Project. Letterform Layout Variations
Purpose. This is a second-year project designed to introduce students to visual hierarchy through typographic variables within the dynamics of a composition and to stimulate the observation of unique and sometimes subtle differences within typefaces.
Assignment. Visual hierarchy is the arrangement of elements (in this case typographic variables) in a predetermined graduated sequence of importance. In this assignment, you will experiment with visual hierarchy by changing typographic variables in a composition. Using one typeface, upper and lowercase, for all three compositions with assigned copy taken from “Alphabet: The History, Evolution, and Design of the Letters” by Allan Haley. Select one font family: Baskerville, Bodoni, Century, Adobe Garamond, Univers, Helvetica Neue, Frutiger, Interstate, Meta, Scala Sans, Bembo, or Caslon. You will create three dynamic compositions with the following parameters:
Composition 1 make the letterform the most prominent element
Composition 2 make the text the most prominent element
Composition 3 make the title the most prominent element
Step 1: Start your process by making pencil sketches of layouts that explore the typographic hierarchy and variables as stated above. Once you have a good idea of the sizes you might be working with, word process the essay on your assigned letterform. Set the text in different point sizes: 10/12.5 and 12/14.5 and different measures (column widths), or reduce/enlarge using xerox to get the various sizes.
Step 2: Also set your “letter” and the title The Capital Letter __ (insert your assigned letter) in various point sizes.
Step 3: Collect all your materials and place them on a 14" x 14" sheet of bristol board and move the elements around to achieve the 3 variations you had explored in your process sketches. Paste elements in place with rubber cement, studio tack or scotch tape.
Step 4: Once you are have your three compositions set, reconstruct them in the digital environment using one of the following software programs: InDesign, Illustrator or QuarkXpress.
Step 5: Mount each composition on a black, white or grey mount board— 2" top and sides, 2.5" bottom, add a flap that is trimmed to size of your board to protect your artwork.
Format. Three compositions: 14 X 14 (35 X 35 centimeters) mounted on board as indicated above.
Time. 2–3 weeks, one class meeting per week for 4.5 hours.