‘A Word in Your Eye: type’ Development

I finally got around to writing about some projects from Semester 1. This one was completed just before Christmas.

The brief for this project, A Word in Your Eye: type, was to take the answers from an anonymous questionnaire and design a typeface based on an aspect of the person’s personality.

Base Pair (Colour)
My typeface: Base Pair

I used the answers from my questionnaire to sum up my person in six words, I went for sentimental, proud, comic, erudite, articulate and quick-witted. I researched as much as I could about these words and personality traits and I made a pinterest board to gather some visual language. I decided to take forward the word erudite which means having or showing great knowledge or learning.

Using this as my main focus I generated some ideas using science and the cliches of nerdiness as a starting point.


I noticed that type can be constructed from four distinct components and that DNA is also made up of four bases.

Adenine, Thymine, Cytosine and Guanine are used in sequences to create a person’s unique genetic code, responsible for everything that they are. Similarly, all the characters in the latin alphabet can be made up of a curve, a straight line, a diagonal line, and a small unit, which when put together create language, something that allows us to communicate.


Using this observation as my design concept, I experimented with how I would turn it into a workable typeface.


I decided that perhaps the best way to demonstrate the base system would be to give people the chance to make their own letters from the four ‘bases’, so each person’s alphabet would be different and unique, like their DNA code. The way I would construct my would be different to the way you would.

I built some wooden stamps of each of my components and used them to create some different alphabets. I could, and should, have given these stamps to different people in the class and recorded their versions of the alphabet, but I didn’t and I’m not sure why.


Anyway, I created my bases on Illustrator and put together how my alphabet would look.



I was pleased with the way the typeface was developing but there was one part of the science of DNA that I hadn’t considered. The bases in DNA (A,T,C &G) only function in pairs.


So, with that in mind, I created two versions of the alphabet. Each one only using two of the ‘bases’. These are significantly less aesthetically appealing as the full four base version but I like that they are more scientific.


I then considered that there needed to be a very systematic and logical aspect to the experience of using the typeface. I knew that DNA uses a sequence so I decided to incorporate that into the system.

Finally I ended up with this: the font is designed so that the two alphabets can be used together in conjunction with a random DNA sequence generator that then codes for the letters used when someone types.

The look of the sentence is therefore different and unique each time you type it. Much like a person’s DNA.

The first base in the sequence is ‘C’ so the t is taken from the CG alphabet.

Visually, the outcome is untidy and not particularly beautiful but it is very systematic which was more important to the concept.

I really enjoyed the process during this project, I loved getting stuck into the logic and science behind my concept. I think my process is stronger than my outcome so I definitely need to work on consistency across a project right up until the end.

I have no idea what the tutors think of this project yet, I get my feedback on Monday-eek!







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