Designing a place-based type. An experiment in creative methods for typography.
In October 2017 and 2018 Serena Pollastri worked with Dr Francesca Valsecchi to organise two place-based calligraphy workshops for the students of the Typography module at the MA in Communication Design at Tongji University, College of Design and Innovation (Shanghai, PR China).
The aim of the workshops was to bridge the divide between calligraphy as a craft and typography as a digital design practice. We experimented with a creative method for designing a typeface inspired by place and developed through a series of calligraphic exercises.
During a walk in the Siping Road area (四平路街道)students observed recurring shapes, patterns, and textures found in plants, fences, pavement styles, shop arrangements, etc. We then used ink, water, markers and DIY brushes made from objects found on the street to explore how to translate the observations into individual strokes. Different strokes were combined to form characters. Collections of characters formed sample sheets for the typeface. At the end of the workshop we held a small exhibition of the results, and reflected on the design process.