Versal-tility number 5 and the letter ‘E’. Today I was thinking about how I’ve been fitting the designs for this series into to a square format. This is fairly typical of versals but not the only format. Some versal designs were long decorative bands that extended the entire height of the pages they occupied. I will probably not take my interpretations to such lengthy extremes but I decided perhaps that I ought to change the boundaries from time to time. Today I tipped the square 15°. Of course I wanted to maintain a background color so I created one with an un-rotated square background. Old habits die hard I guess. I will be switching up the shapes and boundaries as we move forward in this series, so check back often. Subscribe to the blog and follow me on Facebook and twitter to be sure you are the first to know when I post a new design!
The fourth letter of the alphabet, and the fourth modern versal in the Versal-tility series, Big D. The character is from the typeface Snell Roundhand Black Script. I chose to utilize two glyphs from the same font. In the upper left corner I used the asterisk and on the bottom of the design, rotated about 30˚ is the right curly brace. I thought it would be neat to experiment with using the other shapes from the font as decorative elements. Perhaps inspired by the other Circadian Creative series, Fun With Ornaments.
Today’s modern versal is brought to you by the letter ‘C’. Moving right along through the alphabet I give you number 3. The previous two letters were centered within the square frame I’m using for this series. Today I decided to offset the character to the right of center and use bands of color to frame it on the left, top and bottom. Classic versals contain a lot of ornamentation surrounding the character. With the modern theme the ornamentation should be minimalist and simple. That’s why I will generally use simple shapes, patterns or bands of color as the non typographical elements in these designs.
Using the same Bodoni Ornaments from Ornaments #3 I decided to take an opposing twist on the mood of yesterday’s arrangemnt. One reader commented on how “happy” the arrangement was. Another reader mentioned the arrangement looked like winter turning to spring. I too thought the design was pleasant and happy so I thought I would do an arrangement that represented conflict. Overlaying the elements at drastically contrasting sizes gives a feeling of tension and perhaps discomfort.
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.
I can not believe I am about to say this… I actually enjoyed my visit to Costco this afternoon. Ok, “enjoyed” may be a slight stretch. The trip did not start off on the best tone. They let too many people inside that place at one time I think. Today was especially crowded and people were practically running each other down with their shopping carts. This, and the fact that no one seems to care where they are going or who is in their proximity simply compounds a frustrating situation. Personally I have very low tolerance for stupidity and inconsideration, so I was about to have an extreme temper tantrum and start cussing out the dregs of humanity around me. But, I found the least crowded spot I could and took several seconds and deep breaths, and I was able to keep my composure. I later happened upon a sampling station and partook of their offerings. This quickly became a theme of my visit and I began “sampling” everything each time I came near a sampling station that had something available. By the time we left I was in a pretty good mood. I chuckled as I thought of the words that make up today’s daily design.
Tonight I offer a lazy post, but I think I might be on to something fun. During my recent theme, Inappropriate Typesetting, I often found myself admiring the various ornaments available in my font collection. I have also been tempted to experiment with them, and I have at times during the past year with other projects, but not as much as I’d like. So, I think the Daily Design Challenge is the perfect place to experiment and play! I envision a new theme that may pop up randomly throughout the year, and I think it will be good stuff for all of us!