Alrighty you type loving frothers… Welcome to 2014! I hope you’ve had a wonderful break and you’re ready to take on the new year with gusto and enthusiasm.
One of the wonderful things I did last year was talk at TYPISM about lettering and how it has become a big part of my life. I showed examples of my logos that contain lettering and presented samples of my practicing scribbles. To close my speech I made a video that you can see on my inaugural blog post.
Since then, I have been posting a lot of quick videos to my instagram profile that allows you 15 seconds to showcase a little lettering. So with a lot of requests to make another video, I decided to collate all these videos over the Christmas holidays, along with a heap of new longer ones and make a new video.
Being a lefty it is quite challenging, wrapping your hand around trying not to cover too much of what you’re writing, whilst peering over a camera (iphone) that’s propped up and balancing on an iphone packaging box. You rarely nail it like you do when you’re practicing so imperfections are a plenty. It’s a bit of fun though and I for one always love seeing how other people approach lettering. So with that said, enjoy! Especially you lefties.
Oh yeah, the music to the video is by the very talented Luke Garfield and his band Board of Transportation. The song is Lines and Powerlines. There’s a free download to a few of their tracks on the website. Check’em out!
So at the start of this year I decided to challenge myself and build my debut font, Knubi. Some of you may have already read that I did this as a challenge to see what sort of a blue print, looking at letters all my life had left on my brain. So I set out to create Knubi without referencing another font… in fact you can read the whole story behind it here.
What I wanted to share with you today is my follow up font, Museology and how deciding to create a font familly is by far the biggest challenge I have ever set myself. Muchos respect to all you font builders out there. Most of my time is spent doing Corporate Identity work, that’s what drives my business, but after creating Knubi, I decided I wanted to have another crack at it, this time with the knowledge I had gained from creating Knubi. I also want to release a much more marketable font. Since Knubi isn’t a display font and was only released as one weight, it needs bold and italic brothers and sisters to keep it some company.
Note: It is my long term goal to give Knubi a family. In order to do this I need to recreate it from the ground up thanks to the little tiny rounded corners I gave it, [*sigh] manually.
This time around it has been a hell of a lot easier to create my follow-up album. Motifs become easier to identify, and the techniques and the way you go about creating the font become more streamlined thanks to the learning curve of building Knubi.
There’s still so much to learn and I’ve only scratched the surface – so whilst that’s an intimidating thought, it’s also nice to recognise and fully appreciate the effort involved when admiring a desirable letter form/ font. For anyone that’s interested in type, building your own font is a fantastic way to become more intimate with all the little nuances that make for a perfectly balanced letterform. Studying the mechanics of other fonts (there’s only a million out there to choose from) and making my own from the ground up has been a very rewarding experience (albeit very time consuming). Learning the craft of designing letterforms requires a lot of extreme attention to detail over very long periods of time. It’s not for everyone, but I truly beleive if you’re serious about type, every type loving frother should try it at least once in their life. Even if you don’t get it up and running, just creating the vectors of every lower case and uppercase letter is a fantastic exercise to do.
Here are some preview screen shots of my follow-up album, Museology. I hope to release it early in 2014. It’s only at the drafting stage, so very much a work in progress.
Above you can see how I’ve used grids and guides in order to create the various weights of the very fastidious “s”. A letter that demands respect, time and lots of hours tweaking in order to obtain that perfect balance. A few pixel shifts to the left can create the illusion she’s leaning back in a deck chair, a few to the right and she’s taking a squizz over her belly at her pretty red toe nails.
Above are the 4 weights that will make up Museology. Once I have refined them and finished the remaining glyphs for the lightest version, it will be on to their respective italic versions.
I get asked pretty much every time I publish a lettering photo or video on instagram or dribbble “what kind of brushpen is that?”, which is quickly proceeded by “where can I get it from?”. Well, now that I have a blog I have a nice little link I can copy and paste to answer those questions. And the up side is, I may just get a little SEO love out of it – cheeky monkey.
If it was as easy as looking at the pen and reciting the name, it wouldn’t be such an issue, but most of them are written in Japanese, so every time I’m asked, I usually have to log-on to jetpens.com to locate the pen’s proper name which I can never remember – thank you memory.
So! Where I get the majority of my pens is from jetpens.com. The pens are great value and there’s a massive variety. I’ve tried and tested a lot of them, but there are a select bunch that work best for me and my particular styles of writing. It’s important to note that every pen has a different feel and personality dictating a different approach. What works for you, may not work for me and visa-versa. It’s about trying and practicing over and over, trying to decode the weight, feel and pressure of the brush pen. For example, when I first bought my first batch of brushpens, I couldn’t use a soft tip pen to save myself. I started getting better results a lot quicker with the hard tip brushpens as they offered more resistance which steadied the hand. Through persistence I kept on with the soft tips and once I stopped trying to apply the same techniques I used for the hard tips, I discovered a quicker and flicky approach gave me more desirable results. The beauty of this is different moods and personalities are born with each pen. So the more different pens you own, the bigger variety of styles you’ll acquire.
So throughout this blog, I’ll introduce new pens and talk about them a bit more, but to follow up from the video I posted previously, here’s a list of the pens I used in that video.
Pilot Pocket Brush Pen – Hard
(Chloe, Cool & Jeremy)
Kuretake No. 13 Fountain Brush Pen – Black Bod
(Byron, Autumn, Thank You)
Zebra Disposable Brush Pen – Fine
Zebra Disposable Brush Pen – Super Fine
(Mangrom, Sofia, Stellz & Josh)
Ok, so what am I doing blogging? Well… to be honest, I’m not even quite sure yet. Most of those that are familiar with my work have found me via dribbble, behance or logopond. Over the years I have been recognised as a logo guy (logopond), a corporate identity guy (behance) and a lettering guy (dribbble). Whilst all are very much intertwined, I decided I wanted to kick-start a blogging endeavour that held no preference to either. Somewhere I could consolidate on all of them, lay down my thoughts, share some techniques and give you an insight into off topic interests that I’m passionate about like surfing, family and surfing.
There’ll be lots of bad grammar, but I’m hoping to make it more about pictures and videos.
So to kick things off, here’s something I posted a little while back on youtube, my closing video at the typism 2013 conference. An amazing day that I’ll “blog” about down the track.
So with that said, welcome to my inaugural blog.