Sunday, 1 November 2015

OUGD603 Extended Practice Brief 03 Botanical Collaboration Typographic Discussions and Layout Experimentation

Collaboration Partner: Jess Wood

Jess and myself have talked at length about the typographic aspect of this brief so that we both are on the same page with what we are looking to achieve. We talked about the fact that we wanted something to starkly contrast the soft shapes of the illustrations in its general tone of voice but have small flourishes that are nods to the specific botanical subject matter of the entire design piece.

Caslon in a great example of these flourishes, with small shapes and elements which nod towards the calligraphic.

We talked about how the transitional fonts like Baskerville came really close to what we wanted to achieve with great visual lines and sharp bracketed serifs.

We also talked about Didot having a great look to it for what we needed and the fact that the contrast in line weight was the major reason for this because its startling abrupt change in weight contrasts so exactly with the gradual curves and flow of many botanical structures.

I realised from this conversation that what we wanted was a hybrid of 'old style' fonts and 'modern' fonts as shown above. (These images all come from the app Typography Insight)

However, I think it is important to consider why each aspect from these contrasting typographic families is used. For example, we will need the font to work in small sections of body copy and there are certain tricks that make Caslon work in this context particularly well. I think the next step is to analyse fonts from these two families (old style and modern) and see what some of these tricks and trends are before I start design for our project.


After our last meeting we agreed that we wanted to try out an approach to creating the layouts for or publication and app. The idea being that I create a typographical layout that can work on its own but allows a lot on space. Jess will then illustrate on top of this and around this with the relevant plant, so that the type and image interact in a way that the botanical books we have looked at didn't.

We decided to use the plant Wisteria because it is a plant that Jess is happy to illustrate and I am familiar with. I may not be in the final publication but it will do for this experimentation.

I tried out Baskerville,


and Didot for this layout. I ended up settling on Baskerville because it is closest to what we are looking to create in the end.

I simplified down the information because this will be a publication for beginners and added a scale for the length of the bloom, which is something Jess and myself had talked about previously. I used the plant title in the upper middle of the page as the starting point for the positioning of the rest of the text. This is because this main plant name is most likely where the illustration will interact most with the text and is the first thing to catch the eye in the layout. To then direct the eye from here seemed the most logical hierarchy of information. The next step is to send tai over to Jess for the illustration. To do this we have set up a joint google drive so we can constantly back up and access all of the files relevant to this project.

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