All images © Jessamine Payne 2017-2019

Power to the Typographer

In September of this year I joined the MA Graphic Design and Typography programme at Anglia Ruskin University. I wrote in an earlier essay about starting this journey and now I feel like I'm well on my way. My first module is Typographic Enquiry and is taught by David Jury. I can't tell you how much I'm enjoying his lectures - David clearly knows his stuff (he's a bit of a typographic legend) and he ensures he spends time with each of us working on our individual projects.

Our first project was a fun introduction to the subject. We were asked to design a protest placard. David asked us to think about 'what it is about typography that most concerns, fascinates, or inspires us'. The idea being that our group would develop posters for an exhibition that would demonstrate the issues, ideas and concerns of typographers in the 21st century.

We had two weeks to complete this project. It meant the research stage would be limited so I spent a few hours looking at protest history. I was particularly interested in graphics that were typographic heavy and then tried to work out what made them stand out. Here are the protest placards that caught my eye:

Historical Political Posters and Art

Current Political Messages and Placards

The next step was to work out what my protest would be about. I had a few ideas floating around but the two that I kept going back to were STOP the STINK & RECYLE your INK and HELVETICA HELL. The first having an environmental message to the typography industry, and in particular to printers with the second protesting the overuse of the typeface Helvetica.

Ideas for two Protest Placards

The designs I had in mind for these were very different. The environmental placard inspiration came from the handmade look of some of the more recent popular protest posters. The Helvetica placard would have a more graphic and bold typographic approach which is in the end what I chose to progress.

I wanted the final poster to be striking graphically and the message instant so I chose to use black type with 'HELL' in Red. I also decided to have no border on the words so they align right to the edge of the poster.

The Final Design - Helvetica Hell