Category: Lettering in the environment (Eric’s project)

Lettering in the environment

Lettering and the relationships with the colours surrounding them

Signs around Campus

I decided to focus on the relationships between colour of letters and the background they are presented on for this project, where I found that the majority of lettering is white or black and surrounding by a bold and eye-catching colour. When looking at the majority of signs it is evident that this design choice is made to initially capture the attention of a passer by through a large body of bright colour and then have the lettering as the secondary, despite the text being the core of the sign. I found that this technique is more effective than say, a white sign with red lettering, since there is a larger body of white which does not grab the eye as efficiently as a bold colour.

Textures of lettering

Textures of Lettering Presentation

After wandering around the campus and taking photographs of typography within the department building as well as outside; I found that all of the examples I had taken had a very similar pattern. All of my photos displayed different styles of typography using different textures and techniques, for example the many carvings/engravings on stone and metal grates. Looking at the various font styles and techniques of how information had been conveyed, gave me a further understanding of how information that is conveyed for a purpose has to suit a particular style for what is being displayed.


Raised and Indented Lettering

For my ‘Lettering in the Environment’ project, I decided to photograph the themes of raised and indented typography around campus. I chose this theme as walking through campus I realised how common place such techniques are in many areas such as construction, maintenance and even signage. That became apparent to me firstly from the many maintenance and manhole covers that where present an the pavement and the roads, which I believe were raised cast metal in order for the preservation of the type to be present for longer than a print based design. This technique can also be seen in building signs as the text is raised from the buildings wall however, unlike the sturdy maintenance based items, I believe this was designed with the attention of the reader in mind other than rigidity.

Exploring Patterns in Signs

To begin with I started to take pictures of anything that caught my eye, all the while trying to find a linking factor. When you’re looking for lettering you find out that it is everywhere! Instructions, directions and notices to name a few of the categories. Many of the signs around department and campus were to give instructions regarding social distancing requirements in relation to the pandemic. All of the signs were designed in the same way and so they formed a set and were consistent across the University. 

After collecting the photos I began to sort through them. I noticed that nearly all of them were circles with only a handful being rectangular. Within the circles, I organised the images by colour: white, green, yellow and red. They abided by the universal traffic light system with green meaning go and red meaning stop. Yellow is used to give instructions.

I could extend this way of categorising signs through shape and colour to see the different trends, not only on campus but in road signs too.


Lettering in perspective

For this mini project I decided to focus on the different perspective of letters in the environment. I focused a lot on different angles of the letters and how this made the type even though they where the same look completely different. I took photos from high, low to each of the sides as well as zooming in and out. To really get to understand how the change in perspective happens. Something that I noticed as I focused on the letter B was how the different font, colour, text size and position all allowed for the same letter to look completely different some many times. I was then able to represent my findings on a document displaying how perspective and different varieties that go into the typography change the meaning and visual.

Materials and Context Photography Across Campus

Eric Photography Document 2

For this ‘Photography In the Environment’ task, I focused primarily on the materials the letters were placed on or made from. I became highly interested in the lettering of the mundane, the everyday lettering that goes largely ignored.

The texture, material and condition of the text was also of interest to me – It was an interesting thought process to consider how the lettering had been constructed and how that linked to it’s purpose or task. For example, the concrete lettering found on the base of an outdoor table tennis table is set deep into the supports in a thick, slab serif type. While having connotations of strength and stability, this also links to the lettering’s function, to communicate the brand name of the objects creator. Due to its intended usage being outside, both the material and method were appropriate.

I then began thinking of the condition of the lettering – The ‘Please Close Lid’ sign, found within the Co-op, was immaculately clean and a clear, sans serif type in an assertive dark red shade. While helping to stand out and communicate the desired message, the cleanliness and visible shine over the letters reflects positively towards the shop as a whole. In contrast, the deteriorated, aged letter H found on a nearby block is clearly old and has been left unattended. The texture of the pain crumbling away, revealing the exposed brick underneath, was very different visually from much of the campus, which tended to all be newer lettering.

Looking back at these photos, the context of the lettering could have been explored further, with different distances allowing both the material and context to be shown optimally in separate shots. However, as in the Fire Exit image, I believe that this wasn’t always necessary, as that image captures both the material and context of the letters reasonably well.

Eye Line

This is a mini project looking at the different types of lettering in the environment. For this project I had a theme of ‘eye-line’ where I took various photos at signs around campus and looked at what features they had.

From looking at the various signs I found that all the signs at eye-line were important or warnings. This was emphasised by bright colours against a plain background and that the had bold sans serif fonts to grasp the viewers attention.

Serifs and Texture


For Eric’s project we were tasked with finding Lettering in the environment with a theme in mind. At first I started taking pictures of all lettering that interested me and I started in the typography building. As I was taking pictures, I realised that most lettering were serifs so I decided to make serifs my theme. However, as I was taking the pictures, I realised there was a variety in the serifs as some letters had clear and traditional serifs and others were less clear but still had decorate ends.

As I continued taking pictures, both inside and out the department, I started to take pictures more focused on textured lettering, specifically, texture that had been a result of wear and age. This lead to taking pictures outside because I had found that text was more worn out there due to weather.

We then had to group our pictures into our themes and placed the smooth textured serifs at the top of my page as it was my first theme/idea and moved to textured serifs to textured lettering down the page to mimic the evolution of themes from just serif to textured lettering.