Type Specimen Poster Research


We have been set a project to design an A3 type specimen poster in the adobe program InDesign. A type specimen is a typographic poster that displays a type face in its complete form. The type face I’ve been chosen to do is Rockwell and in this type specimen poster i have to present it in its truest form by including, letter forms, ligatures, numbers, glyph and punctuation marks.

There are many requirements for this type face set in the brief like it has to be A3 either landscape or portrait, it has to contain three paragraphs of text. The first paragraph must provide the readers with historical insight into Rockwell, the second paragraph must include information about the type face like classification, why it was designed and so on. The third paragraph needs to discuss the context of the type face, so where it is used and how.

This type specimen will challenge us and bring everything we’ve learn over the last few weeks on to one A3 page. i will need to make sure that leading , kerning, tracking etc are all perfect and make sure the poster will be innovative and in an exciting manner.


Before going ahead with this project, i needed to research into Rockwell to find some information i can use to fill the three paragraphs required in the type specimen poster.

Paragraph 1 research


~ Frank Hinman Pierpoint

~ Monotype drawing office

An updated drawing of 1910’s Litho Antique produced by the Inland type foundry in 1910.Rockwell was released in 1934 for the Monotype Foundry. It sits slightly more condensed (more slender in individual letter width) and taller in the lowercase letters (called x-height) than its predecessor but it did inherit Litho Antique’s even stroke weight and perfectly squared serifs.

Its great success appears to have been partly due to a right place at the right time situation as the Godfather of geometric typefaces, Paul Renner’s Futura, was released just a few years prior in 1927 and shortly after took its place as one of the most widely used geometric sans-serif typefaces. From here Rockwell took an alternate path than its Slab Serif grandfather Clarendon. Rockwell became a mainstay in the next few decades with its wide use in the era of Modernism and was often associated with the architecture and design of the Modernist movement.


Image result for rockwell typeParagraph 2 research 

Rockwell is a Geometric Slab Serif typeface.  It is constructed almost entirely of straight lines, circles and sharp angles. It’s tall x-height and even stroke width helps to provide its strong presence with a somewhat blocky feel. It is in part due to this blocky nature Rockwell tends to me most effective when used as a headline font rather than used in body copy. While many contemporary versions have addressed this shortcoming, the original Rockwell still does not read well when used as a body font.


Rockwell Characteristics


Paragrap 3 research

RockwImage result for malibu logoell lives in many lives and can thrive in many climates. Malibu Rum uses it and it feels beachy and relaxed. Marshall amplifiers use it to transport you to rocking-out at a concert. Rockwell is usually the coolest person at the party. It is strong and laid back, gets along with everyone and thrives in almost every situation it is placed in.

Today, Rockwell and its contemporaries continue to see wide use but in-spite of their age, do not yet to evoke the deeper feelings of nostalgia often associated with the Clarendon style Slab Serifs. We see them widely used in surf and skate culture, home decor and cooking but most prominently in our contemporary web culture.

Image result for converse logos

Converse use the Rockwell type face because it bring an old school style on the logo.




Looking at other Type specimens



This A3 poster stands out because of the colours used, the light blue with the brightness of yellow captures the eyes. The black text is very useful creating some interest to read the poster. The poster includes plenty of info with spaces to spare. On the left we see a flush right style and on the right side of the poster we get a flush left paragraphs, which suits the poster well to split the information up into separate headings. My favourite thing about the poster is how the designer has used the black R on top of the page to give a back ground on the blue of the Rockwell and its designer. it gives a very modern style to the poster.





What catches the eye Image result for rockwell type specimen postersin this poster is the green colour shade around the headings, it stands out a lot on the dull white and black page.  There’s a lot more information in this poster than the other poster and also unlike the other poster the designer has focused on the layout and how he represents the typeface and its information, also he’s made sure he created the  poster in an innovative manner. My favourite bit of the poster is how the designer has lay the page out with the big headings splitting the information. Also i do like the big bold lettering with the bright green shadow which complements the layout.





Big bold but very simple poster. Unlike the other two poster this one hasn’t got many a lot of information but its very attractive to the eye with the big bold type and it does include some key information like who designed it, what classification and the alphabet in the Rockwell typeface. its not my favourite but i do like the big R and how it flows into the lowercase “Rockwell”.



Very exciting and thought out well by the designer with the Rockwell alphabet in the iconic Rockwell “r”.  It has everything from information in between the spacing of the “R” and the interesting eye catching boldness of the headings. I really like this poster because it some how suits the typeface like the “since 1930” really stands out bring the best of the Rockwell typeface which is known to be a type face for headings.



First reaction to this poster is retro because how its placed out on the page. The two R’s together facing opposite ways really show the innovative thinking of the designer trying to play with the letters and again the iconic R is the star of the page. The information is set out in order perfectly it brings out the poster to the audience. The use of space is very good like how the designer has centred the info and used half’s of the letters on the corners of the page.  It shows that the type can be a retro and from looking at the Rockwell typeface i this poster i can see how its been attracted to the skate and surf culture.

With all this research and looking at 5 type specimen posters I have many ideas in mind, however I will need to sketch and develop my ideas in order to produce an original , innovative poster which is different from others out there


6 word poster


Our brief was to design and create a six word poster which summaries a story of a novel written by Roahl Dahl. In my research I considered many of his stories but the novel I chose was Charlie and the Chocolate Factory because it was one of my favourite tales from  his collection and also it brings out the imagination that’s in us all.

To start the process I had to scrutinise the book and try to create a six word summary of the novel. This took a  lot of time and thought as I wanted the phrase to sound interesting so that it would attract people to the posterimg_52571

I came up with many six word descriptions like, ” A chocolate factory of pure imagination”, “ticket takes timid toddler to treasure” and “From good behaviour, comes fabulous gift”. But after a long time searching for suitable words in the dictionary and some feed back, I finally came to my 6 word summary; “Weak Whippersnapper Wins Willy Wonka’s Wealth”

After deciding it was time to design and  think about how to make the words stand out on the page by using hybography type.  My idea was to make it formal but with random hybography letters to show the random, crazy man that Willy Wonka’s character is.img_52581

When designing, many more ideas came to mind such as the idea that the “n” in whippersnapper will look like a mouth snapping down on to the “a” which gives an idea of snapping and also munching which goes well with the novel about a chocolate factory. Unlike my other six words, these words all start with “W” which brings a flowing alliteration to the poster. So to make the best of this I made sure that all the “W’s” are popping out of the poster.


This is the poster I created on illustrator showing my design ideas such as the snappin “n”, the “W’s” all bold and stand out. Also you can see the random hybography letters which gives the slight feeling that its gonna be a crazy adventure or the impression that not everything is what you think. I’m hoping it brings some uncertainty to the poster to illustrate the unpredictable developments in the novel.











Modular Typography

At the start of week two of the course, we started looking at modular typography, which is an alphabet constructed out of a limited number of shapes or modules that can be transformed by rotating, flipping and altering in other ways to create an entirely new alphabet.

There are many graphic designers who have come up with their own twist on an alphabet by using shapes or even surroundings. Joshua Ogden was an architect designer who  designed buildings based the surrounding buildings. He once created a modular typeface  using all the different buildings in the surrounding area of one of his buildings.


When he choose the buildings he drew the letters out in an alphabetic form and in the picture we can see the shapes of different buildings combined together to create a new alphabet. For some it will take a while to see the letters but that’s how modular typeface should be, creating an alphabet from imagination. This set a good team brief to create a modular typographic typeface of our own. The idea was that each group had different paper for example group one will have isometric paper, group 2 will have circular paper, another group will have graph paper and so on. Then everyone in the group would design a typeface of their own and then discuss in a group which team member’s typeface is the best. After the group decides we all chip in and design an alphabet out of that unique typeface.


My group and I agreed on this very exciting, modern and triangular typeface to take forward and create an alphabet. I was set the task by the original designer of the font to go ahead and design the “b”and the “d” which from these letters can be used to make the letters “p”, “q”, “g” and  “o”.  On the picture above you can see my thinking process from the pencil sketching showing some ideas to the point where the group and I agreed on a concept. This was a really creative workshop because it brought our design and imaginative ability. The team worked well together,  we all contributed in different ways and everyone’s input was valuable and got a place in the assignment to compose a successful modular typeface.






Friday 30th September, we started looking at Hybography which was a very interesting subject to learn about. The Hyb in Hybography means hybrid, this is defined as something being bred from two or more different races, species, breads or varieties. Our task on Friday was to create our own typographic hybrid print of an action word. The hybrid word had to have a combination of San serif and Serif words in the letters.


In the example picture we can see two different typefaces and some letters with Serif and San serifs. After much time spent designing and playing around with serifs and san serifs I came up with an ideal Hybography action word.


I decided to use “Brake” as my word because there are many ways of showing this action. My first thought when contemplating the word “brake” was the motion of braking in a vehicle or when on a bike. When braking the body moves forward, so the letter needs to imitate this and as seen in the picture I placed the letters of the word on a slant to show the motion of braking. Then I combined serif and San serif letters to improve the effect and also turned “brake” into a hybrid type. My thought process was to use lower case letters at the start of the word and upper case letters at the end of the word which gives the impression of a sudden halt. I also decided to have the “b”in a lower case serif which looks lighter than a san serif letter and have a big bold “E” in a San serif typeface which is more aggressive to imply the braking.  When I considered the word “brake” I imagined  the thinking time when braking in a car or on a bike which gave me the idea of using the hybrid letters in the letters “r”, “a” and “k” . I hope that the combination of the Serif and San Serif illustrates the confusion and the thinking time before jumping on the brake pedal.

Hybography really was an interesting and very quirky subject to use in our work as graphic designers. With the brief we have been set to create a six word story of any of Roald Dahl’s novels, we are asked to use hybography typeface to create the poster which will enhance our knowledge and development of using hybography in our work. This will be a great opportunity to amplify my  work on hybography because, even though I am satisfied with my brake action word, it doesn’t look professional and needs some work. But on the other hand it is a good starting point from which I can advance my hybography typeface to create an effective hybographic poster.







Wednesday morning I did some letter pressing in my Dalton Maag group. Letter pressing was the early way of printing on a big scale. Johannes Gutenberg 15th century to the 19th century publisher, blacksmith and printer created the letter press because he wanted to create an easier way of publishing books, because in this age every book was handwritten. The first book that was letter pressed by Gutenberg was the Gutenberg bible. Now it was our turn to make some letter pressing and we had to print a quote from Dalton Maag that describe what we think about Typography.

Dalton Maag is a graphic design company that do many things from logos to signs but they are more focused on designing new typefaces. They are well known around the world because their work is shown everywhere from websites to magazines. They are everywhere. I decided to use “Harmony of form” as a quote from them to use in my letter pressing because its short and sweet with plenty of meaning.

img_52071In this photo I have placed the lead letters together to spell my quote out. With letter printing the letter needs to be upside down to work which was confusing at first but I quickly got the hang of it. In the photo you can see the lead strips where the letters are placed, this is the baseline for my letterpress.

img_52091In this image I have placed the type into the chase and I am in the progress of weighing the type together using lead and wood strips. This keeps the letters together in a firm position for the pressing and equal weighing on top and under the letters. The two boxes at the top are called keys which when turned open up and apply pressure on the wood and lead to tighten the letters together. There are four of them two on top and two on the bottom of the chase to hold it tightly.


This picture just shows how much of the letters stand out of the chase. The lead and wood are closely the equal size so that they are not in the way of the printing. If one of the strips were bigger than the type, the ink would only cover the strips and when printing we would only get a line and no type. So it was important to ensure it was flat and the strips weren’t jeopardising my pressing.

This picture shows the printer on standby and ready to print my quote. As you can see the rollers are all inked up, my type is in the press ready and the paper is waiting for the ink. To work it, you push down the lever which moves the rollers  up to cover the type with ink and at the same time the paper tray closes on to the letters with force which implies the ink on to the paper. Its a magnificent piece of engineering to create this press because there are so many aspects which happen at the same time  by simply applying pressure when pushing the handle down.

As you can see I’ve gone a bit overboard with my pressing, it was so easy to do when it came to the point of putting the chase into the press. I did numerous prints to see how the letters came out on different papers and it was very successful. I really enjoyed doing this because I could see the type coming together and the mechanical side of it was completely up my street!  This session has helped me by giving me more ideas when coming to do projects and also gives me some encouragement to know that there’s always the old way of going about things and this method has worked for centuries.

Research on Roald Dahl


We have been set a brief to devise a six word story that encapsulates the essence of a Roald Dahl tale of our choice. But before I could embark on this brief some research was required on Roald Dahl and his novels.

Although I studied my subjects in Welsh throughout primary and secondary school I came across Roald Dahl novels on numerous occasions either by reading them in Welsh translated versions, English books or by watching films like James and the Giant Peach, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and The Enormous Crocodile. After a more thorough look into his life and novels I have discovered many interesting facts and information about this great author, such as his life growing up in Llandaff and the surprising  fact that the child catcher in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang was his creation when he wrote the script for the film of the novel which was written by Ian Fleming. I noted all the information I came across in my sketch book and read over them frequently in an attempt to devise a story of my own in 6 words.


After many hours looking through his iconic books and researching websites I decided to base my six word poster on Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory because, growing up, I read this book and watched the film with Gene Wilder playing  the character of  Willy Wonka. I feel this story means more to me personally than his other  works as it brought out my creative imagination as a young child and I loved  Wonka’s factory which was full of “pure imagination” which is something that  has got me to where I am today.













Induction to blog and first week at Graphic Communication

Welcome to my blog, on here I will be posting my journey studying Graphic Communication in Cardiff Metropolitan University. It will be reflective blog of my work at the university and also will hold my thoughts and ideas regarding design and communication in every day life.

It’s been a very successful first week of studying at the University, the course began by looking at Typography which has been an eye opening subject to study, learning about the different anatomy of typography.  I have enjoyed the practical side of the course, being placed in groups to go out into the city centre to research  different terminology of typography letter forms on street signage, market stalls, logos and billboards around the city. Following this we were set a task to gather evidence of a number of typographic terms by photographing the vernacular typography of Cardiff city centre.

Kelly’s records market stall in the city market was one of the places we got plenty of typography letter forms from the old classic and vintage records. As you can see there were plenty of records to look through!.


In the afternoon session back in the Graphic Communication studio, our group and others began selecting our favourite letter forms from the research we gathered that morning. After we found our favourite, we had to outline and cut out the letter from that letter form and combine all of the letters together with the other groups. After all the research and team work from all the groups were complete, we created this colourful and unique piece which explores the classifications and fundamentals of typography and it documents the different vernacular typography in the city centre of Cardiff. This project has made me realise that in our line of work, we can focus on  the most detailed aspects of a company or business and allow customers/audience recognise the business through the smallest features. Similarly this project resembles the city but not how people know it. It’s Cardiff in letter forms.


Friday we started looking at Hybography and in the following days I will be posting my work and research on the brief that has been set for us to do by Monday 10th of October. The brief is to come up with a six word story that encapsulates the essence of a Roald Dahl story of my choice. It has to be created on an A3  typographic poster using hybrid letter forms.