Jongki Seo n8836710 & Matt Kelihern5036453
In a prologue to this design statement, both Jongki and Matt had decided to undertake Typographic Design in the anticipation of actually creating our own typeface. To create something unique and made to our own created rules and specifications; something that reflects our own style of creativity. Jongki, developing his artistic visual design portfolio and Matt coming from many years in the printing industry and looking to understand the theory behind what he was selling in the commercial world. We both think that Typography is an important element to graphic and visual design themes and so an important piece to the puzzle to develop and try to master.
ExplanationThe mystical orient has been a fascination for our group members for very different reasons. Firstly because Jongki is Korean and so educated in that language Hangul (for South Korea) which was influenced by Chinese glyphs (Hanja) which are part of that language. This Chinese influence is what drew Matt to also want to explore this idea. His cultivated appreciation of Chinese culture and of the artwork where imagery and typography are blended to create traditional composition is the emotive reason for his participation in this endeavour. Variations on English accented Chinese characters can be found on many a sign or menu throughout Chinatown. This style of accented variation has desensitised us from appreciating similar font styles. To Matt this genre of typeface is thus bland and stereotypical.
What Jongki already knew and Matt was to discover in researching this project was the interwoven use of Chinese glyphs (into most Asian cultures within the region). Up until the late 19th and early 20th Century, Chinese was the standard written language for all formal and historical documentation. In the Early part of the 20th Century China began to simplify their script; being there were tens of thousands of original Chinese characters in use Murrell (2006). During this time, written communications of other countries such as Korea, Japan and Vietnam were refocusing on using a more localised vernacular script. During the modernisation of China the government understood it was better to move away from the traditionally used ideogram style of glyph to a more simplified and universal Hanzi script.
In developing our concept we investigated Jongkis native Korean alphabet. The Korean Hangul glyphs are a more san serif character font, which dates back to the 15th Century (Gyun 1575CE-1618CE). This style was to be our starting point since it was the genesis of influence on Jongki and the initial concept inspiration. The Hangul glyphs would be the foundation in starting our experimentation process.
Figure 1. An example of Korean Alphabet. - KoreanClass101.com
Concept DevelopmentAs we are developing a variation to the English language glyphs we are able to assign coding on a one to one basis in developing our own alphabet. This would be a more complex issue if we were to undertake an actual Asian language; where they have multiple character codes, which we would not be able to assign to just one glyph as outlined by Bartminski (2012) in the study of Ethnolinguistics. Effectively we only want to code 26 glyphs to create a new set of 26 letters plus grammatical glyphs and numbers. GSUB (2014)
Our first decision was to decide which direction to pursue. Should the finished typeface resemble a traditional calligraphy styled Ideograms with flourishes and a more handwritten finish? Or should we keep it a
more cleaner san-serif style, similar to Korean Hangul? Figures 2 and 3 shows Jongkis initial samplings of a possible outcomes, inspired by the utilisation of English characters with a distinctive asian accenting, requiring only single one to one coding. The basic character constructs are primarily the same; the outward aesthetic has a very Asian accent, and is still legible for use in English. Upon reflection we thought this outcome was too similar to the Chinese stereotypes we dislike.
Figure 2. First sampling of glyphs created by Jongki.
Figure 3. First sampling of alphabet created by Jongki.
From this, both Jongki and Matt then worked on another sampling of their own to develop this idea further. The effect that we wanted to achieve was a more complex glyph than shown in figure 3 that would still be readable as an English font variation.
After further discussion, this time with other stakeholders and classmates, it was decided to go down the San-Serif path and to utilize the clean glyph look of the Korean alphabet while incorporating components of the corresponding English glyph, to make our Chinese styled typeface.
The prototype style we would pursue:
Figure 4. First sampling of alphabet created by Jongki and Matt
Figure 5. H O P
Rules initial alphabet (lowercase)This route was a more modern san-serif form, it has the achieved asian accent, more Chinese than English or Korean with less embellishments and more even straight strokes. * San-Serif typeface* The stress or axis is vertical without a hand-scripted slant left or right* Use a box to contain the character or glyph even in the numbers and special characters, where possible* It has acute ending terminals, no brackets, loops swashes, finials, barbs or bowls as outlined in both Ambrose, Harris (2006) and Pecina and Brezina (2008) due to the glyphs more square appearance* Creation of both Majuscules (uppercase) and minuscule (lowercase) the Cap and x-height are the same height * Characters do not extend outside the X-height of the mean and baselines and therefore no ascenders or descenders* All characters at the meanline height means the Majusules will be Small Caps.
As shown in figure 6 the alphabet was broken into similar characters and figure 7 shows the grouping in which we would construct the new glyphs. some letters still needed to be sub grouped as is r and x and s and z. This catagoration would dictate what bars,stems, feet in and out strokes we would use in combination to use. This becomes evident upon comparing to the final alphabet.
The finished lettering, wed expect to look blocked; when laid out on a page it would be very symmetrical solid and structured rather that flowing and picturesque nature of hand written calligraphy. The square structutre of the typeface most letters will be as high as they are wide in bar or stem length. Even the numbers and special characters will fulfil this requirement as required.
Figure 7. Breakup of construction patterns, Step 1.
Figure 6. Initial breakup of the alphabet construction.
Figures 9, 10 and 11. The development of the Majuscules
Rules subsequent alphabet (uppercase)The rules as we found would not work for the uppercase letters in the same fashion as with all the lowercase, otherwise they would look too similar, and without the obvious distinction between the majuscules and minuscule of height. This resulted in a more liberal approach in having the uppercase more English in appearance (less Asian accented) in most cases. This is best highlighted between the i, j, k, l, v and w.
In the final outcome there might appear few glyphs that are actual Chinese glyph components. We believe this would be inevitable simply from the tens of thousands of actual Chinese glyphs in existence. In the initial draft sampling there was a construction of partial espousing of two glyphs components to create a new variation as the hand written sample HOP in the process video.
In terms of the usability aspect of our new typeface; so that it could be used as an English typeface variant. We kept the numbers and grammatical glyphs similar in appearance, but with our accented styling.
Figure 8. The anatomy of glyph A
Interations of the letter
Figures 12, 13 and 14. From HOP through the evolution and development of specific letters. The lowercase glyphs show the changing of i, j,k, l and r.
Final outcome-Alphabenese This is the final draft of the new Chinese Alphabet typeface Alphabenese. The use of the square structure has a distinct block finish which should be quite readable in a magazine layout where large paragraphs are used. The readability will be a little difficult at first until the practiced eye can identify the letters
As a child Matt was drawn to the artwork that adorned the Chinese restaurants that were a regular event. The artwork was mostly images of classical Chinese themed content, which incorporated Chinese typographical elements. That combination of artwork is the basis for which we chose to emulate for the production of one of the two posters needed for this assessment. We felt it best to combine our new stylised typeface with the traditional Chinese culture to highlight the authenticity of the concept.
Taking this inspiration and researching further Chinese traditional art that incorporates typographical elements we were encouraged by the Laozi, or Daodejing a classic Chinese text created around 6th Century BC. Used as a source of inspiration for poets, artists, painters and calligraphers. Laozi was credited for being the founder of Taoism as outlined by Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy (2001). This inspirational writing was incorporated throughout the arts and philosophy domains.
In the various artwork reviewed it was noted the use of negative space in which lettering was incorporated to balance and in most cases enhance the ascetic finish of the composition. Images also found on Espacio Para El Arte blog site were even more simple compositions and we decided this style of composition would work better with our holi