For the ‘Just My Type’ project, the brief was to design a new, usable typeface and to take inspiration from a country of your choice. I chose Peru.
I started by researching elements of typefaces and rules for typeface design. I tried to learn about what I think is hilariously named ‘type anatomy’. Lots of this went over my head but I’m hoping that at degree level I’ll be taught more about it.
I also made this Pinterest board and looked into existing typefaces and typography. The brief said that the design had to be exciting and interesting so I looked at slightly more decorative fonts as well as very famous ones like Helvetica. I then started researching Peru to try to find something about the country that could provide the main inspiration for the typeface.
When making this board I found myself drawn to the brightly coloured photos that kept cropping up. I decided that I should explore the vibrant textiles that form a large part of Peruvian culture. I found lots of reference images so that I could draw out the patterns and repeating shapes that featured in lots of the fabric.
I also stuck lots of pictures of llamas in my sketchbook because why not.
So after deciding to focus on pattern I got to work sketching ideas. I used the zigzag/chevron pattern as a starting point and tried to incorporate the shapes into the letters. When I had done my research, I had discovered that type designers often start by designing the H and the O and then spell the word ADHESION (apparently this covers most of the shapes that are used in the alphabet). So I started there. The image below shows only a fraction of the sketches that I did.
After coming up with a few ideas I selected a design to take forward. I chose it because out of my initial ideas, it was one of very few that I could see working for more than just a few letters and I thought it had potential to be quite structured/geometric and therefore fairly simple to construct.
I went through each letter to get a general gist of how each one might work. The idea was to have each letter feature a pointed top so that when they were put next to each other, they formed a zigzag shape. Obviously, some of the letters proved VERY difficult to get to fit this formula. eg. I, J, M, Z etc.
I figured that it would be easier to test the harder letters if I had a grid or a template that I could use to get the letters matching. I chose the B to use for the template because it worked particularly well with what I was trying to achieve and it had both ‘curves’ and a straight line. I used gridded paper to help create the template.
After I had created a shape with all the correct proportions, I duplicated it and used it to tweak all the letters. I found that it was impossible for letters with no horizontal line at the top (eg. M, N, U, V, W) to fit within the template so I decided to introduce another element that would tie all of the letters together.
I thought that the problem letters could all have angled terminals that were the same angle as the zigzag tops of all the other letters. I created a new template that had more lines and all the correct angles and widths. I then made it on Illustrator so that it was neater and more precise and then I duplicated it so that I could put each letter into it.
Here is the final hand drawn version of the typeface on the template. (Although, after the final group critique, I did go back and change the N)
I decided to name my font Lana which means wool in Spanish. I thought this was appropriate since it had been inspired by fabric and textiles. The image on the left is the final illustrator sample sheet of my font and the image on the right is after it had been converted into a type-able font (!!). I used this really cool program and now I can use my font on Illustrator and Word as a useable and working typeface!
I also created this more colourful and decorative version of the typeface sample sheet to highlight the inspiration behind the design and have a more poster-like final piece. Overall I thought this project was really interesting and I really enjoyed throwing myself into it. I am also really chuffed with the way the final design turned out and I have started to see fonts in a whole new light.