Here is design number one of a series I would like to do. I thought of this series, or theme, over the summer of 2011 while I was studying typography and the history of communication design. I thought it would be fun to design my own versals. For those who may not know what I am referring to, Versals are the large ornamental letter forms used to introduce chapters in ancient manuscripts. They were created by hand because printing was not invented yet. In fact in the early days of printing, space was often made available during the mechanical typesetting process of the page so that an artist or scribe could be commissioned later to hand render versals at the beginnings of chapters. This gave the printed book a traditional hand, scribed, manuscripted look and feel which increased the value of the book as well as calmed peoples apprehensions to the “new” printing press technology.
So I was thinking it would be good practice for me to actually create my own versals just for fun. Today’s submission was not hand rendered. As I began to choose a type face to use as a starting point I thought what if I made a versal from a modern typeface? What if I used a contemporary display face rather than a classical or ancient looking face? So with that thought I continued to experiment with Glaser Stencil, a display face designed by one of my design heroes, Milton Glaser.
Rather than use hand rendered, organic shapes to decorate the initial, I used the clean angled lines of the character to dictate the surrounding decor. Very clean, cold and modern, but a bright color palette warms and brightens the selection. I also added a grainy texture to give it an aged and analog feel.