Just a few off-cuts here from a current project. I’m doing hand-lettering for a feature article in an upcoming issue of Letter Arts Review.
One of the perverse choices I’ve made with LAR is to set the whole magazine in a single typeface at a single size. That applies even to the headings. I allow myself to set the type in different colors (usually just black and red), and use romans, italics, and small caps. These variations express the hierarchies of heading/text/caption. I also have to compose the page carefully to reinforce those hierarchies.
The one place where I break my rule is in the headlines for feature articles. I have often set these in other typefaces at large sizes. But I’ve always felt the headlines worked best when they were custom-lettered, either mechanically with the computer, or by hand.
Considering this recently, I decided to make a new rule: every feature article will have a custom-made heading; I’m swearing off using any existing typeface other than our house style, Dolly.
This means, of course, that I have three choices: I can ask the author of the article to render the heading (which many writers, being lettering artists themselves, will probably be happy to do); I can commission the heading (problematic with a small budget); or I can do it myself.
These off-cuts are from one of the latter. The lettering will be composed with a photograph of the Blue Ridge Mountains; the article, by Laurie Doctor, is about a workshop she gave at Cheerio in North Carolina.
I started with a Japanese fountain-pen style brush. My first experiments were a little too controlled:
As I worked, I got looser; I wanted the rough, brushy quality to show, and be less tight. A string of letter a‘s:
The version below is loose and playful (this is just the first part of the headline). I feel I’m channeling Joan Miró—