Gallery Typography Refinement

After my early developments with the typography for the explorable space and research into typography in galleries, I knew there was a little more work that needed done. With the explorable gallery layout finalised, I had set spaces where text was to go. My next steps as far as the text was concerned, was developing and finalising the panel design, and writing the content for the exhibition. Required pieces included:

  • One Title image
  • One Intro Panel
  • Five Sub-Exhibition Panels
  • One Exit image
  • Potential Navigation Design

Hand drawn Typography Development

After researching gallery signage, I decided that a large title image would be an effective way to enter the explorable gallery. My early experiments show a brief look into what this could be; I explored a couple of approaches using hand drawn typography and altering classic typefaces with giltchy strokes. While I was happy with the direction of these, I wanted to dive a little deeper in their visual development so that I would have a range of options when I go to the team to make our decisions together.

Hand Drawn Type

I began by drawing a few letter combinations, varying the style of my handwriting a few times to see what worked best in the context of our title image. The idea behind this was to mimic a painty artist’s signature, as well as using the stroke to tie into the visuals of the overall piece.

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With the variations in the writing style, I then began playing with how strokes would effect their finish. What I felt was working in the last tests, was an unfinished painterly stroke. I created a few iterations of this style, adding or subtracting detail with each one. For some iterations I layered the strokes, to see how more subtle additions would work, and for others, I kept the stroke simple with no fill colour and a plain stroke on the outside.

What seemed to work the best here were thick base strokes, and fairly long round lettering. The examples where the base strokes are extremely thin are interesting up close, but in the context of a title piece, they would not have nearly enough impact.

Classic Typeface Alterations

Building on my previous work, I wanted to explore the use of a more structured typeface as a base to build the title upon. With the hand drawn tests still in my mind as a good option, I thought I would try to combine the classic typeface with more painterly elements. I drew over Minion Pro, the typeface we had decided upon for our top hierarchy text, to achieve the general structure of the lettering, but get a more sketchy look.

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I felt that there was something quite impactful about having a “painty” element in the titles, so I chose to explore this in many of my tests. The different iteration purposefully ranged from subtle to extreme, to give us a good idea of what is possible.

Upon reflection on these tests, I feel that the glitchy look distorts the words too much and makes the text difficult to read. While I like how the random spikes in the lettering bridges a connection on the appearance of Colin’s interview, it is most important that it is fit for purpose and if it’s not readable, it’s not doing it’s job. To me the more subtle pieces work best in these tests, where there is a hint of paint, but it’s not so obvious that it’s cheesy.

Next Steps

I shared my work with the team and when we looked at both the hand drawn and classic type with alterations side by side, we were leaning towards the hand drawn look as a preference. They both have something interesting about them in their own right, but for a feature image, the hand drawn type has more character. There is a resemblance of an artist’s painty signature or a painty blobby stroke, without being too obvious. While it’s certainly not subtle, I think there is a nice balance of giving the viewer a hint of what to expect in the tone in the piece, without giving too much away. 

I’m getting close to the style that I set out to achieve but I need to see both the hand drawn type and the structured type paired in the context of the panel with the accompanying text before making the final call. The next steps include pairing the type, reaching out to the team for their opinions on it and developing it appropriately.


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