As I looked through various reference material to find a style that worked well for me, the essential idea of using type as image kept recurring. Some recent published works such as “A Child of Books” by Oliver Jeffers and Sam Winston, use galleys of type and random characters to create tonal backdrops and form parts of images. Research revealed many ways of approaching type as image – some overlapping individual letters used to create a form, others using words either in straight lines or with letters jumbled about, to create images where the individual letters are more recognisable.
The broad concept I’ve chosen is an exploration of type as image, using blocks of colour, shape, and maybe cutout to emphasise the forms.
I revisited the mood boards, and refined them to show more precisely the conceptual style I’m using as inspiration.
The first board shows individual letters layered in order to create an image from type. Letters and other typographic symbosl merge in a jumble to form shapes, with little intent for the reader to be able to understand the general mass of letters.
The second board separates concepts into two rows.
The first row of these examples show letterforms and shapes formed by words built up in layers. This approach adds a more consistent texture and words that are related to the subject can be used.
The second row shows silhouette and shape forms used to create bold image forms that can be combined with type effectively to illustrate concepts.
I feel that a combination of both of these ideas could be useful in building a strong visual narrative.
As a secondary visual device, I decided to use colour sparingly, but in a way to help the story move from ‘dark’ to ‘light’ in tone.
This restricted colour palette of five colours, plus the white of the page, focusses on a movement of dark to bright colours as the story progresses, reflecting the journey of the protagonist.
Revisiting the story boards, I loosely applied colour to show how this might work:
As this project requires two levels of typography, I did some exploration of possible type choices, for both Body Text, and Feature text:
For the body text examples, above, I generally chose serif typefaces, as I felt they may be more readable. A couple of sans serif faces were included to round out the list.
The feature text faces, shown below, are most expressive type, with a bold Clarendon face that may be useful in type layering.
Combinations of these two sets are shown below:
I worked through a printout of these, and found that Clarendon is probably the best face for building type as image concepts. This is paired here with Avenir, as it has a flexible range of weights, and as a sans serif typeface, complements Clarendon’s complex slab serifs.
A PDF of the type samples is included here: