

To use the original letter form into produce an A6 postcard with the image on one side and a brief description of word on the other. The phrase or quote has to depict both the meaning of the word and typography. Ideally the postcard should be created using InDesign, Photoshop, Layout and pre-print specification.


f e i r


148 MM

qu To create the postcard we were able to get to know InDesign, as we had to create a bleed and slug and it was the first time I had actually used the software. We found lots of quotes to do with space and time, but we felt that Robert bringhurst was most effective as it talked about the visual form.

105 MM




“Typography at its best is a visual form of language linking timelessness and time” Robert Bringhurst.

“Typography at its best is a visual form of language linking timelessness and time” Robert Bringhurst.

“T ypography at its best is a visual linking timelessness and time” - R

form of language Robert Bringhurst.

“T ypography at its best is a visual form of language linking timelessness and time” - Robert Bringhurst.

“T ypography at its best is a visual form of language linking timelessness and time” - Robert Bringhurst.

Robert Bringhurst.

“Typography at its best is a visual form of language linking timelessness and time”

“Typography at its best is a visual form of language linking timelessness and time” Robert Bringhurst.

“T ypography at its best is a visual form of language linking timelessness and time” - Robert Bringhurst.

We decided to photograph our ‘U’ outside on black paper, as we felt that allowed the letter to stand out more, after importing it into the InDesign file, I added the quote and started to experiment with different layouts and styles as shown in the page above. I originally thought that it would be more effective to have the text in the middle of the page, however the text was hard

to read so I decided to add a border underneath it, but this didn’t really work as it made the page look too crowded. I then decided to experiment with negative space and have the text on the side of the picture; I felt this worked better as it meant that the image had space to breath. However when Tammy and me looked at it we decided that there was too much space, which made the

focus less on the image. So we changed the text to the bottom of the image, changed the font size and made Bringhurst’s name italic. After looking at it further, we decided that we hadn’t added to ring to Saturn so we drew it in Photoshop, we felt that this looked better that a paper mache ring as it was more subtle.




brie f







On a visit to Poole, you will identify, collect and photograph, examples of vernacular letterforms in the town. Your images could be literal interpretations of details of road signs, hand painted signs, neon signs, fragments of words, individual characters, manhole covers, gravestones or shop-front signs. Documenting these typographic havens is 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, you could choose to record a slightly more challenging abstract collection of ‘hidden signs’ drawn from architectural forms, found objects, and unintentional typographic structures. I worked in a group with Anna, Tammy, and Holly; we were able to explore Poole museum, high street and harbour where we were able to gather a huge range of different images.

After looking at all the image we had taken, we went through as selected a range of letters to make up our alphabet. We wanted to have a range of page layouts, as well as full images and small photos we also decided to use our ‘A’ and ‘X’ as a full spread this was quite difficult but we managed to duplicate the gutter so that the image fitted.

As we were making a French fold book our page dimensions were 300mm x 300mm with a 3mm bleed we also had to allow for a 10mm gutter which would be lost when the pages were glued together. I found the French folding technique was really interesting as it was something I’d never donebefore, however our book did

sink down into the glue but we were able to file it down with the scalpel to fix it. It was also interesting to see the effect that negative space has on the page, as the original lettering was quite large, as we created an image using Letter MPress, which we layered on top of on of our images. When we showed it to Roger and Mike, they suggested that we only keep the word

landscape and have the rest of “letters in� typed as it would make the words landscape stand out. Overall, the group project was really rewarding as we were able to share ideas and skills, and I was really pleased with the final outcome of the book.

f4 r ie PR O M OT I O NA L PO S T ER

After creating our book, we were then required to create a promotional poster for the book, the only requirements we that the poster was A2 portrait and had at least 300 words of text on it. I originally place my text on an image of Poole harbour but I felt that the image didn’t represent the theme of the book so I choose the image of the bench. I felt it was more effective as the shape of it made different letters like “A” and “M” also we hadn’t used it in the book, so it was a nice contrast. I also experimented with different layouts of the text; I feel the final image is a lot stronger as it’s very simple so are drawn instantly to the title.

Words do two major things: They provide food for the mind and create light for understanding and awareness. - Jim Rohn Beautiful Typography is everywhere, but do we take it for granted. In a collaborative group project with the Arts University Bournemouth, the book “Letters in the landscape - A Lexicon of Urban Typography” created by a group of (BA) Graphic Design students on a visit to Poole Harbour, Dorset, explores the vernacular letterforms the found, showcasing them in the form of a creative alphabet. The images that were identified and photographed range from shop windows, details of road signs, hand painted signs, neon signs, fragments of words, individual characters, manhole covers, gravestones or shop-front signs to some slightly more challenging abstract collection of ‘hidden signs’ such as architectural forms, found objects, and unintentional typographic structures.

Documenting typographic havens is crucial to rebuff the constant threats from planners and councils that choose to subvert local history and ignore the rich traditions of vernacular heritage. Why is it important? Due to our busy schedules, we often do not take the time to appreciate the natural design around us. Typography is 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. Yet, people are often searching on Google for inspiration instead of admiring the letters that are around them. Feel free to pick up a copy of our handmade book that we designed, printed and binded using the popular French-fold technique. We hope that reading it will open your mind and inspire you to discover the hidden messages in the landscapes around you. To find out more about the courses and opportunities available in Bournemouth, visit our website:



Digital Practice And Theory Lee Mackinnon 13.01.14 We will explore the history, development and pervasiveness of digital culture today. The focus is on the materiality of the digital as we dispel the myth of virtually and Disembodiment. Ideas Discussed -Notion of play (Labour is play and play is labour) -History of the Internet -Internet invented in a time of warfare - Video Alex Galloway The Internet as playground and factory (2010) I initially thought Lee’s lecture was going to be it was going to be more about social media and how technology effects design instead of machinery; the topics she covered were quite insightful as it was a different way that I hadn’t thought about exploring design before.

Oooh, aah, mmmm: Notions of Taste, Aesthetic Judgment and Consumer Culture. Kirsten Hardie 20.01.14

The Power of Persuasion: Propaganda - Meanings, Methods & Messages. Kirsten Hardie Mon. 27.01.14

This session explores our relationship with objects and how we respond to and give value to ‘things’ and how our aesthetic judgments and purchase decisions relate to consumer culture.

This session investigates propaganda - what it is, why it exists and how it operates - through consideration of historical and in particular contemporary examples from across a range of dynamic, dramatic and diverse contexts and channels of communication.

Ideas Discussed -Pressure to buy -Advertising try’s to seduce -Plays with peoples emotions - London riots - adidas’s image tainted -Function/Form/Ergonomics/ Materials/Colour -Design things that won’t last -Copy of things already done -James Twitchell -Kitsch (cheap, quality) I really enjoyed Kirsten’s lecture it opened my eyes and made me realise how much kitsch is out there, this was backed up by the seminar where we analysed more objects e.g. the fox scarf which still had the head on it, shows what is now socially acceptable to have.

Ideas Discussed -Definition facts, or allegations spread deliberately to further ones cause or to damage an opposing cause. -Propagate (spread information) -Black - Not reliable (but plausible) -Grey - In between -White -Reliable sources (true) -Censorship/ False Flag I found Kirsten’s lecture really useful as although I was aware of propaganda in is campaigns e.g. Hitler, I was not aware how much it is actually used to control people. All the information I gathered is also helpful to me preparing for my essay.




k r o w s p o h s


JAPANESE bookbinding FRENCH FOLD bookbinding TRADITIONAL letter press MEIN GUTENBERG letter m press SILKSCREEN printing

manual digital LETTER PRESS


The first workshop that I went to was the Introduction to Letterpress lead by Sarah Bryant from the Big Jump Press. I really enjoyed the workshop as it was really hands on and it showed us another way that we could make our prints different. Originally we set large letters on the bad and created the different letterform patterns by rotating the paper. We then picked our own font for our sentence, which

we printed on top of the background. We found that the more layers of paper that we had the more of an indent in the page there was. Overall I was really pleased with my outcomes and I will definately use the process again, even on one of my prints that messed up by layering on top of it, it made it look like a shadow.

I then decided to sign up for the digital letter press session to see how it varies, I found the software really interesting as you could constantly build up on layers of text to give the same effect as the manual method and the bring it into Photoshop and edit it. I feel that I will probably use this more than the manual method, as it is a lot easier and quicker.

The Fukuro toji technique is considered by many as the classic form of Japanese Bookbinding, we created a book with 5 holes, but it can also be done with four. I really enjoyed the workshop as it showed another way to bind paper, even though we used the same thickeness of paper, it is a method that can be used with a range of different types of paper. Although, I found the process of pulling the needle through the book quite challenging and had some issues lining up the holes. I am really please that I was able to learn the techniques, as it is something that I can use to make my own sketchbooks or notebooks in the future.

After attending the silkscreen workshop, I decided to go back and do some more printing with Harriet and Maya. I found this very beneficial as when we went through it as a group I wasn’t able to really engage with the process fully, but going back I could break down the process and go at my own pace. It was also really interesting as Monday is open access day, so we were able to see what people on o ther courses were doing, which gave me inspirations for

other outcomes that I can use for my projects such as T-shirts, Canvas bags. It also made me aware of how we can use to silkscreen process fully, as I started to experiment with layering a very simple image and block of text, but by breaking down an image in Photoshop, I could also experiment with the threshold and build up and image experimenting with detail and colour.

All art is propaganda. It is universally and inescabably propaganda sometimes unconsciously, but often deliberately, propaganda. UPTON SINCLAIR

LONDON 04/02/14 FOR THE LOVE of graphics 17/02/14

ex t



Although there were not many graphic design specific exhibitions on, I found the London trip quite useful, as it was nice to get out of Bournemouth for a day. We were able to visit a range of exhibitions and saw 3D printing at the science museum, the image above is from the Saatch gallery, I really liked the way the images used space with the droplet going to the floor, as it made the images more bolder and striking.

We decided to exhibit scarves, inspired by Simon Cook (Stone and Spear,) who did a talk at Ravensbourne when I was on foundation. I really like his work, as he shows how easy it is to collaborate and how changing the outcome can effect how the work is viewed. He worked with Lucy Jay to create the series of handkerchiefs, made up of quirky kaleidoscopic patterns. They were digitally printed onto 100 % silk crepe de shine, in the UK. Which he said “make their design bold, bright as they could get down to the tiniest detail.” Although we didn’t have enough time to contact him for samples we showed some of out scarves that were brightly, patterned which helped add something different to the exhibition.

ke tex y ts

Overall, I feel this term has been really successful as it has allowed me to develop both my hands on and digital skills as I was able to experiment with Indesign which I’d never used before. As well as the workshops and lectures I have attended, the books on the reading list have aided my work. In particular Basic Designs by Gavin Ambrose and Paul Harris was very useful as it gave me ideas on how to design my book.

Visual Thinking  
Visual Thinking