Friday, October 2, 2015

Handmade Typography

Ignite | Pei-San Ng
This week I was browsing for hand-done lettering on the web. Aside from finding calligraphic and digitized typography, I stumbled upon the image of a word that was done in a script font, but it was mounted on the wall and made of matches.  Here is the image to the right:
This artist took on a new meaning of hand-done typography created handmade type. It never crossed my mind that this was also considered to be hand-done typography. I've thought of hand-done only be done on a two-dimensional surface.
Transformation | Pei-San Ng
            Pei-San Ng is an Illinois- based multimedia artist that has designed a series of typographical pieces that are made of thousands of matches. Her technique consists of simply gluing matches to a panel of wood that creates a word. (I presume that she has the script in an outline, but I did not read that on her website.) Ng reached out to and shared three of these pieces– Ignite, Transformation, and Creation.

Transformation (detail)
I went to Ng’s personal website,, to learn more about her intent behind her typographic artwork. Ng mentions in her artist statement that she enjoys the tease that her work evokes amongst viewers, “...if you light the matches, then you change the work, it becomes a performance, and you get a moment of satisfaction and then you have nothing.” As a viewer, you do get that sense of wanting to light the work, just to see it burn in order to experience the transformation of the piece. I like the fact that she uses words that relate the idea of fire by using matches to create the word. I also think it is interesting that on her website she has limited the amount of photographs that actually depict the letters burning so she can continue to tease the audience. You are forced to imagine the burning of each word. 

            With that being said, I explored variations of type and how people interpret the meaning of certain words through different typefaces. Through this exploration, I have learned not to limit my thinking to only the computer. It is much more helpful to try out different solutions when creating typography. Here are some examples of more interpretations of handmade type:
Sofa | click here to visit page
Above is a font that someone manipulated in Photoshop to mimic the idea that it was actually handmade. This particular piece could have been made by hand and then photographed. Once again, there is a certain ambiguity about the process. I thought this was pretty cool to have the word resemble a certain sofa and the feel of it as well.

Line | click here to visit page
This next picture is similar to the previous picture, but executed differently. The letterforms were obviously created using line and because lines create texture, they did not have to incorporate anything extra. The lines aren’t all uniform, which makes these letters a little more interesting. There are lines that wrap around and cross over the letterform to make the letters a little more dynamic.

Delicious | click here to visit page
This next image is made of food (not literally) and spells out Delicious. The cool thing about this image is that the artist had the food embroidered on fabric. It gives the piece a more crafted feel than the other two examples. The craftiness really embraces the handmade aspect of the process. In the close-up, you can really see the detail of the thread, which is really beautiful.

The last example that I have is almost like a performance piece. Each person uses his or her arms to become the letterform. Even the first and last person creates quotes. I have seen other people try to execute letterforms using the form of their bodies, but I think this way is far more successful.
Type Should Move | click here to visit page

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