Wisdom Script is the typefaces design for Woods of Wisdom, a 50 part poster series on bad advice.
Wisdom script is designed to be on a thirty degree incline to get perfectly vertical strokes.
Woods of Wisdom
In Graphic Design 4, our instructor Bob Aufuldish led us on a journey that began with choosing a book, extracting themes from the book, and executing a project involving 50 posters, 3 videos, and an extra third medium of our choosing.
The book I chose was An Illustrated Guide to Furniture and Cabinet Construction. Throughout that book there are helpful tips, providing insights to spare you trouble and improve the quality of your project. The best part about the tips is how short they were. Such digestible bits of literature that seriously help.
I was drawn to the idea of short bits of language that are easy to comprehend and help immensely, but of course there are a number of books that do exactly that already. So the idea came to do the opposite. If the advice was bad enough, people would get the joke, and enjoy the process of understanding the real message underneath, rather than feel like yet another opinion was being crammed down their throat.
My 50 posters became 50 blog posts where readers were encouraged to leave even worse advice than the poster shown. That way, hopefully, the advice would just get worse and worse until it was just absurdly bad.
The visuals of script, cut by hand out of balsa wood, on a stained background gave the project more meaning and heart. Personally I'm more inclined to be moved by something hand crafted and warm than something machined and sterile. I've always been interested in marquee lettering, and thought that a script variation would be an interesting challenge.
Getting people to at least smile was the low hanging fruit, but my favorite posters were the ones that really made people think. For instance "friendship is a competition" is obviously false, but everyone is guilty of being too competitive with friends. To look at yourself as the butt of a joke while you're laughing at it is a humbling, and surprisingly not a terrible experience. Growing up, my older brothers said a lot of terrible things at my expense, but sometimes they were funny, and a lot of times, they were true. Those experiences shaped my character, thickened my skin, and improved my sense of humor. This is what I want to bring to people. A sense of humility in an extremely light hearted way.
This is a typeface inspired by the sign for The Cup & Saucer, a coffee shop in Manhattan. In the fall of 2007, Tobias Frere-Jones led a typographic walking tour in New York City, and though I was not in attendance, I did see some photos of it two years later on flickr. I was struck by one sign in particular, and couldn't think of another typeface with such a combination of chutzpah and cojones.
I’ve always thought of laundromats as some of the saddest places in the world, but after spending a lot of time in them since moving to San Francisco four years ago, I’ve found they have two things going for them: 1) they smell great, and 2) there is the occasional bit of dope lettering.
Laundry is an incredibly tedious task—the antithesis of glamour, so I have massive appreciation for the guy that decided to letter the window with a script that captures all the essence of what a laundromat lacks. Excitement, passion, love. It’s all in that script.
How nice it is to create something beautiful, where boring, stagnant lettering would have easily sufficed! My latest typefaces Lavanderia is a celebration and a tribute to the enthusiasm that influences those who go above and beyond to create beauty where there is none.
Inspiration came for San Francisco’s Mission District, a vibrant and at times foul smelling part of town, rich with dive bars, taquerias, and unemployed twenty-somethings who look extremely creative but actually do very little. It’s a magical place.
The Mission is famous for it’s signage. Even after living in the city for years, I’m still finding amazing things I haven’t seen before, from charmingly amaturish painted letterforms, to expertly crafted gold leaf.
What I wanted to bring Lavanderia was the same energy, enthusiasm, and variety evident in all these works. I wanted to maintain close attention to detail, while letting the type get crazy at times. I wanted it to be useful in a lot of applications, and for many different moods. I turned to opentype to let the skeleton of the typefaces remain the same while playing with certain variables.
Titling alternates take the capitals way down to a size and shape designed to blend in more with the lowercase, rather than shout from the proverbial mountain tops.
Stylistic alternates provide simpler forms (no loops on top) for the lowercase b, h, f, l, and k. Simpler forms can work better in certain situations.
Contextual alternates on the e, k, r, a, and y provide elaborate finishes for a hand drawn feel.
In a similar fashion, swashes on the p, y, g, j, d, n, m, l, and t make a party out of descenders, ascenders, or crossbars. But don’t overdo it like I did here. See how nasty that looks?
I’ve enjoyed working on Lavanderia immensely, nonetheless I’m happy to be moving on to other type projects as this has been eating up a good amount of time! The fonts are not perfect, and if you spot any bugs, please let me know so we can update the files. It’s difficult to test fonts thoroughly. That is something I am working on. Please let me know (via twitter or email) if you use Lavanderia on anything, I’d be thrilled to see it!
Your relationship with work is largely determined by your past. Think back to every job you've ever had. Every hobby. Every time you were excited about something you had created. Everything points you somewhere.
By looking back at our relationship with work, we can make much more confident decisions about our future.
Music: Mahalo by Ratatat. Instructors: Dennis Crowe and Michael Vanderbyl
Most of this work is self-initiated, or for friends.
I live in San Francisco, and attend California College of the Arts. I will be graduating in the spring of 2013.
Letters aren't the most important thing, but they are certainly up there. Numbers are good too. Punctuation… just ok.
I enjoy playing music too, but I'm much better at this, so it gets more attention.
I have a wonderful family. Five brothers and two parents. All alive.
I have a number of heroes. In no particular order, they are:
- Johnathan Hoefler
- Tobias Frere-Jones
- Ken Barber
- Erik Marinovich
- Keetra Dean Dixon
- Doyald Young
- Aaron Draplin
- Stephen Powers
- Louise Fili
- Ed Templeton
- Jack White
- Tyler the Creator
- Jessica Hische
- Tony DeSpigna
- Steve Martin
- Alejandro Paul
- Richard Perez
- JK Keller
- Rod Cavazos
- Tim & Eric
- Chris Delorenzo
- Darren Booth
- Herb Lubalin
- Ed Benguiat
- Geoff McFetridge
- Conan O'Brien
- Rod Cavazos
- Pierre Bernard
- Michael Doret
- Bob Aufuldish
- Kevin Nealon
- Pendleton Ward
- Rivers Cuomo
- Jeff Tweedy
- Woody Guthrie
- Marian Bantjes
- Jennifer Daniel
- Dan Cassaro
- Bob Dylan
- Earl Sweatshirt
- Riley Cran