METATYPE

Visual Language Research

Type × Graphic × Object

Illustration Research Methods: How to reveal symbiosis between different illustration practices?

2021, Editorial design, type design—‘Illustration Research Methods’ is a book juxtaposing diverse illustration practices. It demonstrates what a creation of original and meaningful outcomes nourishes. That leads to a theoretical and practical framework as a foundation to strengthen Illustration as discipline. An editorial design including two fonts has been developed incorporating the book content – finding mark meaning through applying research and methodologies.

Client: Bloomsbury Publishing Plc, London Editors: Rachel Gannon, Mireille Fauchon Cover, editorial, type design, image editing: Angelo Stitz

METATYPE

Visual Language Research

Type × Graphic × Object


Illustration Research Methods: How to reveal symbiosis between different illustration practices?


1. Editorial design concept

2. Final book showcase

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Final book ‘Illustration Research Methods’.

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1. Editorial design concept

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As the book is about illustration it was clear to find a solution that does not emphasis a specific illustration style or artist. Therefore, a typographic solution for the cover and editorial design was preferred that underlines the content. A framework that consists of definitions, methods and illumination of artistic practices to re-inform and strengthen the discipline of illustration.

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Concept development

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Finding an own interpretation of the book title.

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Counting the amount of characters of each word to find structural similarities.

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Further sketch.

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Further sketch.

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Further sketch illustrating the research process of finding and combining letters.

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Further sketch playing with different positioning.

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Further sketch playing with different transformations.

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Sketch that introduces to a ‘reading as a maze’.

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Sketch where stroke segments of letters has been decomposed.

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Further sketch looking for another way of decomposition.

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Final sketch giving an idea for a custom font.

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Above the initial sketch using connections of letters to illustrate the book title. The term ‘Illustration’ can be broken down to an individual mark, a dot, a line, a fragment that can become something meaningful through further work – a sign that can be read and be interpreted. ‘Research’ is the process of it. ‘Methods’ are systematic ways to achieve and evaluate meaningful outcomes.  

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Type design

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To push the reader of the book into a roll of an ‘illustrator’ in terms of participating in its ‘mark meaning process’ two custom fonts were developed.

In the first custom font, each letter consists of its deconstructed stroke fragments. Those overlap when more as one line of text is set. Therefore, a letter ‘interacts’ with its stroke fragments of its previous and following line, creating new shapes. Unexpected characters occur that partially can be read. Through this the reading direction is extended to be read not only horizontally but also vertically. A metaphor to describe the non-linear artistic process of an illustrator to find meaning through mark making. This expresses the cover and the entry chapter pages on which this font was used.

Here you can type in your own words creating new characters between lines.
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The second font follows the idea of making connections literally. Letters with a descender as g, j, p, q, y and Q has been melted directly with their corresponding underline. This font style has been applied to the keywords and sub headlines through the whole book content.

Here you can type in your own words creating characters by being merged with its underline.
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Layout

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The concept of ‘translating practices’ has been applied to the layout by mixing horizontal and vertical reading directions. This challenges the reading habit as it can be seen eg in the table of contents (fig 15) where the main book content goes over a whole page width accompanied by description texts in two smaller columns (fig 24). Depending on text length and its remaining whitespace it creates a vivid page layout. A flexible and dynamic page composition that also emphasises differences of each project.

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2. Final book showcase

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Book cover with spot-ink.

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Stitching and Otabind with hot-glued sections improves the book to lie flat on a table when being opened.

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Table of contents.

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Vertical ligatures corresponding to the concept. An ‘I’ following a ‘T’ is aligned differently than an ‘I’ following a ‘H’ eg.

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Vertical reading direction was also adapted to page numbers.

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Vertical running text as seen in the table of contents provides navigation.

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Main content of the book is set in one column to appear ‘calm’ and ‘stable’.

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Keywords elucidating its main content are set close to spine.

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A custom font was developed allowing interconnection by using its underline.

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Detail of custom underlines.

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Further example showing the custom underline font.

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Detail of floating book content and project description.

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The main content is accompanied by two column description texts about illustrators projects.

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Further project image.

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Dead and living column titles and additional captioning give orientation.

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Further project image.

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Small teaser images give an impression of the following full size images avoiding flipping a page.

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Close up of teaser images.

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Project description text and images.

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Project description text and images.

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Project description text and images.

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Sub headings are floating incorporating the concept of being ‘translated’ between paragraphs.

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A chapter page.

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Detail of a chapter page.

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Project description text and images.

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Project images.

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Project description text and images.

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Project description text and images.

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Appendix.

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General index.

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Index of keywords.

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Detail of the index of keywords.

    Contact

    METATYPE

    Visual Language Research

    Type × Graphic × Object


    Müggelseedamm 243
    12587 Berlin
    Germany

    VAT number: DE281462635

    Angelo Stitz
    Visual Language Research
    MA Visual Communication

    +49 (0)152 21 46 01 31
    info @ metatype . de

    Working hours:
    Monday to Friday 10.30
    to 6.30pm (CET)

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    Imprint

    © 2010— All rights reserved

    Responsible for contents: Angelo Stitz

    Hand coded with love.


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