One of the many restrictions that has been placed upon us during this pandemic, is our ability to travel.
Whether it is travelling to work, seeing family & friends, leaving the local area, crossing counties, jumping on a train, plane or boat – all travel has been put on hold, for now.
Unfortunately, the travel industry has really suffered because of this and a local travel agent that I used for many of our family holidays, sadly closed down.
I have had a couple of trips postponed over the last year, one to Ireland and one to France which will hopefully take place, but just thinking about them now, it’s funny the associations I make. Ireland – lush green, music, Guinness and laughter. France – blue & red, great cheese, great wine, style and outdoor living.
I make these associations because I have been to both places many times before and these are the things that I really love about them. If you blinded folded me and drop me off into the middle of either of these countries, I still think I’d have a good guess of where I was but I’m sure I’d look for local typography the help me out!!
I think it’s important that you can recognise where you are and that every place has an identity – because every place has a history and a story to tell and that should be celebrated.
We rely more and more on the internet and social media as a means of interacting with the world and just as we have our own profiles, that we put out there for all to see, towns, cities, counties and countries are doing the same.
With travel agents closing, the best way to be seen is online and what better way to do this than through type and images.
It might not give you the whole experience of what it’s like, but you’ll begin to get a feel for a place and hopefully want to visit.
Typography plays a huge part in attracting visitors and if a typeface has been specifically designed for that place based on its history and culture – it makes it unique and instantly recognisable.
Of course, not all places have their own unique typography or typefaces but through companies and businesses or services local to that area you may recognise the typography used and associate it with where you are.
This is an exciting time for typography as I believe more and more places will be wanting to promote themselves across the world. Once this pandemic is over, there will be a big drive to kick start the travel industry again and locations will be competing to get everyone’s attention.
A campaign that showcases a location with rich and colourful imagery, wrapped up nicely with a unique typeface hinting at a history and story to tell, would definitely get my attention!! Fingers crossed we can travel again soon.
I chose the city of Winchester, Hants, for my photography challenge last week and building on from all the images I took, I have been working on developing a new and unique typeface for it.
Looking at the images I took, it was clear that Winchester is a city full of history dating as far back as 871. I got the sense that the city wanted to preserve all this history whist accepting modern day life. The old working alongside the new.
I wanted to capture this in my typeface and set about finding the right balance of old and new, whist creating something that would be recognisable about the city.
I printed out my photos from last week and tried to divide them in relation to time they were created. Looking at individual letters to see how they were created.
There is a mix of old typography, new typography and typography that might be fairly recent, but paying tribute to typefaces that had gone before.
The most interesting page I created was the one that had a very ‘ornate’ feel to it. When I was taking my pictures around the city, I couldn’t help noticing all the lovely signs that were hanging outside shops alongside the main typography of the shops.
In old times, it was common for business owners to have their own name above their shops but to also have a ‘symbol’ sign to depict the goods they were selling. This practice has remained and is still evident throughout the high street of Winchester. Although not all signs are symbols, some have been replaced with the name of the shop.
Alice (another student on this course) kindly sent me a document that she found called ‘Design Guidance for the control of Shopfronts and Signs’, which was created by Winchester City Council.
It was created in 1998 and there is a section in it called ‘Projecting and Hanging Signs’. It reads ‘Historic towns have an old tradition of symbol signs whose quality can upgrade the visual interest of an area and create a unique identity to a place that gives it appeal and that is noteworthy, particularly to visitors.’
As nice as some of the symbol signs are, the brackets, fixtures and fittings are just as lovely and have been wonderfully made.
I really liked the ‘Overdraft’ typography on one of the shop windows and thought that this was probably the most modern typeface in the city, so I started to do some sketches based on a modern/simple style with an ornate feel whist acknowledging the wonderful signs dotted around the city.
Creating a typeface that was fully ornate would be too much, so I thought the first letter (W) could be bigger and ornate with the following letters simpler but still with a little detail.
These have just been hand drawn but it would be great to work on these further experimenting with the different individual letterforms and making them sharper using professional typeface software.
I enjoyed this challenge but really enjoyed the process of getting through to the final piece. It’s not how I thought it was going to work out, but through doing the research and sketching, it’s amazing how I came about a ‘hook’ (bracket fixtures) and then turned that into a final idea. Hopefully it works and is representative of the city!