Drawing Writing…

…Or, more scientifically: Typography.
So far this year I’ve done quite a bit. It can be quite a juggling act,
balancing legibility with what you wish to communicate. The Diana Wynne
Jones lettering was particularly difficult; famed largely for her children’s
books, this needed to have a more adult edge as it was for a collection of
essays and anecdotes.
The trick was to say something about about Diana’s work to a casual viewer,
without appearing too fantastical. I suppose there are three main elements
(I’m about to indulge in some serious semiology so skip to the end if it’s
too much): the handwritten approach suggests craft, the mixing of upper and
lower case has a hint of anarchy, and there is a whiff of ancient cultures
in some of the letter forms (the ‘a’ particularly).
Hopefully all this information is passed on to the reader without it being
too obvious or laboured. Is it? Sometimes you look at something for so long
it becomes a completely abstract collection of marks…
For the other two examples, I could afford to be a little less subtle. The
Pirates lettering ended up being gold in order to stand out from the
background. Originally it was made to look like it was constructed out of a
treasure chest (rough attached), which I preferred, but sometimes you have
to abandon nice ideas for the good of the whole cover.

Also this week, an interview I did for Lightspeed magazine, which you can
read here:



3 Replies to “Drawing Writing…”

  1. I like the feel of the Diana Wynne Jones typography. Just curious why you decides to change the last "A" to a capital when it was more logical to use the other "a" again. Same goes for the "N" in places where there shouldn’t have been one. Still I do like the way it looks though. As for the "Pirates" I prefer the wooden version, the gold one has too much of a Photoshop effect for me. But again the gold one one looks nice as well when the background has been added

  2. I used the upper and lower case forms to introduce a bit of anarchy, which I often find in Diana’s books. Maybe ‘anarchy’ is a bit strong; more ‘gentle chaos’… It also helped the overall balance of the typography – the way it sat together as a pure design. I like the wooden Pirates best too, but sometimes you have to sacrifice something for the overall effect.

  3. About the anarchy, I read in your post, but you could’ve f.i. mirrored the characters. Not sure if it would be nice. But I agree about the overall balance. And I’d use "gentle" or "friendly" as well. At least it gives me that feeling.

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