Coursework Part 1 – Visual Dynamics

Exercise: Visual dynamics
“Here is a series of short exercises to help you start creatively exploring what you can do with visual dynamics.

  1. Choose a typeface and zoom into some of the letterforms to pick up on the detail of the lines, dots, curves, stems, bowls and serifs that make up the letters. You can do this by scanning your selection at a higher resolution, blowing it up on a photocopier or working with vectors on Illustrator.
  2. Using a square format to frame your selections, develop a grid of designs that makes the most of the visual dynamics you’ve found. Think about how you use scale, cropping or framing.
  3. Repeat the exercise, but this time exploring the dynamic of using different colour or tonal combinations.”

The Typeface

I chose Abril Fatface, as I thought it has some lovely shapes, and is ‘chunky’ enough to use in outline too.


What first catches my eye is the gorgeous curl (ball terminal) of some of the serifs…


…with the contrast of the very slender Modern horizontal serifs (as I understand it, this kind of typeface owes its starting point from the likes of Didot) You can clearly see the variation between thin and thick strokes.


Unless my eyes have gone squinty(!), I think the dot, or tittle is oval, the counters are high, thin ovals, with the exception of the ampersand, which is rather wider.


Zooming in

I tried not to over think this bit, but simply chose some letterforms I found appealing.


Its quite tempting to stay in Illustrator for this entire exercise, but I want to see how I think about this task differently with them printed out.


I cut out the letters, and played with the arrangement – the only draw is that its hard to overlap



Uploaded and cropped


Back to illustrator, I used the above image as a starting point, and explored variations



I decided I needed to fill the space more, like this:


And my final step was to create a chunky vector ‘picture frame’ to section off parts of this image.  It was really helpful – as you can drag it anywhere and quickly find interesting abstract shapes . Here’s a screen shot of Illustrator:


I saved a few here


As I enlarged, the picture frame narrowed in proportion, which again changes the look. (I think I actually prefer the chunky frame though!)


Using Colour

I picked another I like, to see how it alters when I change the colour or tone.



I was able to emphasise certain letter shapes by knocking back the tone of others, and play with the hierachy here.



I experimented with the letter ‘A’ breaking the frame


I tried to remember to have a high tonal contest when choosing my colours – so if they were converted to black and white, they would still have good impact.

The darkest colour reads as black, though its actually dark green


And another variation, again with bold colours.


This was an interesting exercise. I found it hard to focus on parts of the letter forms to use as a
design, until I framed them. As the computer allows you to pick any colour in endless
combinations, I find I have to discipline myself to keeping hold of my objective. My bold colours
are far from subtle and I’m not sure if they might look a bit dated?
I’m not sure which of these is the most successful, in some ways I prefer the monochrome.

Each one makes you notice the negative space as much as the letter forms so hopefully in that way, they are successful.


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