‘Balance, tone and proportion’ research.

Once again we are looking into typographic design through the art of letterforms. This is simply how a particular letter has been shaped and viewed upon under the circumstances of a design perspective or historical progressional/developmental viewpoint. The creation of letterforms is wide and varied; designers are constantly exploring how to manipulate and shape such things through the principles of balance, tone and proportion. 

I have gathered together a number of images from Pinterest based around the art of letterforms, not only for inspiration, but also to analyse how balance, tone and proportion have been considered within their designs.

letterform board

The inspiration board above demonstrates many ways in which letterforms can be constructed; through various mediums/materials/design principles. I wanted to find a wide selection to broaden my own horizons for my own letter forming later on today. Some letters have been constructed using paper and card (the R and Y) whilst others have used print ink, ink pen, graphite pencil and coloured ink pen. From these images, I can see that balance has been achieved through the use of curvilinear serif lines, thick and thin line/shaping and contrasts of light and dark tone. Both positive and negative spaces have been used to construct shape that translates into the overall letterform. I chose the blue inked image for this reason; the tonal shading of the white space pushes forward the lettering and makes what was negative white space, positive and legible letterforms. Various shading techniques such as hatching and stippling are used many times to generate various levels of light/dark or cool/warm tone. in some cases, areas have been lightly brushed or have solid dark grey, black areas to provide the same effects. Balance is also achieved through proportion of the lettering; how it rests within the space of the page, how each serif, curve and detailing is positioned and aligned wiTone boardth one another etc.

I chose these three photographs to further demonstrate what is meant by cool/warm tonal values. A more sepia tone used in the first brings forward warmth, while darker blue and lighter snow white tones in the second create cool tones throughout. The third demonstrate both warmth and coolness through a contrast in both types of tonal values.

monogram boardThis morning I have also learnt something new: monograms! I did not know that the combination of letterforms in a decorative, logo based manner was known as a monogram. The board above depicts the use of embroidery, sealing, embossing, drawing and digital art forms of monograms. Note how balance is acquired through the positioning of each design element within these too.

Another thing that I have revisited this morning is that of the Golden Mean, or Golden Ratio method used within some design practices. I have heard of this terminology before, but never really quite understood or been shown on an in depth scale how this method is applied. However, this morning I found this awesome website which shows exactly how its done! (https://designschool.canva.com/blog/what-is-the-golden-ratio/ ) In the past, upon the hearing of this term, I often shied away from it thinking “Ew maths!!” and didn’t want know more. However this website explains it in such a way where I can understand what it means! It demonstrates through many examples how this ratio is achieved and how it translates across many designs; both past and present. It is a pleasing harmonious image to the brain and eye; a division of such an area where the overall design rests and within such a space is balanced due to its other existing elements such as positioning, alignment, sizing and so on. I am looking forward to having a go at creating my own letterforms today…I hope to try and use this ratio method in my designs.


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