|Type of Research:||Book|
|Creators:||Baines, Phil and Dixon, Catherine|
'Signs: Lettering in the Environment' is the first serious attempt for 20 years to both document and look at the issues surrounding lettering in public places. It takes forward the ideas of Nicolete Gray, Alan Bartram, Jock Kinneir and James Mosley who all published seminal books or articles in this field. Changes in printing technology allow our book the advantages of appearing in full colour throughout and being more copiously illustrated.
At a time when formal teaching about lettering is minimal, Signs makes a significant contribution to an ongoing understanding of the discipline. Further the book demonstrates, through critical evaluation of material shown, the pragmatic benefits of such understanding with content sampled to explain how and why lettering projects are successful or not. Part historical narrative and part contemporary record, the book identifies, documents and discusses the variety of lettering found in public places.
Material is thematically grouped and contextually explored within two main sections focussing, in turn, on the functions of ‘signing’ and ‘naming’, each section introduced by an essay. I drafted the ‘Signing’ essay, parts of which were based on previously published research. However, all draft texts were subsequently and extensively overwritten by each of us. Text and image are closely related in a design by us, which purposefully retains the format of the original images.
Key to the book’s genesis have been our individual photographic collections which first dovetailed in the mid 90s (>500 of the book’s 586 images are ours). Collaborative presentations, teaching, articles for the design press and a website. Additional photography then undertaken specifically for Signs and subsequently has allowed us to refine existing methods and develop a model for rigour in recording for use by others.
|Additional Information (Publicly available):||
My design practice includes high profile, one-off commissions; general graphic design for arts organisations; and type design. Underlying themes include an interest in history & experimentation, and in the relationship between form & content.
History & experimentation are most obvious in the award-winning Great Ideas cover designs for Penguin Books. Two series of these have been published (2004 & 2005) with a third is being prepared.
Ideas about form and content inform my approach to book and publication design and vary according to the requirements of a particular client. For some, my hand is almost invisible and the design arises out of careful collaborative discussions between myself, the gallery, and the artist or curator as appropriate; on other occasions, a more subjective approach is taken. Current work includes a books by Richard Layzell (for ResCen); about Alan Aldridge (for Thames & Hudson); and about Alison Turnbull's installation Vinus vitera L. at One Vine Street (for Matt's Gallery).
A commission by Neville Brody for his Fuse project in 1991 led me into type design, and that first font gained considerable notoriety, and subsequent wider exposure as a 'Fuse Classic' when released by Fontshop International. In 2003 Linotype released Vere Dignum. Other fonts are in various stages of production or feature in my own design.
My 'research' interests are of two main kinds. One strand is closely related to my practice and includes aspects of graphic design history. Penguin by design has become central to this research into different aspects of the company's design continues.
The other strand is an on-going photographic documentation of aspects of public lettering and signing. Much of this is a collaboration with Catherine Dixon and has resulted in articles, a book, website and many presentations. Current work includes documentation of the King's Cross railway lands.
Recent research continues to focus upon the typeform description activities which directed my doctoral work. My PhD - A description framework for typeforms; an applied study - was a pragmatic response to an identified need for a new approach to typeform description, a case argued in Eye no. 18. A main research outcome is a new model for typeform description which challenges previous assumptions in the field. Enquiry also came to explore an appropriate methodology for such research located within my ongoing studio-practice as a designer.
Implementation of the typeform description framework within new environments is a particular research interest: see the description of Times Classic in Eye no. 40 and the publications Type & typography by Phil Baines & Andrew Haslam (Laurence King 2002 in UK, US, German and Spanish editions).
For the purposes of further refining description activities, I continue to pursue earlier research interests in the broadening of existing type and letterform histories, with vernacular traditions providing a particular focus for exploration. Material which has informed articles for Druk, Point, TypoGraphic and publiclettering.org.uk has now been expanded in a book Signs, lettering in the environment, co-authored with Phil Baines (Laurence King, August 2003). Illustrations draw extensively from our ongoing visual documentation of this field. Lisbon is soon to feature in this process of documentation, with a collaborative project currently at planning stage. Experience gained from these various projects is also informing my current involvement in the development of a website intended to enhance accessibility to the public lettering content of the Central Lettering Record, a predominantly photographic archive which forms part of the colleges Museum & Study Collection.
|Your affiliations with UAL:||Colleges > Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design|
|Date Deposited:||07 Dec 2009 09:21|
|Last Modified:||26 Sep 2011 12:46|
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