i received an email form UK graduate ‘amy’ last week asking some questions about my string typography stuff for her research project, i thought i’d share my response to her questions:
1. What influenced you to combine yarn and letters?
a large part of my work involves digital media (working behind a computer screen all day) and the idea to go back to handmade work was a reaction to/against this, string and nails are very flexible materials (literally and figuratively) so they offer a lot of space to make graphic shapes and typography this was the reason i chose them… also perhaps a certain nostalgia for ‘forgotten’ techniques like knitting and crochet (my mum taught me to knit when i was five) also the fact that working with these materials is very time consuming and often unpredictable adds interest to the process
2. Is legibility or visual impact more important in your designs?
legibility is certainly important in any design where text has to convey a message so yes… certainly it needs to be legible, unless making it difficult to read is part of the intention of the design (in my ‘bored’ piece made with pins this was partly the intention, i didn’t finish making the text as it was boring to do, that was a sort of design joke…)
however in most illustration pieces (at least my own ones) the impact of the visual technique is usually very important, if it is made by hand then it is usually also a priority to ensure that this is visible, otherwise it is pointless making it ‘by hand’ if you see what i mean…
3. Is it important for you to let your viewers know, how your type is made?
i partly answered that above by nr. 2, but yes it is generally definitely my aim to show the way it has been constructed and this is part of the reason i use these kinds of materials you can almost ‘feel’ how it was done… no tricks or hidden stuff, it looks like what it is…
4. What is your opinion on graphic design / craft collaborations? such as typography and embroidery, do you think there is a trend for this type of work?
well, there definitely seems to be a revival of ‘handmade’ type and analogue work, certainly as a reaction to the digital age and also because designers usually look for new techniques and methods to create imagery all the time
for me personally i do not hate computers or have a problem with digitally created work (quite the opposite in fact) i just like to use as many different methods as possible handmade work has prove to be a very fruitful route for me and my work in the past few years, however i always combine handmade and digital together whenever it suits me
i also love stuff like the ‘wild knitting’ trend and a lot of the 3D type work which is being made by young designers all over the world right now; i think it is a really exciting time to be a young designer right now…
hope this helps amy? let me know of you need any more info, incidentally there are quite a few pieces and interviews i’ve done on this subject on my blog (also an interview for IDN magazine) which you can find under the ‘me stuff’ part of my website
good luck & kind regards, martin