"All Boundaries Are Conventions Waiting To Be Transcended" - David Mitchell | Skillshare Projects

Clarence Kitt




"All Boundaries Are Conventions Waiting To Be Transcended" - David Mitchell

I am incredibly excited to take this class as I've always been in awe of typographic art! I'm so fascinated with all the great work that has come out of this class, and I'm going to give this a try!


1.1 Phrase Choice

After spending days and days deciding which quote to work with - I decided to challenge myself and go for a beautiful quote by David Mitchell.

I personally love quotes that deal with existentialism or similar abstract concepts that can allow me to really play around with different imagery and representation. The beautiful quote from Cloud Atlas, "All boundaries are conventions waiting to be transcended" instantly provoked a lot of ideas, possibilities for contrasts and interesting juxtapositions.

Now there can certainly be a lot of interpretations to this phrase, and even though I wish to instill my own interpretation, I still wish to borrow a few elements from the context that this quote was used. From the movie, this quote was part of a dream where the characters relish in a sense of freedom and weightlessness as they destroy a room filled with porcelain antiquities - a rather artistic portrayal of breaking away from rigid walls and courage to tread on fragile ground. 

This is the corresponding paragraph in the book.

"Dreamt I stood in a china shop so crowded from floor to far-off ceiling with shelves ofporcelain antiquities... that moving a muscle would cause several to fall and smash to bits.

Exactly what happened, but instead of a crashing noise, an august chord rang out, half-cello,half-celeste, D major, held for four beats. My wrist knocked a Ming vase affair off its pedestal—E-flat, whole string section, glorious, transcendent, angels wept....Ah, such music!"

1.2 Brainstorm 

So I went ahead and wrote down all the keywords that came to mind when I thought of the words 'Boundaries', Conventions' and 'Transcended', the three words were the emphasis of the quote. 

2.0 Moodboard and Initial Sketches

The ideas I associated with "Boundaries" consisted of a lot of physical barriers such as gates, walls, fences, rails, cage and I instantly got a picture of something very industrial. Then the word "Transcended" made me think of of concepts of revival, revitalization and spirituality. I really wanted to create something that showed something intimidating transitioning into something surreal and beautiful. The contrast between something hard and authoratative and something fleeting and intimate was definitely something I wanted to evoke. 

My mind immediately pictured vintage Western design that can be very machistic but elegant at the same time. Because of the scene the quote came from in the movie, I also looked at different porcelain designs and certainly liked how it seemed to complement the flair of the Western-style prints.

Now, I am aware that I am skipping a step of experimenting with type, but I'm the type of person who - when I can visualise an image in my mind, I must sketch it out. During a tedious long haul flight, I suddenly had 'idea flashes' of what the design could look like.

I loved the level of detail seen in the inspiration and the porcelain vases and I went with it for these sketches. The porcelain element is more subtle in the first version, where as it's more present in the second one. In the second one, I literally thought of showing the shell of a vase, somewhat "melting away and shattering" in a beautiful organic way. 


Please sign in or sign up to comment.