F18 C1: Rockwell Typeface Study

Miranda Luong
Dec 16, 2018 · 4 min read
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3 — Typeface Spread

I started this project sketching out rough ideas of layout on paper soon transfer some of the more promising ones onto InDesign. Through research, I had discovered Rockwell was a font dominant in the modernist movement. Although it was a slab-serif, a style of type often considered of the past, its geometric features made it built for modern use. I wanted to accentuate its modernity, but not overshadow its classic roots. To do so, I decided to be playful with the placement of the title Rockwell and the body text.

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An iteration that focuses on unity/harmony to bridge both pages of the spread

Soon I realized that the typeface commanded an old-school authority all alone and it was in my best interest to highlight its geometric features in order to play up its modernity. I decided to break the word up into 2 letter chunks as it was easier for readers to see the letters and digest their individual features.

For our 11/29 crit, I decided to scale ‘Rockwell’ off the left page to place greater emphasis on the individual letters. With the help from my peers, I saw that while I hoped to utilize similarity/contrast in my spread, the dominance on the left page was overpowering. In addition, the two lines that cut across the page led the gaze away from the text but the ‘k’ in ‘Rockwell’ instead. In addition, although the spread’s high amount of white space did blend the two pages, it did not create a very strong nor dynamic relationship between pages. And so, I returned to a previous iteration’s use of black and white contrast.

While the overall effect was now a lot cleaner, a lot could be done with the symmetry and geometry of the placement of the letter chunks. A large issue was the width of the ‘ll’ chunk. Because it was so thin, the composition always felt imbalanced. Eventually, I thought to fill the negative space it produced with a tagline.

My next iterations focused on integrating the tagline into the composition and fixing the issue with the line that emphasized even character stroke width. Connecting the ‘k’ was now an issue since the bottom ‘l’ was no longer directly underneath like in the previous iterations. Mimi then asked me a question that nearly blew my mind: “If you’re trying to show even stroke width, do you need to connect the same kind of line across two characters?” And so, I realized I could focus this feature on the serif and body of the character ‘w’.

4 — Typeface Video

Song Selection: I wanted a song that emphasized Rockwell’s modern twist on a classic style. I tried to find music from the UK during the 1930s, during which Rockwell was created and music from the modernist movement, but everything was too pop or much too avant-garde. I eventually stumbled upon the perfect song while surfing on YouTube.

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Thumbnails of my storyboarding for the video

In this video, I hoped to highlight 3 attributes of Rockwell’s: simplicity, sentimentality, and strength. I used motion to highlight the transitional and dynamic nature of this font’s beginnings and beats of the music to signal its strength and simplicity.

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