Radical Typography: Using Hand-Drawn Branding for Expression & More | James Victore | Skillshare

Radical Typography: Using Hand-Drawn Branding for Expression & More skillshare originals badge

James Victore, Author, Designer, Activist, Artist

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12 Lessons (1h 3m)
    • 1. Introduction

      1:19
    • 2. What Is Branding?

      4:25
    • 3. What is Typography?

      9:44
    • 4. The Union of Branding and Typography

      6:28
    • 5. Finding Your References

      3:13
    • 6. Play

      10:11
    • 7. Push-Ups

      1:46
    • 8. Surfaces

      5:11
    • 9. Paint Pens and Sumi Brushes

      7:57
    • 10. No. 2 Pencil and Duct Tape

      4:51
    • 11. Handwriting and Fingerpainting

      6:23
    • 12. Branding Your Theme

      1:21
39 students are watching this class

About This Class

Love lettering, design, and type? Join legendary designer James Victore as he shares how to distill your most passionate ideas into a designed, typography-based poster that represents your voice to the world.

To be radical is to set yourself apart—to reject all the rules. This is a class on radical typography. It's an hour where you'll disregard the rules, pay homage to iconic misfits and artists, discover James's favorite tools, and find freedom in graphic play.

Key lessons include:

  • What is typography?
  • How typography and branding work together
  • Analog materials overview (pencils, duct tape, paint, and more)
  • Exercises and creative prompts to help you find your voice

In the project for this class, you'll use radical hand-drawn typography to brand a theme of your choice. Don’t clean up your work on the computer—make something authentic. Start off slowly, in black and white, then move into color.

In the words of James Victore, "Nobody cares what it looks like if what you say is dumb." Find what you have to say.

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Images Courtesy James Victore

Transcripts

1. Introduction: Does everybody hate that part? It's that part again, just like I'm James Victore. I'm a graphic designer, and an artist, and a typographer, and I am happy to be on skillshare. Check it out. I decided to teach a class on typography because I look around me and all the typography I see there's a scenes, I want to be moved. I bemoan the lack of art in our lives, the lack of art in our commerce. You're capable of that, we are capable of that. It's not that hard. In this class, we cover a few basic things, we cover what is branding, we cover what is topography and then we'd cover the important part, the union of branding with radical typography. We'll go over some basic ideas and then we work into two tools and some opportunities to make some interesting ones. There is an attitude out there that type is just a shape and it's not. It's just type, it is just letter forms, there are means to an end. Right? Again, nobody cares what it looks like, if what you say is done. 2. What Is Branding?: The first thing we want to do is break down what is branding, and what is typography. Since we're talking about branding with a radical typography, what is branding? I am not an advertising agency guy who's going to give you some mystical hot air answer, because you know the answer, what branding is. It's the way you wear your hat. It's what sets you apart from other people. In design and in advertising, we use marks. We use logos to create brands. Some of the most famous practitioners would be the Paul Rand for IBM, or Ivan Chermayeff for Mobil Oil, with the red O. Another brand that you might be familiar with is Apple, it's literally the apple. They've gotten rid of the colored stripes, and now it's the apple. But to me, that type of empirical, modernist branding, where you take the logo, and it's basically a rubber stamp, and then you just see it everywhere, it's a little less interesting, because I feel that you can brand without the hot iron in the coals, and leaving that mark, that same mark all the time. You can brand with the feeling. You can brand with an overall look. It might not be specifically that apple, but you know it's from the same company. It doesn't have to be as rubber stamp as that. So, what I'm talking about is the more sexy, more powerful, more meaningful type of branding. For this class, the branding that we're talking about could be branding for a product, or it could be branding in marketing terms, or it could just be branding yourself, being able to put your own mark, your own memorable mark that distinguishes you from other practitioners. Especially in today's world where typography is very big, and there's a lot of people doing hand-letter type, it reminds me of this story of a blues player. They had this old blues player, and there was this young guy who was chomping on his heels. He was great, and he was going to take over the older blues guy. In an interview, they asked the old blues guy and said, "Hey, what about this other player? He plays so-" he's like, "They say he's the world's fastest blues player," and the old guy said, "Yes, he may be fast, but can his mother recognize him on the radio?" Meaning the young guy was fast, but he wasn't distinctive. He didn't have his own thing, he didn't have a brand. His music was not a brand. So, we can apply this to a number of different fields besides graphic design. So, the branding I'm talking about now is kind of sex appeal thing. We can see an art. One of my heroes, and I see this work completely is taken as typography, one of my heroes is the American artist Franz Klein. Made completely memorable mark, and I comply. See his work still has typography when I show work later. A completely memorable mark, completely distinctive from other modern artists. Another example would be this guy that you may have heard of, Keith Herring. He started something completely new, completely different. All the drawings were different, he may have repeated a barking dog occasionally, but a very distinctive mark. This is the kind of branding that I'm talking about. It's not a rubber stamp, it doesn't have to look the same all the time, but it's an overall feeling that you get from it. 3. What is Typography?: Okay we spoke about branding. Now we're going talk a little bit about what is typography. A few notes. Type, typography or fonts versus lettering. There are experts who can discern and tell you that, I don't give a damn, I don't care about that stuff. There are a few practical things that I employ. One I learned a long time ago that, I started working as a graphic designer working in publishing industry, just before computers. The way it worked was you had to call out. You had to get on the phone and call for all of your lettering to be sent to you from that place. Mostly we used a place called Photo lettering. They were these massive, just massive books filled with millions of fonts and you would search through, it would be a very slow rainbow of typography that went from slim sans serif to heavier sans serif to serif of two slimmers. It was exquisite to just fan through, but when you were looking for the right font, it was a complete pain in the ass. It would take hours. Until, I had a beautiful idea and the beautiful idea is this, there is no right font. Don't go searching for the right typography because what you're looking for is you're looking for a typography that has that certain flavor, that certain "je ne sais quoi" that you're looking for, to add to your work. Don't let typography do that. You're supposed to do that. Don't let typography carry the weight, don't bring it in, because it has that certain flavor. The other thing is like again, this is very traditional typography we're talking about. There are also, too many, damn fonts out there and they just keep making more. What happens is you keep jumping from font to font when you're working on jobs. You look through and you find something or you see and that somebody else is working you're like "Oh, that looks interesting let's find out what that is and we'll use it," but you're not practiced with it. You have no experience with it, so you're not going to be able to use it beautifully. What we try to do, is get comfortable with a few fonts. When we're using, when we are using real typography, a few fonts and we get practice with them and we get very good with them. Then people look at your work and they're like "Oh my god it's amazing what is that?" You're like "Helvetica." Okay, the other thing is that, I'm primarily an image maker. I'm not primarily a typography guy. I'm primarily more concerned with the images. Basically making a poster, making that big sexy image and then you're like oh shoot it has to have a name on it oh shoot it has to have the masthead or something and you have to figure out how to put that on. For me, every time you put something on the page, it changes the page it's like cooking. When you're cooking and you're finishing, you're tasting it like, what does it need? It's one of two things. It's salt or pepper and you got to go slow. So, again this it's the same thing, every time you put something on the page, it alters it. So, you got to go in slow. Also, legibility. We need to talk about that just for a moment. Readability whatever you want to call it. Again, I'm not a stickler for terms, I don't care about that stuff. Legibility, let's call it legibility. Are you working in publishing? Or are you working in fashion? Because there's two different levels of legibility right there. Publishing, it's very important that if you're working on a book cover or you're working on a magazine cover it's very important for that industry that it be extremely readable, relatively quick. In the fashion industry, there is more leeway. In the music industry, there's more leeway, sometimes. There's just overarching rules these don't apply to every single situation. So, sometimes legibility counts, readability counts, sometimes, okay? Now the last thing and this thing I will go into some details. The last thing is, there ain't no rules. There ain't no rules about typography. But if there were, these would be them, and I've got 10 of them and I've got them lined up right here. The first one is, learn the rules. All those traditional little rules about kerning and letter spacing and flush left and flush right. No, learn the rules. You know why you learn them? So you can break them. Okay, number two, nobody cares what font you use or what your lettering looks like. If the words you're using are dumb, and not worth reading. Don't decorate garbage. Got it? Number three, there are no ugly typefaces. There are only ugly designers. Okay, number four, I mentioned before you can search for that right typeface that has the right meaning, something that says wedding, something that says cookbook, or something that says rock show or something that says, it was World War Two movie or, you cannot not be lazy and you can make it yourself. You can invent something new. Five, sometimes the wrongest choice of font is the best choice, right? In a early job of mine, when I was a kid working as a designer I did this cover for Johnny Got His Gun. The most practical seemingly best choice for this, would be some rough stencil looking. But what would happen if I put rough stenciled looking type on this, this would look like every other goddamn World War One book out there. This is what was set in World War One, Johnny Got His Gun if you haven't read it, read it, it's awesome. But, it's not that kind of book. So, I'm paying attention to the content. It's beautiful, pacifist antiwar statement. So, the font that I chose to use is actually traced from the Hallmark logo. It was the worst, wrongest choice possible and to me it made the most poetic sense. So, the wrongest choice actually adds, meaning sometimes. Okay, number six, since you all are probably working on computers, do not let the computer do your work for you. Avoid all the tricks, especially if there are tricks that are available, they come down in some column, that you can touch and it comes down and says "Oh you want this, you want to do this". No, we don't like those fake blur's, we don't like outlines, we don't want drop shadows. If your type doesn't read on something don't add a drop shadow, move it. Do a better job, right? Number seven, if you want a distressed font or a particular font, make it. Again, I started pre-computer and I started in a book jacket studio, this guy's name was Paul Bacon. He's a brilliant designer, a genius. Could draw, could hand letter, could photograph, he was a master of his craft. If he needed a dingbat, he drew it. If he needed, a letter that wasn't in the font case, he made it. Don't be lazy, you guys can do this. Eight, big one avoid trends, in typography. Trends change. If you follow trends you are going to be following them all the time. You're going to be following the herd. What happens when you follow the herd is the view never changes. So, avoid trends. Number nine is something we call fake perfection. Stop cleaning things up. Stop scanning them in and cleaning them up. Stop worrying so much about the spaces between letters and space between, nobody cares about that stuff, right? We have a rule around here that "Done is better than perfect." So, fake perfection. Number 10 this is a biggie, since these are my 10 rules of typography. Number 10, following the rules will make your work look like everyone else's. So, don't follow leaders, watch your parking meters as Bob said. So that, there are a few ideas about typography. 4. The Union of Branding and Typography: So, we talked about what branding is. We talked a little bit about typography. Now, we got talk about radical typography. The union of the two, how to make a sexy powerful mark, a memorable mark using type. One thing that I will say which I would say in any teaching arena. The most important thing is first, learn everything, then forget it, and then design, then make your type. What I mean by that is my interests in racing and in food and in music is in my work, I put it in my work, you got to have that. You can't just look at typography and make topography. It has to come from you. It has to be fully steeped in everything that is, that you're about. So, first learn everything, then forget it because if you don't forget it, and then it's just mimicry. You're looking at someone's font, and you like Andy Warhol's type and you trace an Andy Warhol's type and it's not interesting, it's not your type, right? So, first, learn everything then forget it and then design. So, the union of the two and what makes radical typography is the topography that I think is much more expressive than what's available on a day to day situation or anything that's on your stupid ass computer, for sure, okay? So, a few places where I traditionally have looked and been inspired, and of course, I have not taken by this stuff anymore because I learned it and I forgot it, one is tombstones. Tombstones are exquisite. You go to old cemeteries and you see the tombstones. First of all, if you look at tombstones and you understand that they are breaking one of those traditional rules of typography. Because your boss is going to say, "You shouldn't use more than two fonts on one job," or something like dumb ass shit like that. It doesn't matter how many fonts you put on the page, it doesn't matter. The rule is if it looks good, it is good. Go to the tombstones, crazy mishmash of topography and always exquisite. Another place that I look is I have collected old postcards over the years that I find in thrift shops. Partially, because the image is partially, I might draw on this someday and put it in a job, this crazy tower. Partially, because of the handwriting on it, because historically, people actually learned to write. They learned the palmar method. They learned a correct way to letter with a pen. Whether that's right or wrong because I'm left-handed, and historically if I lived back here, I would've been forced to be right-handed. So, I don't know if this is right or wrong, but take a look at some of the lettering here, it's exquisite, something that we can't, very few people on the planet can do now. I consider myself a poster designer. I could not be a poster designer if I did not somehow pay homage to my great, great, great grandfather, the person who I came from. I think, most American designers forget that we come from a history, a long history of anarchists and misfits and sign painters. We are not MBAs who learned how to use type. Toulouse-Lautrec, one of the greats. His topography is completely crude, completely not correct, but extremely expressive and extremely painterly. If you go through and look at some of his posters, the topography is there's no rules to them, which makes it amazing. Another artist that I am hugely influenced by is Pablo Picasso, somewhat by his work, but also by the lettering in his work. One of the things that makes this lettering so brilliant is its casualness because it's not the work itself, it's usually on the back of the piece or on the side of the piece because he doesn't care about it, and that's something you should think about, that's something important, right? Because a lot of times, we'll be at a lettering situation where you're trying to make it perfect, remember what I said before, fect perfucktion. I know people who try to make some perfect lettering, even the cover of this where it says Je suis le Cahier, it's exquisite. Where people are trying to make perfect lettering for a t-shirt or something and I've been in these studios where it's a stack like this of papers and they're asking me, which one do you like? What I always say, "Show me the first one," because it's probably the best. Because it's the one where you actually weren't thinking about it too much, right? So, especially, in lettering, too much thinking can ruin your work. Another artist who I look at, his name is Ben Shahn. He was alive in the '40s and '50s. Exquisite typography, very much branding, his own work, very much, very memorable work. Also, as I mentioned before, I look at a lot of art as fodder for work. There are a few artists I mentioned, Franz Kline, I see his work as typography. I didn't mention Situan Blee. Let's take a look at Situan Blee's work, beautiful. If you see it as typography, it's more interesting. This is Tapies. There's another artist of contemporary, Julian Schnabel whose work has a lot of typography and it's just brilliant. By the way, Julian, call me, we should go surfing together. 5. Finding Your References: So, we spoke about having historical artistic references, resources, in your work. For inspiration, for suggestion. Like I said remember, learn everything then forget it. Then, make your type because references are great to a point, but at some point, you have to make your own mark. Even if traditionally I was a master craftsman, you came to work for me as an apprentice, you would spend a year cleaning my brushes, learning how to do that well. Then you'd spend a year mixing paints and learning how to do that well. Then you spend a year filling in forms and you will be learning to become your own master. When you're actually finally out doing your own work, you're going to have to differentiate yourself from me. So, resources are great and references, loving Andy Warhol work, loving some other contemporary typographers work is great but you have to make your own work. That's important. That's the branding aspect. That's the more real you can become, the better you'll get paid. Very important. Another attitude I'd like you to think about which almost sounds contrary since we're teaching a class about typography, or teaching class about radical typography, it's different, is I think you should have a healthy disrespect for type. There are too many T-Shirts, I love Helvetica or Gotham is my thing or whatever. I don't care. But too many does an attitude out there that type is just the ship and it's not. Is just type, is just letter forms. There there a means to an end. Again, nobody cares what it looks like if what you say is dumb. So, I think there's an attitude that having a healthy disrespect for typography that I think would work well. I think it looks good on you. An assignment for this part would be to go out and find your own examples of historical, whether you want to use my references or not, whether you want to go to the graveyard with you or want to go to the museum, or to the vintage store, I don't know. But find your own examples. It might just be one single letter form or it might be a whole caseload of beautifully, artistic, expressive, radical typography, and then what you should do is post it on the Skillshare class. So, we all can see it. So, we can all revel in your splendor. See you. 6. Play: Okay. So now, we begin. I want to mention a few things before we get into the more practical like making marks or from this examples of making marks on a page and of how to get this kind of level of radical in your typography. I don't know if you guys are familiar with an essay written by Beatrix Ward, I think it was the 1930s. I think it's called the Crystal Goblet. Take a look at it. It's kind of a rule for traditional topography where what she basically said was typography should be like a crystal goblet. So, the wine you pour into it, because of the crystal goblet, the goblet doesn't alter the flavor of the wine. Basically saying that we as designers should be some empty vessel, and you should never see the hand of the designer, I call Bolshoi on that. That is like such a dumb idea. It works great for some things, but not for everything. If you want to be a grey modernist designer, go for it. But I'm more interested in making sexy powerful memorable images and letter forms. Letter forms, when we're talking about branding we talked about this idea of being a rubber stamp or a cookie cutter. So, branding and typography are not cookie cutters. They're not the same all the time. There are fonts available that look like they're hand done, and I'll see a book cover in the store and a book cover might be called Boobed, where it has two O's and two B's, and the O's are exactly the same, and the B's are exactly the same. I don't get that. I don't understand what kind of lazy dog does that, bad dog. Bad, right? I don't want you to be invisible. I don't want you to be lazy. I want you to start getting comfortable with these. This is much more of getting comfortable with the marks that your body wants to make. I'm left handed. I understand that when I'm using a brush, I'm actually pushing it across the page not dragging it across the page. It's different. I can't use quil points because I'm pushing them across the page. They don't work like that, they work when they're dragged when that v is slowly gently opened up. I'm like making these horrible marks, and horrible is not a bad idea if I can control it. If I can either control it or not make the decision at all and let the mark be the mark, you see? The idea now is to get you comfortable off the computer, and the reason is that for many of us it becomes a crutch habit. Just like carrying our cell phone everywhere we go it just becomes a habit, you don't need and what happens is it makes us weak. It makes us weak as artists, it makes our vision weak because everything is in a square, everything we see is lighted from behind. So, what I'd like to do is work with you and establish some level of freedom in your hand, your mind, in your ways of thinking, and also the computer is not smarter than you are. Going out, sitting under a tree with a sketch book and a pen that you're comfortable, that is hand eye development. That is developing your brain and your ability to let your mind wander, and it doesn't happen in the computer. It doesn't happen in the studio. We often leave the studio when we're designing when we're doing the thinking part. We go around the corner to the Italian restaurant, and about halfway through a nice pizza and Bala Qian Ti you get to that point, and that point that becomes interesting and you know that point you've been there before and it goes like this. You're working on some project, trying to make some memorable mark, and you're talking with some friends and they say, "Hey, what are you working on?" You say, 'I'm working on this thing and it's getting boring," but when you have a beer or two, I'm not saying you have to drink to be able to get to this point but you have a beer or two and you start talking about that project and you go, "You know what you should really do, you know what would really funny," that's what you should do. That's what we try to get to all the point. We were at a point in a restaurant once where we'd come up with this idea that was so brilliant and we had to go follow through with it and it was for a client, that it was so brilliant that it involved us rushing back to the studio and calling Iowa to order two dozen live baby chicks. You can't come up with those good stories on the computer. So, I want you to start thinking about getting outside of the studio and working with your hands and developing your mind. I also want to see play. I want you to have play in your work. Because I walk the streets of New York or I'll be an Austin or I'll be in some city around the world, and I as a pedestrian, I want to walk around and see work made by people who love their damn job. I want to be moved. I bemoan the lack of art in our lives, the lack of art in our commerce. You're capable of that. We're capable of that. It's not that hard, okay? So, I want to see play in your work. It's molto importante. Also, since we're talking about typography, this class is for beginners and this class is for professionals who want to sharpen their game. Beginners, you don't have to be a typographer. There is no degree that you get to be a letterer, to be a typographer. You don't have to feel like one, I don't feel like one. I am a complete charlatan. I make things up, but I make them up so well that they end up hanging in the Museum of Modern Art. How about that? You can do the same thing. I can't draw. Not only am I not a typographer, I can't draw. I'm not good at drawing pictures. I say I can't draw it because I can't draw like Rembrandt. But quite frankly, if I took lessons and I spent my whole life, I probably couldn't get close. So, it's not about drawing, it's about playing and freeing yourself to make a comfortable mark on the page. Also, you can teach yourself this stuff. Straight out of high school, I went to a regular university. After one semester, I get a 0.04 cubed and I was asked to leave. So, I started waiting tables, I started doing a couple of bunch of odd jobs. Then I decided to move to New York and study graphic design. I went to the School of Visual Arts and after about two years, one of my instructors took me aside and said, perhaps I would be better suited to becoming a possibly a golf pro or a CPA, and I left the school of visual arts. I dropped out of that. You don't need university. You don't need to be a topographer. You don't need to be able to draw. You can teach yourself this stuff by being curious, by looking around, by going back historically and finding precedence, learning what's been done before. So you can make the same mistakes, because that's important as well. The idea is to free yourself to go into the wrongest places. That's important. One of my mentors is a cat named [inaudible]. He lived until he was about 93 years old. He was a Polish designer who's the father of what they called the Polish poster movement. I met him a number of times and in conversation, I asked him once about something being beautiful, and he looked at me and he said, "Beautiful, ugly, I don't know the difference." I immediately understood what he meant because of the marks that he made on the page were quite frankly so ugly, such crazy choices, random choices that no one else would make. But there was a beauty in it somehow. So, too much thinking about beautiful and ugly, don't worry about it. That's for posterity. You make your marks. Just one other thing about Henrik a side note about Henrik because we have tools and I will share with you is he used to work with these paint brushes. I mean he came from art covera, he came from basically working after the Second World War where there was no paper, no paints, they just they made do, and he still had that work ethic. His paint brushes were all these gnarled arthritic looking things, but because of that, they made the most exquisite crazy lines that you can't reproduce. It's awesome. 7. Push-Ups: One other thing I want to talk about is push-ups. Meaning, if you want to get strong, and you go to the gym, and you can do five push-ups. And do five push-ups every time you go to the gym and you call yourself done, you're not doing any work. And it's the same thing with sketches, the same thing with practice, right? I think, I would be considered a master of my craft because I've done it so long. Malcolm Gladwell has his 10,000 hours, takes 10,000 hours to be to be an expert. My 10,000 hours- the clock started when I was five. Think about that. You have probably been practicing this a lot longer than you think, right? So, go back to those roots and understand and then move forward, okay? We're going to do an assignment for this part and the assignment for this part is, go outside, take whatever papers, whatever tools you're comfortable with. Go outside, go sit at a restaurant, go sit in the coffee shop, go sit under a tree, and just make marks. Don't make typography, don't call it anything, don't discern whether it's beautiful or ugly. Just make marks and get comfortable with that and then post them on the Skillshare class because I'm want to see those marks, okay? 8. Surfaces: So, now we get into the more practical bits on the Tools. Right? But one tool that I want to talk about first which we have to consider besides pencils, and pens, and markers, or paint, or whatever is surfaces. I have favorite surfaces I like to work on. Different surfaces react differently with different materials. So, for example, these are the kind of crude brushes that I like to work with if i'm working on ceramics. Which if you haven't painted on ceramics, this really wonderful feeling for me whether I'm using paint pens to make just art objects for friends or gifts, or working with a ceramicist that's making real platters. It's a feeling of ice skating, this smoothness between the materials. I find that very seductive, I like working like that. Papers don't generally have that same feeling. Another way of working with surfaces is if I'm working with objects, I like painting on objects. Since I was a kid, I've drawn on everything. I drove teachers and parents crazy, just drawing on things. This is a bone spray painted black, and then painted with white paint pen or just drawn on with a white paint pen. This from a very large chicken, and it ended up becoming this exhibition poster from a couple of years ago. Different surfaces and different qualities add a different line. Some surfaces are abrasive so you get a checkered line, some are more smooth. Right now, just even for notes I'm using this particular pen, and I've fallen in love with it, it just leaves a beautiful line. Sometimes I will probably use this pen for a number of years, and then find another one, and fall in love with it, so we have to be open. Another surface that I enjoy painting on is the human body. This is an awesome opportunity that I had a number of years ago for Esquire magazine, to paint on their supermodel by Rafael. This was an opportunity, this is just a one shot. You show up at a studio and do it. In an interview with Esquire, they asked me what I was painting, what materials I was using on her, and I told them shoe polish, and they believed me. But to prepare for a one-shot, there's no mistakes. There's actually, if you look on the cover, there is a mistake, and I just cross it off and kept going, because there's no erasing when you're working with- and this was make-up, when you're working with models. But we did prepare sketches. We did try to figure out how it would work on the model. We worked with both photographs of models that Esquire gave us and we also worked with the live lingerie models, here in the studio. But again, just trying different styles, and see what would work. Again, talking about surface working with makeup. This is a beautiful pen to work with. This makeup is from prrup cosmetics. I can't say their name because prrup is not paying me. Here, let me show you how it works. So, to show you that the line at this particular big ass cosmetic pen makes, I've assisted my lovely wife Laura to help me out. You got to try this, find a model, get your girlfriend, your boyfriend, and get some cosmetic or theatrical paint, it's a blast. So, here look at the line that this thing makes. Awesome, look at that. 9. Paint Pens and Sumi Brushes: As far as tools, one of my favorite tools to use is a paint pen. But listen, people, never ride stock, right? They show up like this. For example, this is a pen from Molotov. They show up like this. Who works with a rectangle. So, what I do is whenever I get a new pen before I get the paint flowing through it, I alter the tip because I don't want to work with this square chunky thing. I don't want to work with a rectangle. I'm not quite sure what I want to do but what I'll do is I'll start chipping away and then slice it, slice it, slice it. So, I get much more of an uncontrolled mark. A mark that I don't know what is actually what's going to happen. So, I will turn that pen into this kind of more of a brush and I get much more of an interesting kind of hairy line than I would have out of that thing. So, don't ever ride stock. Alter everything. We customize everything and I have a whole shoe box full of all different kinds of pens that I've altered and every time I start a job, I kind of will go through each pen looking to find the one that makes a line that speaks to me for that job. There are a couple of pieces here I'm going to show you, a couple of jobs I can take you through. This is the cover from a couple of months ago, Smithsonian magazine. This was done with the paint pen and the way I did it actually was I didn't draw the letters. I just had like a loose sketch or I drew around them. Again, the pen is filling in areas that I'm not quite kind of in control of. So, the sketch, excuse me, the drawing for the typography looks like this. Again, there are choices here in the lettering that the bulkiness of the pen made, I didn't make and I am comfortable with that. There's a Time magazine cover from a couple of years ago all done with paint pen probably two different styles the arrows were drawn with the heavier pen and the typography was just drawn with a lighter pen and this is a recent cover for Wired magazine. This is Love Music Again, and this was again I could have used a brush, a Sumi brush but I used a paint pen and you can see the difference in the width of the line and that's because the way that I've cut the brush. Different pieces landing on depending on the pressure that I put on the brush. I can show you the, and another interesting note here when I show you the sketches is the size of the sketches. They're small, probably more than my computer. I used my copier. I use a Xerox machine to blow things up or I'll draw something that looks fairly interesting large and then I'll shrink it down and then redraw it small just to see what happens when you blow it up. It blows up all these little hairs and all these little crazy bits. You can see this is the number of times that I drew the typography, not a lot and I didn't go back to fix any of the letters. We didn't say oh that's a nice L and that's a nice O. I'm not interested in that. Again, those are random decisions. We're not looking for perfection, we're looking for something authentic and something fast and something that feels fast. Some more typography made with these big clunky paint pens. Again, no cleaning up. Not concerned about beauty or ugly. The pens, the line they make on their own. If you can stand the smell. They make a beautiful line and again, it depends on what you call it to do and how hard you push on it. This one is got a lot of little hairs in it and it can be as structured as you want or you can let it roam and the faster you do it if you can figure out how to maintain that painterly quality it's in the line, adds another level of flavor to it. It's funny because when I work with these pens or when I work with Sumi brushes, when I send the work out, we don't clean up any of the hair or even any of the little spits that come from this thing and usually when we get a comment from the client that they like something, they usually are responding to those tiny little hairs and those tiny little details and it's kind of interesting. It's almost the opposite of what you would expect. That's a nice page. So, again, for the same tool and two extremely different lines. So, this is a Sumi brush a traditional Japanese calligraphy brush. I have a number of them. I use this one that I use to stir paint with at one point is my favorite and again, one of the reasons why I like working with this type of tool is because I can't technically control it. I'm not interested in that. I'm much more interested in what the brush will do for me and what the surprises will come. So, what you can do with this brush because it comes to such a fine point is you can draw extremely fine and although when you put pressure on it, it'll bulge out to a much wider line and if you twist it and turn it and I never learned how to properly use it and I try to use that as a benefit. Now, it's pretty good. So, that would be the Sumi brush and it holds a ton of ink. So, before you wash it, you've got to get all that stuff out. You have to wash it and take care of it because if you like these tools, take care of them. I've always just chosen to use this brand of ink I don't even know what it is. It's a Japanese ink and I can't even read the label. 10. No. 2 Pencil and Duct Tape: So again, one of my favorite tools, a very chewed up number two Ticonderoga yellow pencil. Awesome! This little sucker will do anything you want. We use it for a lot of different jobs. For typography, sometimes we draw a type with this and sometimes we mimic type and sometimes we turn typography into the actual piece, into illustration. So, doing something as complex as this, this was a piece for a university catalog that we did a couple years ago. So, this is how the piece looked as a centerpiece in the catalog. Another piece that we used just a pen, a little pencil for, is for the New York Times Magazine. These are the original sketches, just went down with a pen, the tiny little sketches. So, I always sketch wise, I always work small it just works better for me that way. Then, we chose to develop two different ideas for the cover and here is just the pencil sketch for one, and all the typography is just roughed in again just with a Ticonderoga number two pencil. Then here is the second idea, so there was the bomb and then there was the explosion. This is, I don't know what stage along the way that there were a couple of drawings before this and there were a couple after this, because although I'm not interested in perfection, the magazine is interested in readability, and we have to concern ourselves with that. So, this is what the final cover looked like with the bomb idea and actually is the lead of the article, the article starts on the cover, and then this is the front illustration in the article. If you'll notice not only is the drawing in here is the pencil but I've gone in with my fingers and smudged it as well, I can show you that in another piece. So again, just a number two pencil and this idea was just drawn in a fury, I just drew the topography in number two pencil and then buried the pencil and tried to get as much of the lead out in the drawing as possible and then just smudged my fingers across it to give it some accent and some energy, and this little drawing turned into this poster. Another really awesome tool for typography is duct tape. You can draw with anything. This is silver duct tape, I also have roles of black that I use often. The black tape literally, these are just pieces of tape, just spelling words out, so this is Go, this is Disney. It's literally just duct tape. Then I will assemble those, I'll put them on the copier, and I'll blow them down and I'll play with them a little bit and assemble them, you can see this is all just kind of put together, assembled, and the final piece looks like this. This is another piece we did a couple of years ago with some friends in Austin called Helm's works, and it's a duct tape illustration, it's duct tape type and it actually looks like there's duct tape on the poster. The tape itself is I think, six colors, silkscreen levels of gray and I literally drew these letters with duct tape. Then we put them on the copier and we blew them up and blew them down like tone wise to get the different levels, and even went in after with a pencil to make sure we got the highlights, and it was just a work in progress and it looks exactly like duct tape. It's crazy, people come up to this poster and start kind of trying to pick at the edges. So, it's amazing what you can do if you just start working with these weird tools. 11. Handwriting and Fingerpainting: One thing I want you to think about, and it could be the strongest tool in you also and you don't know it. That is your handwriting. Most people think they don't have very nice handwriting, because you never learned to do it properly. My handwriting stinks. I can't even read my own notes. But I use my handwriting in work often, and theoretically, it's my handwriting, but it's never really my handwriting. There are things that you can do. If you look at Andy Warhol's early work, there is exquisite handwriting in it, and it is his mother's. He used his mother's handwriting. I mentioned before going back to old postcards, anti-postcards and looking at the handwriting there and learning letters. I pick up letters along the way. I have a really beautiful. I'm always happy when I'm signing books if your name starts with a G makes me very happy. I have a beautiful capital G. I don't have a K yet, my letter K stinks. So, things that you should do when working on your handwriting, use it, and just practice it. Here's a job, and technically, it's just my handwriting in a number two pencil, and then blown up on a copier. So there's the front, says your work as a gift, and then there's the back, and it's the explanation. Not prettied up. Not cleaned up on the computer. We didn't change anything, right? Technically it's just my handwriting. Here are two temporary tattoos available from tacitly this one says freedom is something you take. I think this was done with the paint pen. It's just my handwriting, and it's really clumsy and really ugly, and this is a scribble is just a scribble done with probably a ballpoint pen, and it's just my handwriting. This looks like a mess because it's hand-lettered type over set type, and these are titled credits for an upcoming film with Sam Rockwell and Mersa Tomay. It's a job that we got, and drew all the letters you can see that I'm making replacements on a sign, a few words, a few names that I didn't like, and it seems like a very crude way to work, but this is the effect that I wanted. We could have scanned in my type, and put it next to the completely beautiful computer-made type, but I didn't want computer-made type. I made type that we print, we first printed out on our printer. So, first of all, it's second-generation, so it's not perfect, and then we scan that in with these names on top of them. It seems like a long way to go around for a little imperfection, but those details were important to me. One thing to say about this Mersa Tomay call me. So, often people particularly with this job they commented on how beautiful my calligraphy is, and they asked me what brush I've used. The truth is for this job, it's not calligraphy, and its not a brush, it's my finger. Is just finger-painting. It made sense for this project, and it was fun to do. So here's what the actual work looks like, and it's acrylic paint on clear vellum, so it gives you that really like I said ice skater really smooth feeling. Then when you blow them up, when you make these letters larger that gives them a real 3-dimensional field to it. So it's the front, and then on the back where all these little squiggly marks that we made. Then, like I said when you blow those letterforms up on the actual poster, they become much more interesting. There is another tool I love using, and I don't have any of it right now. I've run out of it because I busted it all up, and it's whiteout. I like whiteout because and I like particular kind of whiteout, and is the one that comes in a little jar and at the end of a little piece of plastic is a little triangular sponge, you know that stuff? Because it's terrible to draw with, and it's terrible to make list because it is completely uncontrollable. I mean, the little thing is flops around half it's broken, but it makes beautiful marks. I was traveling recently, and a friend of mine gave me this. It's another form of whiteout called tpecs. I never used this before, and this is my phone in front of mine is already John Bergman is already drawn on this, but this thing gives me a really crazy, beautiful line, I'll show you some, I'm going do with whiteout, combination. This is a two for one here. So we can draw with a big ugly paint pen. So when this dries, you can draw on that with the whiteout, and you get this groovy stuff. Please make this up. You know don't let anybody tell you have to be an artist, you have to be a typographer, get out and play. Get out and take chances. Get out and make mistakes. That's where the good stuff is. 12. Branding Your Theme: So, here's the assignment part. I come from a poster background. What I'd like to see is for you, using that poster format, perfectly vertical, not horizontal, to use brand radical typography to brand a theme of your choice. It could be music that you're particularly listening to, it could be yourself, or it could be some social issue that is bursting inside your heart. I would say choose any issue that is bursting inside your heart because that's where the good stuff is. So, start off in black and white. Start off slowly. If it works in black and white, it will work in color. But what I want to see is that you enjoyed the process. What I want to see is radical typography. What I want to see is you put something beautiful and something meaningful out into the world, and that it has your opinion and your hands in the work. Have fun.