Since the time of Gutenberg around 1450, hundreds of years have been spent developing impeccably proportioned, beautiful typefaces and print technologies to support the perfection of printed materials.Today, most graphic design practitioners work with computers exclusively to create type. As a result, most typefaces have similar formal characteristics derived from the committed use of digital technology, specifically vector and
digital pixels. However, type designers have begun to evolve the creative process, shifting the emphasis from the digital to the physical with a focus on experimentation and message communication through the aesthetics
of the typeface.Today’s young graphic designers have overturned established rules about type, attempting to turn letters into images and explore typefaces in increasingly experimental ways. Simply put, designers began exploring type design as a vehicle for personal expression and communication. In response, my research explores methods of creating hand made letterforms with materials unique to typeface design, as opposed to the more standard Bézier curves.
More specifically, this research investigates unconventional typographic design through the use of ceramic forms to create a system of letterforms. This investigation is a three-step process: modularizing, systematizing, and organizing. I call this organizational process “manual pixeling” and define it as the process of creating a letterform through manually arranging modules within a designed system.This work is professionally significant not only because it encourages the exploration of conceptual, technical, and fundamental aspects of form through typography and ceramic techniques (scale, volume, structure, mass, and space), but it also encourages graphic and type design professionals to work less digitally and more with their hands.
If type designers had previously built letterforms using various found materials, they had performed this process in a way that mainly focused on simply rearranging objects in a more beautiful manner. Although using clay or ceramic material has historically been less popular by graphic designers in the creation of letterforms — most likely due to an unfamiliarity with these mediums — clay and ceramic materials provide opportunity for shape, color, and size variance in the systemized module creation process.