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Fashion is architecture: it is a matter of proportions

Hand lettering and typography is a passion of mine, that unfortunately I did not get the chance to study at design school.

I have been copying lettering for as long as I can remember; yes that's nerdy and yes, I know that makes me sound like I'm auditioning for x factor.

For years I have been tracing and restyling my favourite lettering, for school work (filling in every.single.downstroke, much to my teachers annoyance and disgust - they really didn't appreciate up and coming design when they saw it!), greetings cards and for my own personal interest. However, not having any training can put a limit on my uses, as I don't want to infringe on any copyright laws... so here goes, I am ready and willing to learn (and have some fun in the process!).

My choice of phrase for this project is: 'Fashion is architecture: it is a matter of proportions'. The reason for this is threefold. Firstly, I love Chanel, I find her history and growth in design very inspiring, exquisite perfumes, and elegance in simplicity. Quite often the Chanel brand need not add any colour as their creations are so beautiful in monochrome. 

Secondly, my interest in architecture. Though nothing more than a keen eye to appreciate the genius that has gone into some such remarkable structures, I do define it as an interest. I love the shapes, the tones and most of all the lines!

Thirdly: I often think of fashion as 'soft' for all the fabrics used, and the flexibility of it. On the flip side, architecture is 'hard', structured and solid and (hopefully) not flexible. This phrase combines the two, encouraging me to explore further the contrast between the two concepts, and ways that they clash, compliment, and respond to each other.

I believe that there is a story to every line, and I find great fulfilment in telling the story of the line...

So, all in all, looking forward to putting pencil to paper and getting the first line down! 


Well it has been a while since I updated. I have been busy in the background. Last week I spent my free time researching for the project, see some inspiration below:...

This is not conclusive, but a larger chunk of it. Most of my thinking for this was based on the perfection or architecture, and light and lines. The fashion frees it up a little but I wanted to start by thinking of fashion as structured too.

I struggled a little with the initial sketches, I perhaps chose too long a word to get started with, but to me it is one of the most important words in the phrase and I could not wait to get started on it!

Please excuse the erase marks, I ran out of space and erased it and left that area blank. I had erased too many times for any image to look good in that space.

My favourite so faris the bottom one. I know it's not perfect, needs a lot more work, but it challenged me and brought me out of my comfort zone and I want to spend more time working into it.

The top type, the 'fancy serif' as I labelled it was also a challenge. Although the horizontal bars are not all level I spent time on the effect of the letters. I wanted them still to look quite sketchy.

My representational type was based on the idea that the letters were formed with shapes, and each whole letter in the shape of a brick, with the edges chiseled out. Though I purposefully haven't shown whether they are indent or rise. I also imagine that if I were making a uniform rubber stamp for this word, the letters would follow a similar form.

My next step is to practise with lettering and broaden out my expectations, by experimenting with styles I have not used before.

Help!

So, after much consideration and procrastination I started to think more about using a script for 'Fashion'. Had a little play around. However, I don't want to go completely ornate and intricate with tiny details on lettering, as Chanel herself believed in understatement being elegance. I feel that as I've chosen her quote it's only right to represent her phrase in a way suitable and fitting! I have been thinking a little on patterns and fabrics however, noting that the Chanel fashion house came out boldly with some striking houndstooth jackets...

And that a detail Chanel adds to prevent a look from being overly feminine - add a chain! I had a little go at script lettering in chain style, though I'm not so confident about how that turned out, with some TLC it could work?...

 

In terms of the fashion world merging with architecture I realised (quite excitedly I have to add) that Herringbone patterns are not dissimilar to some patterned wood (and tile) flooring...

...so perhaps I could explore this effect a little more and draw them together in a linked theme.

I have also had a try at the thumbnails. Unfortunately I'm not gifted with aforethought in terms of imagination, so this task was actually really hard work for me. It took a lot of concentration, plenty of hot chocolate and masses of erasing until I got anywhere close to being content with the few ideas I had on the page.

The diamond shape in the bottom right is taken from the shape design from the world famous 2.55 Bag, the quilting effect. The central bottom line design takes into account that the Chanel logo has two C's (also so does the word Architecture), so I followed suit and reversed the first letter C. 

The bottom left is surrounded by a tape measure, reflecting the precision that goes into both fashion design and architecture, used to keep the proportions in check.

I would really appreciate some feedback on where to go from here, what works and what really doesn't. I don't really have much of an idea how I want it to look finally, which is odd for me... Though I would most likely use it as poster wall art.

Comments welcome!

Happy New Year!

So it's been a little while since I updated...

Here are my three sketches!

The third is my favourite, but the one I disliked most at first. I was pleased with the different lettering styles in the second one, but I don't think they have such a good visual effect, and although they show contrast they really are so difficult to put together. It just does not look good to the eye! I think too much contrast perhaps.

In the third sketch, the sloped effect of architecture brings more shape and a dynamic feel. I can't decide yet whether I'm going to fill the letters in or leave them as outlines, so going to do some experimenting with that, and also with the tape measure, how to incorporate it better into the image. 

I will also clean up the zigzag 'herringbone' effects so they are neater and in proportion!!

Okay, so here is my more detailed idea for the final...

I prefer the blacked in letters, they add depth to the piece, and stop the lines all getting confusing. I also added detail into the tape measure, using letters instead of numbers. I started to add numbers in too, but it was too much!

Next to add the final touches... Any advice??

So... a couple of very hectic weeks later I finally get some time to carry on...

Here is my progression on the flourish. I realise on the above and below images that there is a fair amount of graphite smudging going on, oops. The above, i'm really happy with the flourish, took me alittle while to get the hang of. And a fair few failed attempts, that were really not worth documenting! I also tried ( see below) swapping the uppercase smaller words for more scripted type as I think it fits in better with the image as a whole and softens the looks. All the other words are in capitals and I felt it looked a little agressive to have that trend the whole way through the piece. By keeping the main words in caps and the smaller joining words in flowing script, the main words stand out far better and bring the piece together well. Again apologies for the smudging!

All that needs to be done are the scripted letters to be resized to fit perfectly, and then i'll see if I think it's good enough to be my final plan.

Aaaannd.... Here it is. Happy with the script, the flourishes, the composition. Not happy with the smudging. Going to start inking up :-)

My inked up piece!...

Colour variants... Only two ;)

Ta daaaa!!

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