Last week, I was choosing between two typefaces I could use for my project. As I’ve mentioned in my previous post, I wasn’t really sure where I was going in terms of the visual aspect: if it would be handwritten or typewritten, what typeface would best cater to an audience deciphering the text, how big of a material I’d want to use, and so on. At the time I did my art pitch, the only idea I had was those of Instagram quotes like so:
A block of text floating in the middle of a white space; black and white; written in calligraphy.
Of course, there are still a lot of different typefaces to choose from. At least, I’ve narrowed it down to handwritten calligraphy. I planned on using my old Chinese calligraphy brush (note that this is totally different from the calligraphy pens or brushes that we see in art supply stores) to try to mimic such fonts.
As can be seen on the above image, the brushes I had at home were perfect for the job. They produced the exact results that I was hoping for, but I didn’t really fit right with me. The sample encoding of text on the bottom half doesn’t look eye-catching to me at all. I went ahead and asked my professor for a second opinion. Here’s the 3 points that he raised and my concerns regarding the matter/s:
- why retain the alphabet?
- ease of decoding for the audience
- less time consuming
- why use this font?
- It’s just a place-holder. I’m in the middle of testing out different typefaces.
- why use a Chinese calligraphy brush?
- truth be told, I was just trying to be “c r e a t i v e”…
I remember one of the comments on my art pitch blog post. It raised a concern regarding originality, or how I was supposed to own the work. It took me a few days, but that’s when I figured, why mimic the calligraphy style of other brushes when I can style the alphabet using Chinese brush strokes? In a way, I’m incorporating something that’s been a big part of my life – like, 6 out of the 19 years I’ve been alive.
It’s not that Chinese strokes don’t fit the alphabet, but it’s that I haven’t picked up a brush in almost 2 years now. (Because of that, my alphabet looks like it was written using a wannabe calligraphy brush.) It always had been an assignment to do, a requirement to pass for school, so I never really took the time to do Chinese calligraphy when I left my Chinese high school and entered college. Not that I didn’t like it. In fact, when I picked up the brush for this project, I was overcome with nostalgia of all those times na binababoy ko ung pagsulat because I was always doing it last minute. It’s just that I never really had the time to sit down and appreciate the craft.
I have to recall the proper way to write before I try anything.
Once I wrote down the Chinese alphabet (upper half of the image), I realized that I really did rush all of my works before. I never realized how nice my writing actually was. I was just, like, “ako ba talaga nagsulat nito?” and had to send pictures to my high school friends to confirm it. They said it was really good. My confidence level was raised HAHA. (Also, note that the 3 characters on the right aren’t part of the chinese alphabet. That’s just my Chinese name.)
Anyway, as you can see on the bottom half of the image, I tried to recreate the English alphabet using Chinese strokes. I don’t know if you can tell, but it looks a lot better than the one I did from the previous image. And by a lot, I mean A LOT.
Now, the feedback from people I asked varied. The Chinese people I knew commented more on the visual amiability of the letters – whether it was pleasing to the eye and such. The non-Chinese-speaking/writing people, on the other hand, commented on the recognizability (I don’t care if this isn’t a real word) of the letters. This raised the same subject of inquiry I mentioned earlier: will I stick to the English alphabet or do I create an entirely foreign alphabet for people to decode? Do the cons (that i mentioned earlier) outweigh the possible bonus effect this could have on my piece?
That’s a matter I can settle once I get the typeface checked off my list. Actually, that’s the next on my list: decoding. For now, I tried writing down short quotes the way the text is supposed to look in my final piece.
In my opinion, it looks pretty unique. Pretty and unique.
It’d be a lot better if I wasn’t just giving myself a pat on the back.
Can of Dices