donny nguyen.
donny nguyen.
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#space issues
space issues 3

for the third iteration, i wanted to use blocky lettering to imply the issue at hand. after playing around, the sketches i ended up with reminded me of the first things first manifesto. i was really taken with the lettering used in the original version so i used a similar version here, at the risk of contradicting the manifesto’s intent.

part of what i love about the lettering is the contrast not only of the widths of the stems to the negative space between them but to the space between letters as well. what really makes the letters shine for me is the angled terminal at the top of each “t.” i really wanted to try and work that into my design but it just didn’t make sense to.

the curious thing about the lettering to me is how the space between the letters really influences the perception of the height to width ratio. when spaced so closely together, as in the original manifesto, the letters seem quite tall. as you might see above, the lone “i” above seems quite comfortable on its own but its length seems to be emphasised when placed with the rest of the letters in “issues.” anyway, that’s an aside.

the group of designers, photographers and students essentially pledged to devote their skills to higher purposes, specifically over hawking wares for the sake of consumerism and nothing more. this poster might not suggest the opposite since there really is no great purpose to the poster. as with the others, this one’s just supposed to cause a smirk maybe and be ephemeral. and if people like it enough, sure i’ll make prints. but i recently worked on something where i was told, why bother put the all this thought and effort into something if no one’s going to get it? well, like the manifesto kind of suggests, it’s about doing a good job but i think that a good job should be done on everything you do.

if i put effort in and something isn’t communicated well, then it wasn’t as good a job obviously. but the challenge is to make that communication work, even in something as silly as this. the real irony is that you probably got none of this just from looking at the poster, unless of course you’re familiar with the original 1963 manifesto.

i chose yellow specifically because i don’t use this colour enough. in trying to keep things simple, it’s tough to use yellow on white but why not put it on black? sometimes yellow is perceived as cowardly but i think it works in an ironical sense here. i don’t think it’s cowardly to admit that you have issues. on the flip side, yellow is also perceived as bright, happy, and cheerful (especially in contrast to the usually negative black). again, nothing wrong with admitting that one has issues. accept it and move on, right? finally, i chose to imply the space issue but simply leaving space there. you can either see the space for what it is was intended or you can fill it in an personalise the poster by admitting to  your own issue.

space issues 2

the border is there just to show the overall grid and layout. i decided to dead centre this to create the underlying space issue (at least one of them). i thought about absolutely evenly spacing the letters over the entire layout but i like the word search implication. i can’t help but try to string together different words by starting somewhere in any which direction. wasn’t that some alternate game to traditional word searches? i can’t quite remember. i have a terrible need to keep working on this to make it more interesting but i just want these to be very quick, ephemeral, and playful without too much going on.

space issues 1
i feel like i’ve been conjuring up some quite complicated concepts and the execution of these ideas hasn’t been very great. for my next design related things, i just want to come up with a simple idea, plan things out very minimally, and study the repercussions of the initial planning and the more spontaneous decisions that seem to always occur come development time (not to mention the more traditional aspects of space, form, etc.). hopefully the execution won’t suffer as much with less to work with.
i swear riding on the tube to and from work is slowly making me develop temporary fits of having space issues and i just thought it would be funny to take the idea further. i like the idea of a self referential design that still talks to the owner/viewer. i have a few ideas as to how to implement this concept in different ways so there will be a short series of posters by the end of this. perhaps three or four in total, they’ll all typographic in nature. lately i’m really struck by just how much we look at letters as accepted “shapes” without (having or) taking the time to appreciate the forms that compose the letters and gaps and spaces in between.
since this is the first of these posters, i’ve left it as basic as possible. no colour, no texture. i wanted to use letters large enough to not only overflow outside of the boundaries but also start to create an ambiguity between the positive and negative space. sans serifs like these tend to need a fair bit of white space to breath but i still think this is quite readable, given the anti-letter-spacing and size of the type. this size also helps to bring the negative space to the forefront, especially since the similarly shaped forms tend to lie in loose groups.
i might look into letterpressing these at some point as well, depending on how happy i am with the series. enjoy.