Design Jam - Blokke Off!
A typeface inspired by Maboneng
Blokke Off is a 3D display typeface that comes in two forms, constructed which forms the full three dimensional typeface and deconstructed which separates the fill and shadow to create an offset effect as a unique graffiti stencil set. The typeface is inspired by the divide between gentrified, affluent Johannesburg and the poorer downtown areas that are slowly being encroached on by new areas like Maboneng. Bistros and art studios sit just a Blokke Off from low income housing and muggings. My experience visiting these areas downtown and seeing the vibrant street art being covered by adverts and painted over inspired this typeface. Blokke Off constructed is a typeface to help with advertising downtown where more often than not small businesses can only afford to paint on a wall near them. While deconstructed is a typeface that gives a voice to the displaced youth making art downtown.
3D typefaces are becoming more popular due to the rise in virtual reality and the increased use of screens in daily life. A 3D typeface gives the illusion of 3 dimensional space within 2 dimensional spaces like screens and adds depth to them. Lifting off the background and engaging with the viewer. This makes them great as display fonts for physical signage as well because they help to attract the attention of your audience by “sticking out” of walls and displays. 3 dimensional typefaces are fairly common in downtown Johannesburg for advertising, as I found through my photography in this project. Only they don’t have a rough almost hand rendered style or very strict geometric shapes. The typeface is designed to blend the strict geometry with smooth bevels to make an interesting and innovative new design for businesses and outdoor advertising in line with the unique style of graffiti in Joburg. While the constructed style is meant for advertising and 25-45 year olds; the deconstructed style is akin to graffiti and appeals to younger audiences between the ages of 18-35 who can create stencils out of the typeface or their posters and layouts with its unique offsets.