Cullompton is a small market town in the South West of England with a population of around 8,000. The main High Street is a hodge-podge of buildings from the last 400 years; with a lot of the buildings facades displaying evidence of renovation dating from the last 150 years such as victorian floor tiles, decorative windows and carved stonework.
Project 1: Tracking and Kerning
For my initial exploration I chose a classic British typeface of the late victorian era, Clarendon. As well as being appropriate to a lot of the period features in the town, I also like the bold slabs serifs and quirky features of Clarendon.
Typed out stock the text is uninteresting. The wide tracking creates a lot of white space between the letters in the typeface - Clarendon's character really comes out when it's tracked and kerned tightly, allowing the slab serifs to butt up against each other.
2. Leading and Kerning
Tightly tracking the letters and closing up the leading has added more interest, but there's a distinct visual difference in white space between lines 1, 2 and 3.
3. Reduce UK
Reducing the size of 'UK' has fixed the white space issue, but the gap between the baseline of line 1 and the x-height of line 2 makes this lockup feel open and disjointed to me.
By right-aligning the text the 'D' of Devon tucks nicely under the 'p' of Cullompton. This feels like it slots together much more, creating a more cohesive lockup. I can still see plenty more items I'd like to finesse, such as aligning the serifs of the 'm' in line 1 and the 'D' in line 2.
5. Line up Text
I adjusted the kerning between the letters on line 2 to align the left edge of the 'm' and 'D'. The aligned serifs look much tidier, although can see the uneven kerning between the 2 lines quite clearly - especially when comparing the 'on' at the end of both lines.
6. Tightening Everything Up
As happy as I was with the previous version, I feel this project is all about pushing my comfort zone, so I've closed the kerning and leading right up to being unreadable, before backing off 1 or 2 steps. I'm surprised to see how strong this version is, and I'll leave the text kerned like and move on to playing with the alignment a bit more, seeing if I can get the text to stack in more interesting combinations.
7. Custom Alignment
This is a really interesting combo. The second line sits comfortably under the first, and the white space in the centre of the two lines creates an interesting enclosure that leads your eye around the image. Finally, I aligned the 'UK' on the line created by the the serifs of the stacked 'p' and 'n', before reducing the two letters to match the size of the 'n'.
8. 'mp' Ligature
I was looking for ways to tighten this up and line the 'D' of line 2 up with a letter in line 1. I saw a chance to create an interesting ligature with the 'm' and 'p' of line 1 so I tried it. To be honest, it's past midnight as I type this and I can't make my mind up whether this is weird enough to be fun, or just plain unreadable. I'm going to go to bed and have another look tomorrow.
To be honest, I'm still not 100% about the ligature above. My gut feeling is that the word is challenging to read, but the 'm' and 'p' are still readable. I'm going to leave it in place for now and move onto the shapes and letterforms part of the project.
2: Shapes and Letterforms
The typeface I've chosen for this section is Avenir Next Heavy. It's a nice (very) bold geometric sans serif that should be perfect for messing around with. The default type looks like this:
I kerned the type nice and tight, pulling the letters together to create a very heavy logotype. For me the letters look very plain, and could do with a bit more interest added.
3. Extended C
I started by extending the 'C' to meet the first 'l'. This made the word very heavy on the left side. It needs more.
4. Double Extended C
I rebuilt the C and extended the top and bottom to meet the other letters. This is looking better, but I feel I can add more lines to make it a bit more fun.
5. Wrap Around
I mirrored the C onto the other end of the word, and extended the bars all the way around to enclose the whole word. I feel like this is an interesting solution, but I'm not 100% happy with it. Extending the 't' to meet the top of the line feels like a compromise, and the overall effect just seems a bit clumsy. I;m going to refine this a little bit.
6. Closing the Gaps
I played around with the word a bit more, before hitting on this solution. By running the bars into the words at some points and not others the creates interest and adds a sense of movement. I'm going to stick this over a t-shirt and see how it looks.
7. T-Shirt Mockup
So I've ripped off Aaron's stacking technique for now - but here's a quick mock up of the lettering on a t-shirt. I think it looks pretty cool, has a kind of 80's vibe to it. If anything I think the whole thing is as bit bold and could do with some more space around the actual letters. I'll have to have another play around with this one.