running words around
design education and visual communication
authored by chris m hughes

Typecast Typeface

Sunday, 10 October 2010

One of my HND graphics students, Terry Smith, has designed a typeface for a recent corporate identity project. The project was called 'Typecast' - an upmarket clothing store where the solution had to be typographically-based. The brief didn't actually require a bespoke typeface design, but Terry decided to design one anyway, and created a whole set of uppercase glyphs.

To get started, he based his design around a simple 2 X 2 square grid, further divided by two 45 degree diagonals:

typecast grid

Using Illustrator, Terry then set about constructing each glyph using the angles and the negative spaces to create the suggestion of more recognisable typeface shapes. Here, for example, are A, B, C, D and E:

a, b, c, d, e

Once Terry had created a full set of glyphs, he then devised an overlay treatment of his campaign strapline:

Typecast strapline

And here is the final set of glyphs:

Typecast Glyphs

The highlights here for me are the F, the P and the Q - completely abstract but clearly legible and very satisfying.

The jury is still out on Z - ideally this should just have been a mirror of S, but it never quite looked right. One option might have been to use the same glyph for S and Z, using the context of the word to allow the viewer to 'see' which letter it was. Another solution might have been to add an underscore or some other visual indicator to differentiate the two.

Overall I think this is an ambitious design. a great exercise at this level for a design student, and a good starting point in the exploration of serious typeface design.