Typographic Character Forms 10


Today is the last day for the typeface Clarendon. Hope you have enjoyed it. I certainly have. I feel the inclusion of color on this go around has helped me to play with the character shapes on a whole new level. I would like to move on with TCF submissions until the end of April experimenting with two more type styles. We have seen my favorite San Serif typeface, Helvetica. And Clarendon is my favorite slab serif typeface. My next 2 typefaces will be my favorite Serif face and a script face, which I can’t say I have a favorite but I have a couple in mind.

typographic character forms 10

happy belated tax day!

This design may have been better suited for last Thursday, Tax Day. The character choices are fairly obvious an upper case ‘X’ rotated on it’s side, a zero rotated approximately 50 degrees and a dollar sign ($). I was intrigued by the negative space inside the top and bottom of the ‘X’ and how they seemed to create arrows pointing up and down. When rotated 90 degrees, the arrows point inward from the left and right sides. After considering what they might be pointing at I felt a circular shape would fit, and balance nicely. So I chose the zero as my numerical character, leaving me with one more character choice – the dollar sign ($). Is this design hitting home for anyone?

Happy belated tax day everyone.
See you all tomorrow!
Sean

Happy Birthday Colleen


Today is Colleen’s birthday so this post is dedicated to her. I want to wish her a very happy birthday with all of my love. Colleen has been very supportive of me over the years. In fact, in many ways, she is the major reason that I am taking on this daily design challenge. When we first started dating I told her that she made me want to be a better person. I know that is similar to a movie line, but truer words have never been spoken by me. Colleen really does inspire me to be a better person. That’s why I am doing this design thing every day, to be a better designer. To become better in my chosen profession.

happy birthday Colleen

Happy Birthday Colleen!

Colleen’s design is created around an old Royal brand typewriter. One of the most solid and durable writing tools ever created. Writing is Colleen’s chosen profession. And I hope that I have inspired her to get back on that path, whether it be professional or personal. Her blog, by the way, is enjoyed by many. In this design the image of the typewriter is the dominant image with the happy birthday message rendered in circular shapes, made to resemble the keys of a Royal, or other typewriter of that era. Colleen’s name is rendered below in a typewriter typeface to reinforce the theme. I chose orange as the background color because it is Colleen’s favorite.

The choice of this typewriter as the main image comes from the obvious reasons mentioned above. But there is more. I mentioned the Royal being the most solid and durable of all writing tools. These machines were created during a time when quality and durability mattered both to the companies that made products as well as to the people who relied on those products. These qualities, among others, are key elements of Colleen’s personality. She has a strong moral foundation. Everything that Colleen produces in her writing, and her life in general, reflects that foundation of quality and attention to detail.

I had also considered an antique camera for Colleen’s image. Colleen is an avid and talented photographer. Ultimately I chose to stick with just the typewriter, mainly for simplicity of design, but either the camera or the typewriter, or both would have been appropriate. I just want you all to know that Colleen is a powerhouse when she combines both of these talents in her work. She is able to not only take words and paint a vivid and delightful picture with them, she is also able to capture engaging and beautiful images through a camera lens and combine them to tell a story without words.

So that’s it. Your daily design! I hope you all enjoy it. And Colleen, I hope you have a wonderful birthday. Thank you for all your wonderful stories and for being such an inspiration to me. I love you.

See you all tomorrow!
Sean

Happy Birthday Q


More Birthday wishes, this time I am thinking of my “little buddy,” Q. Q is one of my cats and the reason I have him is because he was born on my birthday 8 years ago today. Q is one of the most interesting cats I’ve ever met. He is a bit psycho, a bit neurotic, and perhaps has a bit of multiple personality disorder thrown in for good measure.

happy birthday Q

I attempted to capture a bit of Q’s personality in this piece. I started with one of my favorite photos of Q and processed it a couple times in Photoshop using a few layers. One layer I simply made grayscale and added some film grain to make it a bit edgy, just like Q. Then I took another layer, also grayscale, and just adjusted the levels a bit. I then masked that layer with a big bold letter ‘Q.’ I also applied some inner and drop shadow effects to make it stand out better from the grainy edgy layer. The shadowing effects inadvertently gave the letter ‘Q’ a bubbled effect, kind of neat. I then added hue adjustments to each layer for added effect and to help further separate the two layers visually. Finally I took the original, color image and masked out everything but his eyes, which are, after all, the windows to the soul. Here ‘Q’ looks a bit like a tough guy which is funny because he is really not a tough guy.

Happy birthday little buddy! You are one of my best birthday gifts ever.
See you all tomorrow.
Sean

Typographic Character Forms 9


Like yesterday’s post I switched out the characters again. I will also have you guess which 3 I chose (still not too difficult). Like the past few I am still using the typeface Clarendon Bold.

typographic character forms 9

This one is probably my favorite so far. I think I like it so much because it is more like a brand identity piece (logo) than any of the others. Brand identity is one of my favorite observations in the design world. I love looking at company logos. I have a genuine appreciation for how a well designed logo makes us immediately relate to a company’s product, service and identity in the marketplace. I am spending a considerable amount of time on the TCF designs for several reasons, but this image reminds me that one of those reasons is to become a better logo and identity designer. This piece is confirming to me that the daily design challenge is starting to get me back on the right track.

Color inspiration, again, comes from the spring season. This time the greens are more dominant and varied like the leaves of trees that turn from the bright green of new growth to more mature and perhaps darker shades. A pop of yellow color is added. It’s like a dandelion poking through a rich green lawn. The shapes of the characters as they merge together also give me the feeling of a stem and leaf. If this were a brand identity it might be a garden shop, landscaping company or perhaps any other company that is just “going green” somehow.

Hope you enjoy! See you all tomorrow.
Sean

Typographic Character Forms 8


In the interest of variety I decided to switch out the three characters. I had Colleen look at the entire typeface and had her tell me which 3 to use. I will let you guess which character’s she chose. Not too difficult this time but in the future I may have you guess again and it might not be so simple.

typographic character forms 8

I chose the color scheme because they are Colleen’s favorite colors. Shades of orange. Hope you all enjoy the design as well as guessing the 3 characters.

See you tomorrow!
Sean

Typographic Character Forms 7


Today I am using the same characters from Typographic Character Forms (TCF) 6. On Tuesday I set the characters further apart so everyone could see the shape of each one. Today I am drawing them in tightly on one another. This arrangement gives me a feeling of a sculpture. Or, perhaps a creature like an octopus balled up on the ocean floor with some of it’s curling tentacles visible. I like how the tight arrangement accentuates the negative space of each character. The openings of each character are more prominent in this arrangement. The negative spaces surrounding and within a character are important in the identity and style of a typeface. Really, that is what the TCF exercises are all about – exploring the shape of the characters, both inside and out.

typographic character forms 7

Finally, the color inspiration is a bit past its peak. When I think of this color combo it takes me to the earliest part of spring where daffodils and forsythia are prominent. We have reached the end of that cycle here in the mid-atlantic region, but I wanted to squeeze the color combo in at the last minute.

Let me know what you think! See you all tomorrow!
Sean

Happy Birthday Mary


Today is the birthday of my sister Mary. My baby sister! We are sometimes compared to each other in our ways, the things we say and our underlying styles. Where Mary’s creativity shines is in her love of music. She is not a musician, but she is an aficionado when it comes to just about all things related to music. Just as I have become involved in many technical aspects of visual arts, she has taken the lead on the technical nuances of the auditory arts. In her college days and during her twenties, Mary was heavily involved in radio programming and production. She’s also had her own radio show at a couple stations. Not only does she enjoy her time behind a mixing board and turntable, she appreciates the historical and social details of many musical genres. When I have a question about a song, an artist or want information on a particular genre or sound, I can always count on Mary to point me in the right direction.

happy birthday Mary

Happy Birthday Mary!

So, Mary’s birthday design is quite simply an iPod. I imagine that if Mary could have one thing, aside from her family and friends, it would be an iPod crammed with all her music and unlimited battery life. I used the iPod screen elements and interface design to display Mary’s birthday message. Her album cover image is her pride and joy – daughter Lilly. Truly one of MEW’s greatest hits! Also, note the presence of the numbers 4 and 14 in the play count and play time areas. Huh, pretty good eh?

Although Mary is often on the cutting edge of pop culture and appreciates outrageous and current trends, she is also mindful and respectful of the past and the things that came before us. I attempted to capture this visually in the creation of the background image. Here I chose a victorian style pattern to symbolize history and conservatism. I contrasted this antique pattern by using a hot pink on black color palette that is typical of post-modern, crazy fun. The pattern and color scheme end up working quite well together, just like the values and personality that make Mary who she is today! Happy Birthday Mary, Rock on!

See you all tomorrow!
Sean

Typographic Character Forms 6


Today I would like to introduce you to Clarendon. This is a typeface that dates back to the mid 19th century. It has seen quite a bit in the way of world history. Clarendon was originally designed in England in 1845. Over time it became a popular typeface in America where it was widely used, notably in the old west on wanted posters and signage. During the early 1900’s it was commonly used in Europe by the German Empire for World War 1 proclamations and propaganda pieces. Later, during the mid 20th century it received a redesign and this is the Clarendon we often see today. Until recently, The National Park Service in the United States used the typeface for it’s traffic and road signs. Currently I have noticed, and taken some delight, in it’s use in promotional pieces for Starbuck’s Coffee as well as for Ruby Tuesday’s recent brand identity makeover during the last few years. Personally, I have been using Clarendon for the past couple years on informative pieces and announcements for my family’s annual reunion.

typographic character forms 6

Today I have again chosen three characters to interact with one another. The upper case R, the numeral 3 and the ampersand (&). I have chosen to blend the characters together leaving them separated just enough for you to get an idea of there individuality. I believe that the three characters demonstrate some of the common traits of this slab-serif (thick serif) typeface. In this piece they blend nicely as if they are holding hands while crossing the street. A 30 degree rotation is applied to the group to add visual interest.

I also decided to add some color this go around. The original constraints of the assignment dictate not to use color, but I figured grayscale may be getting a bit boring (Colleen also dropped me a hint), so I will attempt to add color to future designs. Today’s color inspiration is derived from the spring color of the American Redbud tree which is blooming at this time. The small clustered blossoms tend to be fuchsia in color and are supported by the backdrop of medium gray bark on the tree’s trunk and branches. Just so you know, I will often use nature as a color inspiration as I tend to be influenced by nature and the changing seasons, particularly as it pertains to trees and horticulture.

Well, that’s it for today. See you all tomorrow!
Sean

Typographic Character Forms 5


Today is the last day for our a, s and 2 set in Helvetica medium. They are all scaled to be about the same physical height and overlap at various points to highlight the clean curves in the typeface, which is what attracted me to these particular characters in the first place (both, 11 or so years ago, as well as today). Today’s design helps to accentuate those clean turns and curves.

typographic character forms 5

The cleanness and simplicity of Helvetica has always made it my favorite typeface. It is clean and modern. It is also diverse, featuring a vast number of weights and styles which have developed over the years. despite this diversity, each weight and style remain true to the original intent of Helvetica as a modern and clean typeface. No matter how it is set, it remains fresh and current.

The clean geometry of each character make it easy to work with as a graphic element with out making it’s contribution to a design busy or cluttered. It is a great typeface for the minimalist which in many ways describes my own style.

As I mentioned before, my education in design began with this assignment, as well as Helvetica. I find it fitting that I decided to kick off this project the same way. You will likely see Helvetica used often in my designs during the coming months and I will point out when and how it is used as much as I can. Thank you Helvetica!

With that, I will move on with another typeface in my next rendition of Typographic Character Forms. I still haven’t decided whether I will use different characters or not. You will just have to check back to see.

See you all tomorrow!
Sean

Happy Birthday Michelle


Today is my sister Michelle’s birthday so this post is dedicated to her. Inspiration for the design comes from two sources. First, and most obvious, is the image of the bridge in the background. My sister is a civil engineer for the West Virginia Department of Highways. She is heavily involved in the execution of road and bridge projects. A year or so ago she finished the largest project of her career so far – completion of the Blennerhassett Bridge near Parkersburg W.Va. So that’s why I put a bridge picture in the background.

Happy birthday Michelle

Happy Birthday Michelle

The second inspiration is late night television programs. For as long as I can remember Michelle has loved late night tv. I love late night tv as well, and so does my other sister Mary. But Michelle – well, she is on a different level. For example, she is the only person I know who has a crush on David Letterman. This is a crush which has stood the test of time. I believe it began around 1983. So the typesetting is done with a Late Night or Saturday Night Live influence. I used a semi-transparent, bold, san serif typeface to overlay the background image.

That’s it. your daily design. And to Michelle, I say happy birthday! have a great day and don’t stay up too late.
See you all tomorrow,
Sean