Type Battle! Week 6 (21 Feb) Extended to Friday, March 3

Zara Evens's picture

TYPE BATTLE: Week 6 (21 Feb) Extended to Friday, March 3

Here’s your chance to stretch your type muscles on a weekly basis. Each game kicks off on Monday with a new challenge, and closes at midnight PST on Friday. Anyone may submit a design response to the challenge. You may enter as often as you wish. Post anytime. Critiques and comments are welcome throughout the game, from participants and spectators alike. Smack talk is encouraged.

Winner take all, no holds barred. May be the best designer win.

Link directly to this thread: http://www.typophile.com/battle06


- Size: 600 width x 400 height. 72 dpi
- Color: Black and white only
- Format: Please save your graphics as PNG
- Only respond with the characters posted in the challenge.

Using a photograph of found type as your reference, design at least 7 characters and set them in context.(If you use a photo from an external source, please cite accordingly)

Please post both the photo and your design.

Geoff Riding's picture

Great, I'll walk home from work tomorrow instead to see if I can take a a few snaps of old signage. :)

dave bailey's picture

So I'm assuming this has to be hand drawn type that we find, yes?

Zara Evens's picture

No, not necessarily. Just found typography in and around your world… or other's worlds. :)

Maybe there is some old marquee letters that have a lot of character, or aged metal lettering on the front of an old building, or it can be cut into stone. It is completely open. But if you wanted to use your local grocer's hand-painted sale signs, I think that could make for a very interesting project!

A very good example of this would be the TypeCon 2005 logo designed last year (it was on the t-shirts). This was modeled after a parking sign in New York.

Zara Evens's picture

Where is everyone? Is this battle too intimidating for ya'll?

paul d hunt's picture

haven't had a chance to go out and find some type yet.

engelhardt's picture

For those who don't have time to snap a photo of found type, would it be acceptable to use the oneletter and onenumber Flickr groups as inspiration? Appropriate credit given to the photographer, of course!

timd's picture

What happened to the found type gallery from the previous incarnation of typophile?

Zara Evens's picture

would it be acceptable to use the oneletter and onenumber Flickr groups as inspiration

Sure, but please cite your resources.

duncan's picture

I wouldn't say intimidating, but this one will definitely require a little more time and effort than the other challenges thus far. Personally, I am looking forward to having a good reason to get out and explore.


Christian Robertson's picture

First post! :)

Christian Robertson's picture

Just for fun:

Geoff Riding's picture

I've had a long day, please forgive me for not picking something more challenging. :)

Photo: Hand lettered sign, I'm unsure how old it is. Many of the other type in the area were done in the early 1900s.

My entry: I'm no type designer!

What a shame.

timd's picture

Okay so it was night and too cold to go further afield so this out of focus shot is my garden railing.

jazzsammich's picture

You people are all CRAZY. ^_^

Brilliant work!

--Jim K.

(Yeah, my trash-talking abilities are pretty lacking. So what?)

Christian Robertson's picture

It looks like this was a tough one. I guess the leaving the desk part threw some people off?

nickplant's picture

Thank you Zara this is such a fine idea.

"I guess the leaving the desk part threw some people off?" Surely any typophile should gave a vast and obsessive collection of photographs already.

Zara Evens's picture

Nick, that is great! And please, don't thank me, I am not responsible for thinking this one up.

I think people might be feeling too restricted by this one, but really there are no more restrictions than in previous battles. That or the additonal effort of taking/finding a photograph (but isn't that part of the fun?). I've removed a few words from the rules in hopes more people will join.

stw's picture

You have a nice garden railing Tim. And the letters you made out of this are very stylish and exquisite. Did you make them for the battle or have you done them before!?

timd's picture

Steven, no that was Thursday lunch hour, hence the choice of more modular characters, just a bit of fun :)

Zara Evens's picture

Simple & quick, not a lot of time spent here. But it is something!

Mark Simonson's picture

I had a little trouble choosing something for this challenge because it's one of the ways I use to get font ideas. The ones that are most interesting to me I want to save for later. On the other hand, there are some that I will probably never get around to doing anything with. So...

Here is a photo I took in 1975 of some naïve but interesting letters:

And here is an alphabet based on the letters on the sign:

I've had in the back of my mind to turn this into a font for a long time, but have never done anything with it until now. Might be interesting.

Tim-- Nice fence letters.

alya's picture

mmmmm.... i was wondering about the use of arabic by people who don't read arabic. i am sure that we can all deal with letters as visuals and create (not always) few rules to impose. But Nick, i cant read what you designed.
I was at one friday conference yesterday and i have noticed that arabic letters and words are used by designers to inject an "exotic" mood into their designs. Sometimes when a political message is communicated arabic is used (bad arabic typography, like in the case of Barnbrook) some other times, very trendy now, to inject a bit of Kitsch!
nice entries. wish i have the time :/ , will be in the next one.

timd's picture

Thanks for the kind words they might have to go into the sketchbook of projects to develop (already thick with things I should look at again). Tricky challenge given the timescale but worthwhile for all I think.

pica pusher's picture

Fricking incredible. Wish I'd had spare time this week.

The real obstacle in this challenge is that it requires a digital camera (and thus actual $...)

Mark Simonson's picture

Hey, I didn't use a digital camera--it was 1975 after all.

If you really want to do it, get one of those "disposable" cameras for $5 and you're set, or find something online (not against the rules, as long as you include a cite).

I do agree that this week's challenge was a bigger assignment than usual.

Christian Robertson's picture

It's interesting to see how everyone is interpreting this stuff. What does everyone think about extending this one into next week? I wouldn't mind having another go at it, and from what people are telling me, it sounds like a lot of people what to jump in, but need some more time. What does everyone think?

I had a harder time with this one than I thought. I had some troubles taking the warm living stone letters into cold bezier curves. At first I tried to follow the original characters more literally. In particular, I love the wacky variation in stem width. When I aped the same variations in splines, though, it just looked like a bad free font. What looks like character and warmth in stone, just looked tacky when digitized. So I evened out the characters, which I think is working out pretty well in its own right, but it has a totally different soul from the original.

I think Mark's entry suffers from the same issue. So much of the flavor in that incredible lettering comes in the texture and subtle imperfections. I think they get a little lost in the transition to splines. That being said, sometimes I get stuck designing for the specimen, and not thinking about how designers might use the characters. I think Mark's alphabet could work really well once it is placed back into a context by a designer.

Dan, if you don't have access to a camera, try flickr. Found type is found type, right? Just cite your source.

Mark Simonson's picture

Christian, what you're saying about found type is very true. And I agree with your assessment of my attempt. I think I could do better if I spent more time on it, but it may not be possible to really capture the spirit of the original in any case, as you point out.

When you think about it, type--even digital type--, as a medium, is severely restricted in terms of visual expression. It's just black and white and there are limits on complexity. (This is why I like doing lettering--there are fewer restrictions.) Once you have a font, you can go further, using color, texture, and context to make something visually rich and unique, but a font by itself is limited (not that this is necessarily bad, it just is).

In any case, it all comes down to interpretation when drawing from any source material--even your own sketches. I remember seeing a piece written by Oswald Cooper (reprinted in U&lc. I think) about the endless ways the same historical typographic source material might be interpreted by a type designer. It will be different for every designer, and each designer may have multiple interpretations.

javi2307's picture

Hi all, completely misread the brief and since I was late anyway I though I may as well just post this. Would love the opportunity to do it right next week if we could extend this challenge. Not sure if this would count really as I'm just picking at an existing typeface...no guesses needed on which one...

I love these challenges, they are great. This is my first posting ever...even if a bit of a dogs dinner.

I pulled these out from an image of one of my photoshoots from vialetter

PS: If my images do not appear its cos I don't know how to link them properly and would appreciate someone telling me for next time :)

javi2307's picture

Thanks Paul. Just installed it>>

A bit of a strong word I know, but one that I felt was quite apt. considering what I did with these shapes!

colombopablo's picture

Hey All :-). This is Based on an ice-cream shop in Maine, USA

John Hudson's picture

Alia, I think what Nick was trying to do was to create Latin letters using the (not very nice) Arabic lettering as inspiration. I read his result as 'mnopqwx'.

dtw's picture

Okay, I know this is prety lame, but I've got to say I've had a go!
(Trusting me with a camera though - digital or otherwise - is like trusting Dick Cheney with a gun... or John Prescott with a sentence)

Ever since I chose to block pop-ups, my toaster's stopped working.

editor's picture

That's a really cool coulple of effects Javi. What font did you use?

dezcom's picture

Maybe what Christian is saying gets at the difference between type design and lettering. In lettering, the entire piece is the end use. In type design, we are only making tools for some designer or typographer to create the end use. Bezier letters for a font can be cold, but when put in context and tweaked, colored, and fussed with, they become an end product. All the "found type" was end product and therefore had character.


javi2307's picture

Hi editor, its Helvetica Neue 75. No effects here ...its all real letters from my website then inverted and picked out interesting shapes.

fractal's picture

Yes - please let us extend this one!

It did start a bit late anyway did it not?


Christian Robertson's picture

This battle has been extended to Friday the third. Let's battle. What's that? Are you crying? No, I think I see a tear. Oh, your momma says you gotta be home for dinner, huh?

kosal's picture

grabbed from a UN page

Needs a lot of work, but i need to sleep. thanks for keeping me up late dammit...

javi2307's picture

....now how can I top THAT I think to myself....mmmm

Zara Evens's picture

Christian = Battle Master

pica pusher's picture

Battle = Me Master

so ashamed...

javi2307's picture

Wherever I go I can't seem to find any 'found type' worth working on .... :(
I will continue... I may get lucky!

Randy's picture

Photographed in Martinique:

Exacto Version:

Sprayed Version:

Randy's picture

(above) Suffering from what Christian and Mark have mentioned

Christian Robertson's picture

Randy that's cool. It's amazing what the texture adds.

Joe Pemberton's picture

Randy, FWIW, I'm liking yours the best, so far.

Randy's picture

Thanks guys. Here is another quicky exacto version. It embraces the new medium more than the literal exacto version above. Note to self: naive spray stencils loose their charm when not sprayed.

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