Explorations in Design

Art 366
Explorations in Design
Spring 2019

VAC 115
Section 001
M/W 2–550pm

Jake Dugard

Office No. B17
OH: M/W/F: 8–11:20am
or by appointment


The new weights of Helvetica are coming along nicely. Looking at the range of them as a group, they all have a heavy bit of texture. I love seeing how the different processes are leading to different results. Again, make sure you are documenting each stage for your Process Book. Also, because we have complex steps to making this work, it’s good to document for future use. Like I said in class today, the hope is that this form of making will lead to more interesting and unique results in work outside of the class.
Stay tuned for information on the printing of the posters. I will let you all know pricing as soon as I find out.

Although the initial ideas were interesting, I think the research and presentations could use more work. Thank you to those who tested your ideas and had visuals. How you present an idea is as important as the idea itself.
For future classes, we will do a show & tell at the beginning and end of each class period. This will allow us to see what work has happened between classes and to see the work that happened during the class period. This will be informal but will act as a way to check-in and see the progress that each of us is making.
Also, make sure you are keeping process screenshots and photos for your process book. As part of doing this project with y’all, I will continue to build out what I’m tentatively calling Graffitica. I plan on doing a distorted and non-distorted version.

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— Presentations
— Gather materials and work session
— Homework: continue to work on Project 01


I hope y’all are excited despite the smaller class setting. I think this will just give us more flexibility with what we make, how we make, and how the class functions in general.
Wasting no time, we started our first project New Helvetica Neue where using both analog and digital methods, we will create our own weights of Helvetica Neue. After creating at least one version of A–Z (or a–z or some combination of), we will create a specimen poster.

As a rudimentary demonstration, I used spray paint and an ink brayer. For the spray paint one, I printed out a large A. I then used an x-acto to cut out the stencil making sure to leave a piece so the counter wouldn’t completely fall out. I then spray painted the letterform onto paper experimenting with pressure and distance to create an uneven texture. After drying, I used the scanner (at 600 dpi) and brought that into Photoshop. I then adjusted the levels and used the threshold feature to make it pure black and pure white. I then made it into a bitmap and saved it out as a TIFF. (You can place TIFF’s in Illustrator and InDesign and be able to change the color.)

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For the brayer, the process is similar. I printed out an A. Put a sheet of white paper on top so I could see the outline of the letterform underneath. I inked up the brayer and rolled the left half of the letterform playing with texture, direction, and ink coverage. I then folded the paper in half to form the right side of the paper. The process then follows the one above where I scanned, adjusted in Photoshop and outputted as a TIFF.

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In starting to generate ideas, explore, explore, explore (😑it’s in the name of the class). Is there something meaningful to you that you can inject into this project? Is there a material you love or hate? Bring it. How can you make marks? What’s a mark-making tool that you would never think to use? Is there a material that has a cool texture that could be incorporated? Have fun.

— Syllabus and course introduction
— Assign Project 01: New Helvetica Neue
Homework: gather supplies and make presentation of 3+ ideas for next class