Advanced Typography - Exercises

02.04.19 - 02.07.19 (Week 1 - Week 14)
Tamara Audrey Saputra (0335846)
Advanced Typography


Lecture 1: Introduction to Advanced Typography

02.04.19 (Week 1)

The class started with a brief introduction to the module outline and what to expect in the coming 13 weeks. We're then assigned into groups to do a short presentation regarding our given topic - Axial. Moreover, we were also shown several good examples of our seniors' projects to give us a rough idea of what's good and bad.

Lecture 2: Typographic System

09.04.19 (Week 2)

This week, we were introduced to the 7 Typographic System. Our group presented the Axial System. The following is the compilation of the whole class presentation.

Lecture 3: -

09.04.19 (Week 3)

No lecture is held this week. We focused on refining our work and were briefed about the next exercise.

Lecture 4: Compressed History of Roman Alphabet

23.04.19 (Week 4)

In today's class, some of our classmates presented and introduced us to the history of the Roman alphabet.

Lecture 5: Compressed History of Roman Alphabet

30.04.19 (Week 5)

No lecture today. We focused on finalizing our Type & Play.

Lecture 6: Finding Inspiration - Typeface Design

07.05.19 (Week 6)

Today our classmates gave a lecture around the topic of how to find inspiration for typeface design.


Typographic System | Week 1 - Week 2

Our first exercise is to explore the 7 typographic system and apply to the following event details on a 200 X 200mm artboard:

The Design School,
Taylor's University

The Troublemakers Manifesto: A Design Colloquium

Open Public Lectures:
November 24, 2019
Lew Pik Sven, 9AM-10AM
Ezrena Mohd, 10AM-11AM
Suzy Sulaiman, 11 AM-12PM

November 25, 2019
Dr. Clarissa Ai Ling Li, 9AM-10AM
Professor John Sabraw, 10 AM-11 AM
Dr. Liyanna Khairuddin, 11 AM-12PM

 Lecture Theatre 12

To start, we were told to sketch out our ideas roughly first. The followings are the sketches I've made.

fig 1.1: Sketch

I then start to digitalize my ideas in Indesign with some changes and created other new compositions while making it.

fig 1.2: Axial

fig 1.3: Axial

fig 1.4: Modular

fig 1.5: Grid

fig 1.6: Bilateral

fig 1.7: Random

fig 1.8: Radial

fig 1.9: Dilation

fig 1.10: Transitional

I then asked for feedbacks and the followings are the results after changes were made.

fig 1.11: Axial (Revised)

fig 1.12: Axial (Revised)

fig 1.13: Axial (Revised)

fig 1.14: Modular (Revised)

fig 1.15: Modular (Revised)

fig 1.16: Grid (Revised)

fig 1.17: Grid (Revised)

fig 1.18: Bilateral (Revised)

fig 1.19: Bilateral (Revised)

fig 1.20: Random (Revised)

fig 1.21: Random (Revised)

fig 1.22: Radial (Revised)

fig 1.23: Radial (Revised)

fig 1.24: Dilation (Revised)

fig 1.25: Dilation (Revised)

fig 1.26: Transitional (Revised)

fig 1.27: Transitional (Revised)

The following is the Thumbnail's PDF:

Type & Play (Part 1): Finding Type  |  Week 3

In this exercise, we were expected to find an image of either nature, man-made objects, or even structures. We then have to dissect the images by tracing it in Illustrator. From there, we have to analyze the shapes and discover letterforms out of it. The goal of this exercise it to create letterforms from objects around us by refining it yet still retaining its characteristics and origin.

fig 2.1: Original Picture
fig 2.2: Cropped Picture

fig 2.3: Tracing Process

fig 2.4: Tracing

fig 2.5: Tracing Result

fig 2.6: Letter "L"
fig 2.7: Letter "L"

fig 2.8: Letter "Y"
fig 2.9: Letter "Y"

fig 2.10: Letter "E"
fig 2.11: Letter "E"

fig 2.12: Letter "C"
fig 2.13: Letter "C"

fig 2.14: Letter "F"
fig 2.15: Letter "F"

fig 2.16: Before After

I started off by making them all equal in size by referring to an existing typeface.

fig 2.17: Marking Guidelines

From there I refined the letterforms to adjust to the guides and making the strokes thicker.

fig 2.18: Letter "L" - 1st Attempt

fig 2.19: Letter "Y" - 1st Attempt

fig 2.20: Letter "E" - 1st Attempt
fig 2.21: Letter "C" - 1st Attempt
fig 2.22: Letter "F" - 1st Attempt
fig 2.23: Before After #1
I then decided to refine it further by trying to make it more uniform and simplifying the strokes.
fig 2.24: Letter "L" - 2nd Attempt

fig 2.25: Letter "Y" - 2nd Attempt
fig 2.26: Letter "E" - 2nd Attempt

fig 2.27: Letter "C" - 2nd Attempt

fig 2.28: Letter "F" - 2nd Attempt
fig 2.29: Before After #2

Type & Play (Part 2) | Week 5

In this second part of Type & Play exercise, we were asked to find a stock image and interplay type with it. The text chosen must be woven into a symbiotic relationship with the image. The sentence should be 3-5 words long.

These are some of the early attempts of this exercise:

fig 3.1: Stock Image

fig 3.2: Process

fig 3.3: Result

Not satisfied with it, I tried to use another image.

fig 3.4: Stock Image

fig 3.5: Process

fig 3.6: Result

After asking for feedback from Mr. Vinod, he said that the layout is good but it lacks interplay with the image. Thus, I tried again with another image.

fig 3.7: Stock Image

fig 3.8: Process

fig 3.9: Attempts

Mr. Vinod suggested adding a ripple effect individually to the letters and add some transparency in certain areas.

fig 3.5: Result


Week 2

General Feedback:
When it comes to presenting, Mr. Vinod reminded us to always maintain eye-contact and engage with the audience. Also, he encourages us to think critically and actively ask questions when in doubt. 

Specific Feedback:
After I showed the sketches, Mr. Vinod suggested to start digitizing it in Indesign.

Week 3

General Feedback: 
Mr. Vinod told us to avoid using colors for titles but instead use it to emphasize smaller texts that are important. We should also avoid using bright color for the background and only use color when it’s necessary.

Specific Feedback: 
I asked for feedback from both Mr. Vinod and Mr. Shamsul. Mr. Shamsul said that my random system is not random enough, the ’Lecture theater’ should not be abbreviated to ’LT’, I should maintain equal spacing for the axial system and one of the radial design is not correct.

Week 4

Specific Feedback:
After seeing the final outcome of the systems, Mr. Vinod said that it was excellent. However, I need to work more on the randomness of the random system to have a balanced skill. For my e-portfolio, Mr. Shamsul reminded me to do further readings.

Week 5

General Feedback:
Mr. Vinod suggested us to select an existing typeface that shares a close resemblance as ours to refer to. 

Specific Feedback:
When I showed the typeface, Mr. Vinod said I’m also there with the design. He said he saw what I was trying to do with the F, E, Y, L letters and suggested that maybe I should also make the C curve smoother.

Week 6

Specific Feedback: 
(Online) "I think the boxer one looks attractive because it’s a good layout you created, however, it lacks interaction or interplay with the image. The other one has interplay but it’s at a basic level. The type looks good tho."
When  I showed the last attempt in class, Mr. Vinod suggested adding a ripple effect individually to the letters and add some transparency in certain areas.



Week 2

The exercise this week's exercise is quite a time consuming due to the number of pages that we have to make and the need to create good layouts for every system. It took me a while to differentiate between transitional and random system.

Week 3

Overall, most of my layouts only needed minor changes. Except for one of my radial system, as I got it completely wrong. I find it hard to balance between the randomness and the readability as well as my own taste in the random system.

Week 4

It was rather hard to find the right image to trace. I've changed from one picture to another several time because the outlines of the images can't really be pinpoint.

Week 5

It took me a while to find the right stock image that emits energy or have some sort of movement that will support the text interplay. We were also asked to finish the exercise in class. Hence, making the class quiet intense.

Week 6

It was rather hard to differentiate between composition and interplay. As typographic interplay was something I just recently come to notice and aware of. As a result, I often find my work lacking the desired typographic interplay.


Week 2

It was interesting to see how others work out their compositions for the radial and dilation system. As when I was brainstorming, I find these two systems the hardest ones.

Week 3

I notice that by restricting ourselves from using colors in the initial design has allowed us to focus more on the composition and weight. Making it able to stand alone without the support of colors.

Week 4

I notice most of our classmates uses photographs of nature for the tracing image. It may be caused due to the randomness factors that trees, rocks, and plants offer.

Week 5

I notice that choosing the right image (composition, tone, etc) affects the overall result greatly.

Week 6

I realized we have to immediately brainstorm our ideas for our next project, Troublemakers Manifesto, and find relevant semiotic images to reflect the concept behind it. In order to stay on track and meet the deadlines.


Week 2

Through this week's exercise, I found myself juggling between exercises again and realize that I still need to hone my time management skill.

Week 3

I found out that adjusting the leading, spacing, and size of the text is important to maintain the readability. Especially, in the radial system.

Week 4

When refining, I found out that some changes in small details might impact the overall feeling of the output which may cause the letters to lose its characteristics.

Week 5

I found that choosing an image with lots of white space allows us to play around further with the text as the composition wouldn't be cluttered.

Week 6

I found out that even a simple interplay between the typography and the image can bring out more life and create a more exciting work as a whole.

Further Readings

Week 2

What is Typography? By David Jury
Issue: Authority and Convention

In this section, the book talks about the relationship between authoritative text and typography. According to the book, a text can be deemed as authoritative based on several factors. From the author's reputation, the language used, to the materials used (such as books with hardcover), and the formal lettering used of the period. By period, the author refers to how our perception of what is formal is shifting from time to time. For example, in Florence when the early printers already exist, many hand-copyist associated printed book with low status. Hence, handwritten books are viewed as more formal. Meanwhile, in the present days, a desktop published letter is commonly accepted as a formal medium.

Week 3

Texts on Type By Steven Heller & Phillip B. Meggs
Movement: Defining Modernism - The Cult of Lower Case

"The Cult of Lower Case" is a critical writing towards the increasing popularity of complete lower case text. The first appearance of such practiced is said to be in the United States in the work of Don Herold and also in a newspaper column conducted by Don Marquis called "archy the cockroach". The style became widely popular for several reasons. One argues that "You do not use capitals in speaking, so why write them?". While others argue that small letters are more readable due to its ascenders and descenders that created more differentiation points compared to capital letters. It is also interesting to note that other national alphabets such as Arabic, Hebrew, Hindi, and etc are written and printed with no letters of distinct forms for initials and others. However, according to the text, capital letters are necessary to our reading comfort only because we are used to it. Hence, if a later generation is brought up on nothing but lowercase letters, it would be uncomfortable for them if capitals suddenly reappear.

Week 4

Typographic Universe By Steven & Gail Anderson

As a whole, this book showcases how day-to-day objects that are around us can be manipulated into letters by arranging and shaping it. Ranging from toiletries to body parts. It's a quite intriguing book and could work as an inspiration reference. As our current exercise revolves around the same concept of finding letters from everyday things. The difference was that our exercise only needs one object that could produce several letters.


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