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Works in Process: Advanced Typography Design Schematics

  • Works in Process is a series that explores work as I’m doing it, to show all the research, design, hemming, and hawing that develop along the way. Sometimes it’s a deep dive into school assignments as they progress, or personal work after the fact, with sketches and process clips. But either way, it’s always the rough bits, perfect little Jonowen scraps. 

Continuing from the feedback and decisions made after the first section of this project, the R&D, the next step is a discovery of the design schematic to be used across all the media and material of the event I conceptualized, an inclusive event and workshop series for tabletop gaming. 

Initial poster developed along two directions

From the two directions I put together for the first phase, I developed my two directions in which to develop a design schematic. Both came out of the idea of using space and dimension as a way of reflecting the sense of belonging developed in a tabletop gaming group/session. The two differentiated along the lines of what was reflected and their spatial development. Direction one was using 3D extruded forms of typography to develop a landscape and environment in which type interacts to emulate the gaming world created by the players. Direction two took 2D forms of type and laid them out on intersecting planes, creating an imagined space of belonging similar to maps used to show players in their environment during play. 

Direction two was meant to be more abstract, taking concepts from tabletop play and interpolating them into a design concept that didn’t immediately mimic them in order to create a novel layout and design composition. Direction one was slightly more literal, aiming to create actual representations of game worlds through the use of type, building with type to create environments that players can explore while traveling through the composition and imagine themselves inside. 

After bringing initial concepts for the two directions to a group on class for feedback, I got a suggestions for how to move it forward, but I was still a bit unsure about how to develop both themes. For the 3D direction, I decided to try a few new things and diverge a little bit in hopes of striking inspiration. Initially, working with 3D extrusion in Adobe Illustrator was really clunky and hard to get good idea iteration going. I had wanted to play with applying additional fill layers with textures on top of extrusions so they could match the perspective perfectly, but since the program attempted to render shape adjustments based on every element in the texturized fill layer, processing times would drag on sometimes crashing Illustrator. This made it tough to get into any good direction without stalling. Because of this, I experimented with wire framed extrusions which cut down on processing loads and had an interesting graphical appeal. 

Iterating animation ideas, I used the flow tool to progress through transformations of shapes as one way if imagining motion. This initially had an appealing effect with my first transformation because faces would fold into their reverse counterparts in the second orientation of a single letter, but it didn’t have the same flow when transforming from angular to rounded forms. After getting further feedback in class, I experimented with merging the wire frame structures with the original 3D solid extrusions as a way to flesh out a sense of place using text. I created secret staircases with capital Ts, added a skeleton to the capital E because it had an interesting optical illusion effect, and attempted to blend solid structure with wire frame in the A as a way of extending the idea that it was a built space, solid forms manufactured from generated code. The latter element didn’t come through as well in print as Adobe can render 3D forms strangely in PDF conversion, but these elements did serve to push along the creative process to discover other avenues. 

Watch this spot for more content regarding the schematic development!

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