Revisiting old projects

Word – Type Specimen

Initial feedback I received from a tutor on my type specimen included widening the gutters between the columns of text, making the ampersand larger, and putting the information on the page in a bolder font. From improving on several of these comments, I also worked on formative feedback I had received at the end of my first term. This included developing the rag, small and quick fixes with regards to the leading in the elements at the bottom of the page, but also developing these elements further in terms of the layout. On the right hand side is the improved version based on both feedback I received from the tutor. What I think I could have improved on in this project is possibly exploring further with what more I could have done with the elements at the bottom of the page. I also think I could have saved a lot more space with exploring these elements by limiting the amount of words I used in the information included in the specimen. Overall, I was very happy with how I paid great attention to showing respect for the typeface Caslon Pro.

Narrative – Designboom Super Seven

Above is the piece of ephemera for the project I submitted for formative assessment. I received my formative feedback at the end of the term. Through the peer feedback I received from a fellow student, he heavily criticised me on the lack of consistency in the final design. I thought the pages fitted together fairly well considering how difficult it was to work with the lengthy interviews.

The formative feedback I received from my tutor was much more constructive and carefully thought through. The only things he thought I could have improved on were type detailing by fixing widows and orphans in some places, addition of quotes, and exploration of possible layout designs for the front and back cover to make them look more visually exciting.

Based on this feedback I received I came up with this new design:

For this new design I wanted to aim for a much more contemporary, sharp and smart design. I wanted everything to look more symmetrical. For the front and back cover I thought by sticking to just numbers and letters instead of including shapes, this would make the cover much more open. I thought more carefully about how to lay out the information on the page. I decided to end up using Helvetica throughout the entire design because of its sharpness.

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Changing Faces – Putting things together

My next step in the making of the editorial design for the ‘Changing Faces’ project was putting the content into an InDesign document. For now I will be working with the minimum dimensions specified in the brief, 315mm x 225mm. With these sizes it would make my layout designs in those dimensions more flexible, allowing me to experiment with other sizes. I first placed the illustration of the cherry blossom tree into InDesign on the first page of the document and worked towards working with a few sketches of layouts I had designed. This allowed me to look at what type settings and grid layouts I could use with the picture, and what would best suit the tone of the article. Below are the sketches of the layouts I designed.

For the headings I used the typeface ‘Bebas Neue’, which I found online. I liked using it because of its strength within the double page spread and informing the tone of the article. I used Helvetica in regular for the content of the article. By setting a theme for the first double page, the theme would need to remain throughout the other two double page spreads. In the final layout design you can see, I added a callout to the right page of a quote from President Trump, stating ‘I’m a very instinctual person, but my instinct turns out to be right.’ I liked this quote because of its short and bold tone, yet it reflected both his big ego and in what is some case to be true of him. I will now continue to experiment with using the sketches of layouts I have created and experimenting with the layouts I have taken inspiration from to create my own. This will help inform my ideas and help me come up with new designs as I delve further into making my designs work for the tone of the chosen article. I will also continue to experiment with my imagery and conceptual ideas to further investigate into possible layout designs, and experiment further with typography.


I printed out the final layout above and used it in a group tutorial so we could give feedback on each other’s work. I received many compliments on my illustration of the cherry tree, the use of negative space in the layout, and the use of colours of keywords in the quote on the right page. I received other useful feedback which included reducing the point size, exploring further with the dimensions of the page, looking at more layouts, and keeping the heading the main point of focus for the double page spread instead of keeping the attention of the callout.

I created a new document with the possibility of adding one or two more illustrations. Moving forward I looked back at my research of layout designs, focusing on what made them successful and what attracted my attention to them. The Creative Review was a key inspiration into the dimensions and the layout. I liked how negative space was used and how lines were put into the pages to separate columns, titles and pictures. Only did I realise when coming to designing interesting layouts for the square space, did I realise how difficult and constraining this was. By looking carefully into the design of the article pages in the Creative Review I began to grasp an idea. With the help of my illustrations and creative typography ideas, I managed to come up with a layout that was visually interesting as well as being able to show a clear path for the eye.

By experimenting further with typography I looked back into my research to find that some had featured handwritten or painted text. By using Adobe Illustrator I was able to create different brushes based on the tone of the article. I wanted to make the design look rebellious to show the concept portrayed by the author; that Trump wanted to replace the cherry tree which was symbolic of honesty. Another reason I wanted to include an element of handwritten text was that it showed a personal and unique trait and it looked interesting on the page.

I felt as if the title page was missing something in the background. To make the design look more personal I used Adobe Illustrator to paint the American flag in my own style. I used the brushes I had created to paint the typography for the title of the page. I placed the author’s name at the bottom of the page between two lines using the font DIN Condensed in Bold with a point size of 34. I placed the picture of the American flag into the document and applied a small drop shadow behind it so it would contrast from the flat text for the title. For the rest of the article I used the font ‘Euphemia UCAS’ for its simplicity. The pull quotes used DIN Condensed.

On the second page I applied colours I used for the stripes of the American flag on the title page into the pull quote telling the fable of the cherry tree based on Trump. I also added an illustration I modified from a drawing in Adobe Illustrator. I placed it in a circle so it differed from the rectangular shapes I used for the overall layout design. The illustration represented the quote on the third page which I pulled out from the text.

In the final two pages I wanted to keep it simple but I also wanted to include an artistic typographic element to one of the pages. Originally I had the word ‘TRUTH’ in the same font used in the pull quotes and the name ‘TRUMP’ in front of it. Instead I decided to use a bristle brush in Illustrator, linking it to the title page of the document. This made the three pages fit together nicely as a set, keeping the style relatively consistent throughout.


Another idea I took into consideration was inverting the colour of the background from white to black. With keeping the same dimensions as the white square shaped design, I adjusted the layout design and imagery slightly. I decided to include my first illustration of the red and pink coloured cherry tree. On the final double page, I also included the concept I wanted to take from the fable of President Trump that the author had written about.

On the second double page, however, I wanted to make the colour theme less patriotic to keeping similar colours used in the American flag. By using the ‘TRUTH’ and ‘TRUMP’ idea I had in the previous design, I instead decided to use the same text. By making use of effects on layers in Photoshop (initially), this made the ‘TRUMP’ on ‘TRUTH’ look more sophisticated. I applied the ‘Hard Light’ effect to the layer of the ‘TRUMP’ text, over the solid white ‘TRUTH’.

 

 

Changing Faces – Imagery

After focusing predominantly on type detailing and layout for the past couple of days, I decided I needed to focus on what imagery ideas I had in mind and deciding on what concept would work best to interpret the article. To start I had collated several illustrations of significance which had influenced many peoples minds from what they had heard on certain topics/issues. Here are a few images I have collected:

The day before our tutorial on interpretation through imagery, I had sketched out a few images that I had annotated on the article and in my mind maps, many of which ideas were influenced by illustrations I had collated from Pinterest. I thought strongly about creating juxtapositions and illustrating symbols that represented certain morals, topics and elements mentioned in the article I had chosen. Because I wanted to focus on type as well for this project, I also looked at what images I could create with text and incorporate with them in a creative manner. This included calligraphy and block type. With the block type I will need to consider whether to use letterpress or screenprint. With the calligraphy I could use Illustrator with the calligraphic brush tool, or even the bristle tool to create rough text which resembles type usually seen in protest posters and banners, as I have discussed in my recent post when analysing the magazine layouts I chose as research. Here are my sketches below:

As you can see I decided to keep to a very predominant red and blue scheme. I chose this scheme because of the colours featured in the American flag, and how the Democratic Party chose a blue scheme for their campaign, whereas the Republican Party chose a red scheme for theirs.


At the tutorial the tutor discussed the difference between translation and interpretation to try and highlight how we should best take on the text to create concepts and imagery alongside the article. I was quite disappointed with how I didn’t quite get the depth of feedback I was expecting because it was a group tutorial where we looked at each others’ ideas. However, from the tutor discussing interpretation I felt maybe it was best that I focused not on creating caricatures and images of Donald Trump, but instead focusing on symbolism and subtle meaning. This would make the reader curious by speculating the images in depth to encourage them to read deeper into the text. For example, in the second idea I had with the large question mark, I used a blue ink pen to illustrate an image of a cherry tree which largely related to the George Washington fable and would make a nice feature with the heading. It would be nice to keep this theme throughout the layout design to show consistency in my efforts to interpret the article.

Next I will need to consider what materials and tools would be best to use to create the imagery alongside this article as a stepping stone to create elements of the type and design the layout of the double pages.


I had started to illustrate the concept I had with the fable of George Washington and the cherry tree. I know I wanted to illustrate the cherry tree in an unusual but minimalistic way to prove that it was a simple yet important, and highly influential moral featured in the fable. I looked at several images of cherry trees online and the most common photos that came up were of cherry blossoms. It made me wonder whether the author of the fable was referring to cherry blossoms. I looked at the nature of the way the branches were twisted and gnarled, and the contrast between the dark wood of the bark, trunk and branches and the bright pink cherry blossoms with hints of white. The shades of the blossom slightly changed from image to image.

To start the illustration I drew out a circle with a compass and pencil to set a frame for the tree to sit in. What I liked about using a circular crop was its peculiarity, and with it being unfamiliarly used in editorial designs and within rectangular spaces it would make for an interesting layout. As well as encouraging me to think more openly about my type setting and overall design of the double pages together, it would also set an open tone and it would welcome the reader because of its attractiveness. After sketching out the trunk, roots and branches of the tree I used diluted red watercolour paint to create the pink blossom colour. After drying I used a red fine liner pen to create impressions of the bark, and a dark pink felt tip marker to make the blossoms pinker. To darken certain places in the trunk and branches I used a blue finaliser which darkened the red which was less intense as an effect I would have with using a black fine liner pen.

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On Tuesday 2nd May, the same tutor as with the tutorial and conducted an editorial image workshop for the class. We had been put into groups of three to analyse an individual article for each group. By reading the article we picked out descriptive sentences which we could create images from. My group had received an article titled ‘Am I a fool to expect more than corporate greenwashing?’ Within the piece of writing H&M and Fashion Revolution were mentioned to evaluate a point of the excessive waste produced from the fashion industry. We quickly came up with ideas so we could focus on creating the image within the 40 mins we were given to produce at least one picture.

We decided that the strongest and easiest idea we could work with was where the two companies were fighting for the highest coverage on their recycling campaigns.

We initially created a flat line drawing of a bag using the rectangular tool and the arc tool to create the handle. On the front was a rough impression of the H&M logo for which we created a short rigid bristle brush. Then we added the muscular arms with the bulging biceps. The tutor came round to suggest that we could use digital photographs of bags to make the picture look more sophisticated instead of just keeping it as a flat image. As you can see, the picture on the right is the original flat image we created in illustrator, and the picture on the left is one we used from online.

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For the second bag with Fashion Revolution, we first had a quick look at the design of their website and the logo. We put together a brief logo to put on the bag and created teardrop shapes to create the impression that the bag was sweating our of vulnerability and anxiousness for H&M stealing it’s ‘thunder’. We attempted to make the logo fit on the bag as if it were part of it. The smaller bag gave the impression that it had less power and strength than the larger H&M bag with handles.

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After showing the pictures to the class, one girl suggested that we could have created personified human bodies out of the bags, however I explained we wanted to keep the concept bold and simple which meant no more than simple line drawings, shapes and marks made with a brush or felt-tip pen.

This was an extremely insightful workshop into how we could work under a very limited timeframe. If encouraged us to be bolder with our fast paced creative thinking, being more efficient. It also turned out that usually even the best pictures made for articles or pieces of writing are quickly made because of the bold and simple nature of the images which gives it it’s effectiveness in terms of enticing the the audience into reading further into the piece of writing, whether it be implicit or explicit. This workshop had in fact changed several of my ideas on the style I wanted to use to illustrate the concept. I didn’t particularly feel as if I wanted to change any of the concepts I came up with, however, by using Adobe Illustrator I could create simple pictures and drawings to create a more focused and a bolder insight into the concept I had in mind for my article.

Changing Faces – Type and Layout

With starting the new editorial project we were given a refresh and presentation on type detailing and layout, which included line lengths, what made a tidy piece of text, the path for the eye, and grid systems. To start the workshop we looked at various well designed magazines and ephemera spread across some tables. It gave us inspiration for what we were going to be getting up to in the next task that was set.

We were briefed with setting a piece of text from ‘Great Expectations’ by Charles Dickens into a B5 sized page created on InDesign. The benefit with using InDesign is that you can set columns, margins and gutters to your preferences meaning your grid system can remain consistent over the document. In pairs we put the text into an InDesign document to find as many possibilities of what would look like a professionally designed editorial piece on a single page.

Here are the outcomes me and my friend came up with:

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We both felt that the final design which you see above was the best out of the three. The type detailing was fairly strong and it reflected on the piece of text from the traditional novel by a well respected author. With the first paragraph, we decided to treat it like a stand-first. A stand-first is an introductory paragraph in an article in larger or bolder capitals, summarising the piece of text. We were commended at the end of the workshop on our strong choice of layout for the piece of text, with the underlining of the heading and sub-heading acting as a small break so the reader could clearly see where the heading ended and the text started. We also thought it made the design of the layout look more interesting and engaging.

Before the workshop I looked at various double page magazine and newspaper spreads online and on Pinterest. I put a board together for the project for possible ideas and designs I could take inspiration from to inform my own creative thinking and development of ideas and outcomes. I looked at 5 double page layouts and designs, each of which were unique in their layouts.

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The first magazine layout caught my eye because of the simplicity of the design and the negative space which created a sense of breathing space for the reader. The speech marks were prominent in making the double page more interesting, yet not a distraction from the piece of text on the right page. I also like how lines were used to break the subheading at the top from the article below.

The next layout I chose differed to first one I chose. The designer has decided to make use of positive space in this layout. You might think that what looks like painted text in the background is the title of the article, however it didn’t specify exactly what the manifesto was about. As you can see it was a ‘Water Manifesto’, which is of course the title of the piece. Although the text in the background was the first thing that grabbed my attention, it summarised the near conclusion of the manifesto. There are various other callouts in the design, however they don’t gain as much attraction as ‘THINK & ACT’ in the background. Usually you would not encounter handwritten text in an article or piece of writing because of its frequent illegibility, informality, and how word processing is a much faster method to use to process text. This was likely created in illustrator with a think point bristle brush, digitally created with the aid of a graphics tablet. I love the nature of the handwritten text in this piece, making it not just personal for the designer or typographer, but also for the reader. It reminds me of protest posters and handwritten text on cardboard used in public protests. In terms of the layout, I like how the text is divided up nicely, which gives the sense of the reader being able to take it in short paragraphs. I like how the photo is aligned in the centre of the page below the text.

For the third one I chose, I liked the balance of space. As with the first layout I looked at, this design also made use of lines to break up the text which made the piece look modern and contemporary and also assisted in balancing the space over the two pages. I like the clear definition between bold, semibold and regular text. What grabbed my attention the most was reading the callout stretching over the first page and onto the first half of the second page. This worked well in encouraging the reader to move onto the second page and served as balancing the use of space, especially with the use of bold text.

With the fourth layout design I chose. what caught my attention was the way the text surrounded the callout creating an interesting shape for the gutters of the columns. I like how the photo on the first page took up all the space, leaving the attention seeking to the second page. What I found interesting was how the designer highlighted the heading in black with the text being white. It was extremely eye-catching and made it differ to the rest of the text on the page. I didn’t particularly see any black background layouts, which is why it was interesting to see this element of colour choice.

The final layout I chose for its originality. The really likes how the photo was edited so the darks were changed to reds, and how the same red used in that picture was used in the handwritten text on the right page. I liked how text overlapped the photo and the overlapped callouts on the right page. As I was saying about handwritten text, its personal for not just the designer but it has significance on how you can change the readers perspective, feelings, and emotions on a topic. Red is a persuasive colour but I loved how the red had a warmer orange tone to it to make it seem like a less serious topic. An example of where a serious red would be used would be in the Labour Party campaigning for the UK Government. As with the third layout I chose, I like how the space has been balanced by chaining the ligature of pieces of text in the design. Negative space in this piece is used very creatively due to the shapes created by the text.

I liked all the designs in different ways. What I notices with the layouts I chose was that the majority only use a two column hierarchy. This makes it easy to create negative space, keeping the reader engaged.

Changing Faces

With a start to a new project, titled ‘Changing Faces’, we were given the opportunity to demonstrate the knowledge and skills we have gained throughout our first year through designing an editorial piece. By using typography, image making, conceptual development and story-telling, we were tasked with crafting the editorial piece based around an ongoing topic/issue within the world today. We had one article to choose from out of ten, interpreting it through type and image. The design, concept and images within the piece would have to be our own original work, spreading across six pages. These six pages could either be made up of 3 double pages OR 2 double page spreads and 2 single pages.

Below are what key points I have to consider in the development of this project.

After reading through the ten articles, I narrowed my choices down to three articles to choose from. I based my choices around which articles I could quickly create ideas from, and which most interested and engaged me into researching more about the topic/issue. I created a mind map out of the three articles.

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From noticing which article had the most stems leading onto ideas, I chose the article ‘Can President Trump Handle the Truth?’ I also made another mind map looking at what imagery and typography ideas I could go forward with. I also annotated the article itself with other quick ideas after I read through it a few times.

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By narrowing down my choices of concepts to use in the editorial piece, it would also help in me being able to fit just over half of the article into four pages at most, which would allow plenty of room for me to experiment with typography and imagery.

 

 

 

Ephemera Development

I started my piece of Ephemera by placing the text, images and logos required in the booklet which were provided by the client, which were the organizers of the event. We had three questions to consider for the piece of ephemera. These were:

  1. For whom am I designing
  2. To whom am I designing
  3. For what reason are we communicating

We were designing the ephemera for the organizers of the Super 7 Design Festival, sponsored by Designboom, taking place in the CHAPTER Arts Centre in Canton, Cardiff.

To whom we were designing were the guests at the event and the attendees of the event, who would be numerous designers, illustrators and creatives.

What we were communicating were the interviews that took place with the 7 designer guests that were going to be speaking to the audiences at the event.

I first started by looking at the design of the Designboom website, looking for layout designs on Pinterest to generate my own ideas and sketches, and laying out the text, logos and images required in the piece of ephemera on InDesign. Before a group tutorial, I decided from inspiration that I wanted to crop and edit all the images to make the layouts interesting. For example, I cropped the portrait of Eike Konig so that it was spherical in shape and there was clear contrast between the blacks, greys and whites. This would make the photo more visually interesting and eye catching, especially considering the final piece of ephemera would be printed on a laser printer.

I needed consistency in the style of crop and contrast in the photos. Although the shapes would be different it would keep the viewer visually interested in the piece of ephemera, apart from the spacious layout I was planning on having.

For the layout of the text I kept to a three column grid for each A5 page. I used the Calibri typeface in Regular 8.5pt for the answers, Bold 9pt for the questions, and the profile in Bold 12pt for each designer. This would show the reader they were different speakers, and that the different paragraphs had different purposes. For the names of the designers as the headings for each of the double pages, I downloaded a trial version of ‘Blenny’ from the font library on the Dalton Maag website. The font had nice curvature and made the layouts visually more interesting and aesthetically pleasing with the contrast between the conserved typeface and the blank space around it. I also thought the typeface went well with the first double page for Eike Konig and the spherical design I used in the photo.

I decided to emphasize the spherical design for that page by creating a circle with the elliptical shape tool on InDesign. I made the shape big in a grey colour with no outline. I placed the shape behind the text as a feature of the background. Again this made the page design more visually interesting.

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I tried to make this consistency in design the same for each double page.

I made small improvements to the text and layout before printing the final product. For example, I needed to read through the text for any small errors, hyphenations, spacing, and uneven rag. I also wanted the pace of the booklet to be consistent, meaning that certain layouts weren’t too cramped. Because Jessica Walsh had so much information in her interview and profile, I needed to use up a page before her double spread. This ensured that the pages were evenly spread and allowed breathing space for the reader. This also made it aesthetically pleasing. Before printing and binding I needed to make the inside margins larger to allow for room if the binding didn’t go to plan. I increased the binding from 5mm to 10mm. This made the columns slightly thinner, however I still had room leftover to make these changes.

After double checking for improvement I could have made to the smallest of details, I exported the document as a PDF, set a pages. To ensure that I trimmed the pages to size in the right places, I included crop marks into the export settings. I trimmed the pages down to the crop marks and bound the book at the spine with needle, binding thread, a bone folder, and an awl, referring to my recent blog post on binding a sketchbook. We were not required to use hard covers.

Unfortunately the laser printer had made vertical lines visible down the fully black and grey parts of the pages. These lines were cause by a scratched drum in the laser printer which was not able to be fixed at the time of printing. Anyhow, the design of the ephemera booklet was all I wanted to be shown instead of the poor quality of the print.

To present our ephemera to the class, we laid out the ephemera booklets onto tables and walked around to look at each of them. All of them were extremely impressive and most of them consistent in layout design which was what made them aesthetically pleasing. We were all paired up with someone to give critique on each others work. Features of the overall design we needed to consider in our written critique were:

  • Hierarchy – Balance, Contrast, Path for the eye
  • Pace
  • Type Detailing
  • Consistency
  • Ambition (play)
  • Graphic Systems

Under hierarchy I was critiqued on my lack of consistency in layouts of pages. For example, my images we all different sizes to compensate for space of text. However, I thought this made the pages visually interesting, while at the same time keeping the reader informed. I also kept consistency in my grid systems for most of the pages, apart from the page on Morag Myerscough and Sawdust.

For type detailing, small mistakes I made the the indent at the start of answers was described as misleading and messy. He also thought that the font I used for the heading of each designer did not fit with the overall design of the page. I thought the font suited perfectly with the majority of the pages because of the different shapes that the viewer could see in the backgrounds.

As far as consistency in my design was concerned, the background colour that I chose to match the photo for Felix Pfaffli and Sawdust, drew unwanted attention to my critics’ eye. He also said that I would benefit with consistency by adjusting the images so they were all the same size in the same place. Consistency was also lacking in the leading of the headings for each page. I tried to compensate for lack of consistency by challenging myself with by producing interesting layouts.

My critic said I was very ambitious with the variations in designs for each page, however he felt that I needed one page with an overarching design to suit the brief.

Finally, for graphic systems, my critic said there was good use of grid systems.

Simply Phonetics; and other things

The group were given a presentation on Expressive Type & the Format. We explored the use of expressive typography, typography conversations, type and space, pace and tone, reiterating and phonetics, and creative ink and how colours can be used to express a tone or a meaning of a word. For example, the colour blue is commonly used to express a cold temperature.

Examples of artists’ work we looked are as below:

As you can see, AJ Meek created this piece of expressive typography by producing phonetics out of words he/she had heard, which made out for an interesting and effective piece of art.

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And Graham Rawle produced pieces of text out of old cuttings of women’s gossip magazines.

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As a task for the group, we analysed three clips of Stephen Fry speaking. The three quotes we listened to were:

  • ‘Please let me go on; I’m dying to see how it all turns out’
  • ‘He was so famous simply for the way he dressed’
  • ‘I have nothing to declare but my genius’

We all took a piece of A1 paper and a pot of ink combined with water. Based on what images we had seen in the presentation with expressive typography and reiterating and phonetics, I used a variety of brushes to paint the words out onto the paper. This was a completely different way of working to using computers and printers to generate text and type on computers. It gave me a wider perspective on how expressive typography can be created to portray deeper meaning.

I purposely made my expressive typography swirly, curving and flamboyant to characterize the high-class and opulent accent that Stephen Fry has been educated and brought up to speak.

My favourite characterisation of his accent through typography that I had created was ‘I have nothing to declare but my genius’. From this A1 sheet, I then created a folding book to express the pace of the sentence Fry spoke. This enabled me to listen out even more carefully to understand how pace can influence what the reader thinks of when the sentence is read. It can give the reader a clear enough thought of how a sentence can be or was spoken.

 

This workshop would aid us in our Ephemera projects to allow us to be creative in our choice of typeface, tone, pace, and expression, which would make the outcome more interesting and aesthetically pleasing.