It is nearing the end of the semester, and sadly my time in this class. However, I have learned much through the journey and have a few final exercises completed in the last two weeks.
First, we were asked to make I digital version of the anatomy of typefaces document we began with earlier. Our brief was given to us by ear. We were required to finish a preliminary version in less than an hour. “Unfortunately”, I am unable to present my horrible first attempt within the hour, as I prioritized content over design. Many of my classmates did well in balancing the two and produced beautiful works within the hour-I did not. However, we were given a little extra time to develop the poster outside of class, for which I am incredibly grateful. I was lucky enough to have the basic structure of my description of type anatomy. However, as our brief required some description of our favorite typeface, I decided to scrap what I had and begin again (as I had used Helvetica as an example — not my assigned typeface).
Times New Roman was my assigned typeface, one that I am very fond of, and use for most, if not all of my writing. I wanted to ensure some acknowledgement of its beauty and design, instead of simply using it as a tool to describe the language of typography. As part of the assignment we were asked to sign and date our work, with which I decide to type my initials in Times New Roman. I began playing with the shapes and place the letters together so the the stem of the “N” and the serif of the “S” would merge seamlessly. I was really enjoying the shapes formed by the two letters, and wanted to exhibit more, so I chose”T” and “Q” as a lower layer to both add color and exemplify the intricacy of the typeface. Finally, after planing out my layout I decided to add some information about Times New Roman that I feel is conducive to its appreciation. Below is my final product.
Here I learned very deeply, the importance of function and meaning in design. The brief not only told us to describe the language of type, but also to describe the typeface. As the designer, I must think of the most intuitive way to do so, which I have attempted to so below.
As a second exercise, we were given two and half hours to redesign the existing Arabic transliterated FedEx logo (seen below).
The current logo maintains the FedEx aesthetic, but find difficulty in using negative space, so much so that the letter “seen” must be manipulated to create an arrow. Our task was to resolve this issue.
In an earlier class we were shown some interesting and effective attempts by other students and enthusiasts in redesigning the logo. My initial thought was to avoid copying what I remember and to use my creativity as best as possible.
This was my “final” sketch. Don’t worry, I filled two other pages with experiments, but I ultimately reached this. It is not at all visually appealing, but I feel that sketching this made me reflect upon the boundaries of arabic letters. The “ya” must be connected to the “kaaf” in normal circumstances, but is the only letter which looks this way when connected. Therefore, by manipulating its connecting, do I hinder readability? It works differently in English, but obviously after enough time with the Arabic script, I would become more comfortable with its modifications.
Here I have made the vector image of my sketch. I attempted to maintain the proportions of the arrow in the original FedEx logo, but due to the number of letters and the constraints of the bounding box, I was unable. I submitted this at the end of the exercise, but was unsatisfied–I needed to know more, to try more. While procrastinating on other work, I spent some time staring at what I had produced. I realized that the x-height and terminal of the “daal” had a similar shape and occupied a similar space to the “ya”. understanding that the transliteration of “FedEx” is fluid, I removed the “ya” and brought down the top line.
After spending some more time obsessing, I found that the “kaaf” has an ascender, one that is meant to be higher than the teeth of the “seen” and the x-height. Readability was an issue. So I extended the teeth of the “seen” up to the height of the “daal” and extended the “kaaf”.
After some minor editing with line weights and alignment, I reached a logo that I am relatively proud of. Although it may not be accepted, the process taught me many things. Firstly, I learned to not be afraid of going wild when I begin, as my eye will catch on as a spend more time with design. Obviously, two hours is not enough time to come up with the logo, but it was an interesting pressure that pushed my creativity. Secondly, I am reflecting on the concepts of intuitiveness and inspiration. I remembered previous designs, and was frustrated that I couldn’t imagine the arrow as anywhere but in tandem with the “kaaf”. I felt I was cheating, and in many ways still do, but I realized that many used the “kaaf” as it was the most effective opportunity. And recognizing that is not necessarily stealing of intellectual property, in many ways, it is an inspiration. I have my own interpretation of the logo, but at the same time, credit is due to those who attempted this before me, as they were being truly innovative, and inspired me to create what I have now.