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

Lettering in the environment

Font Finding


For Eric’s lesson on Monday we had to find lettering in our environment, eg around campus.

We got lucky with the weather being very sunny, and clear blue skies, as this meant a lot of light in our photographs, and a bright sky that on occasion helped add to the photo. I found signs, graffiti and stickers posted about campus. I also took a couple photos of the lettering in the typography department, however kept my focus to signs outside.

When it came to grouping our photos together and finding a common theme in them, my photos in honesty didn’t have much in common, when it came to font, topic, wording, or even colours. So I did create a collage of some of my favourites, editing them to have a common ground with yellow, blues and greens. And one similarity I did find between a couple photos was framing, where the type had been framed by a certain material, to be the centre of focus, such as, a window, wooden frame, or created on board and centred on a thin wall, giving it a frame.

After this project I will make an effort to look for more lettering in the environment, why it is used, and how communication varies from a sign being instruction (stop, slow down, caution. In bold capitals with bright warning colours). To creative welcoming advertising, for cafes or restaurants that use blues, or black and white for a professional sleek look.


Typography iSpy in UoR

During the 2nd week of mini-projects I was honoured to meet Eric Kindel who presented me with the brief, that, unlike many others, involved going out and exploring real-life examples of eye-catching type around us. These could have been photographs of logos, singular letters/numbers, 3D type etc. Quite luckily that day the weather was quite good, hence providing us with good lighting and subtle shadows that accentuated any raised type.
While outside I focused on finding hidden type, one that wasn’t visible straight away, or its features weren’t as obvious from the distance, as opposed to up close. I also tried photographing these examples of type from different angles, especially if it was raised, to see whether that affected how we see it. After we have taken the photos in the given amount of time, we were asked to produce visual collages based on the common similarities between the typography we have taken photographs of.

Beforehand, I edited any images I wished to use in this mini project via Adobe Photoshop, which allowed me to emphasise some of the features, and make sure that all images within the collage look visually similar to one another. In some cases, I have also straightened up the photographs, making sure that they have some logical perspective, and are overall pleasing to look at.

Working outdoors really reminded me of what it means to be a graphic designer. Having spent a year in London last year, I learnt that working from home is a challenge, as the best and easiest source of inspiration is the world that surrounds us. During this activity, I also consolidated my skills as a Typographer, as it taught me to explore and type that I haven’t paid much attention to in the past.

Lettering Around Campus

For Erics’s project we studied lettering in the environment. I tried to find lettering around the campus that i thought looked interesting. I liked a lot of the stencil lettering which there was a surprising amount of. After we had taken photographs we were asked to organise/arrange them in a way we thought was suitable. I decided to arrange mine by colour with the greens at the top, followed by the blues, yellows, reds and neutral tones. When looking at how my class mates had arranged theirs I realised mine was by far the least creative however Eric asked an interesting question about whether the colour groups I had split my photographs into had anything else in common. While the green lettering generally invoked safety or a message about the environment it was difficult to find correlations between the other colour groups.

Eyes on the Little Things

Taking Picture from the Surrounding

The Best 3 Images

  1. A tiny corner from a mental fence

2. The parking label on the floor


3. The building name of Contraction Management and Engineering

When I was searching around the campus, instead of taking pictures of large scale objects, I chose to look at some converted places. I took the above image from an undertaking area where they fenced up the whole building. I started looking closely at any objects and I found that so interesting I would never see those fonts on the fence if I was not standing in front of it at a certain distance. Not only did the distance matter, the angle of how you observe the thing also affect the look of the font. For example, I took the first picture and the third one in a side approach, rather than facing in front of the object. This way can show the depth of the font and create a three-dimensional effect. I liked how these fonts are carefully and neatly done for the second image. It was also interesting to see which strokes got written first, as the texture of its paint shows the layer of brushstrokes.


Grouping those Pictures in Different Category Orders

1. Angle (Looking downwards)

2. Material (Mental)

3. Colour scheme

4. Object (Building’s names)

Classifying is an action to grouping up things that share some same characteristics. I tried to find their obvious similarities between each other, such as the first one, all of those pictures are taken in a downwards angle, from top to down, overlooking at those objects. This in fact shows no depth but only plainness. Another example, some images share the same colour palette, the blue sky, the redness from those signs and the green grass.


This one-day project was really a fun time to experience around the campus. In fact, we seldom have time to hang around and observe things in detail, but today I finally got a chance to have a closer look at anything else in the surrounding. Moreover, I learnt about how letterings corporate with the environment. Some of them with only the intention of decorating purpose, some of them being particularly legible to readers, all letterings have their own function. Overall, it was such an interesting project to do individually or with classmates.

Lettering in the Environment

Lettering in the Environment

lettering in the environment

In Eric’s lesson we explored the campus for interesting pieces of typography. The powerpoint above the stop sign image has all the photos i took in the lesson. I feel as though i could’ve arranged them into better categories.

I enjoyed taking photos of different pieces of type around the campus, this activity also helped me explore the campus further. My favourite image i took is the one above, this is because i like the angle it was shot at and also how the bright red of the sign stands out among the blue background making it the focus point of the whole image.

Opening my eyes to the words around me

Lettering in the environment 

Eric’s task

For today’s mini project, we were asked to go out into the environment, around the university campus or out into town, and photograph lettering that we come across. We were not restricted in any way with what lettering we could take photos of, it could be anything from road markings, to building names and sign posts. Anything that we came across that interested us, we were told to photograph using different angles, lighting and compositions. This task really made me aware of my surroundings and I started to notice little things that I never did before. For example, the fonts and colours, the materials used, the shapes and techniques of the words displayed all around me. Actively seeking different forms of lettering around me enabled me to analyse the typography used to convey a message, instruction or display information and the effect it may have on the reader.

I came back with a series of photographs taken of all different words, phrases and names that I had found. We were then asked to sort these photos into groups of our choice. I chose 4 different themes which linked certain photos together and compared and contrasted them with my group. I found this project to be a fun way to learn about lettering in the environment and I came away feeling like my eyes had been opened to noticing new things.




Bleak, Boring, and Grey

In this project I looked at lettering the environment. Specifically, I took pictures of the greyest, most uninteresting lettering that I could find. Minus the sign on the library, I think I’d rarely notice any of it. This is actually interesting though as particularly with “Altron”, this lettering seems to be in public view but the target audience isn’t necessarily the general public. It’s very unclear as to what the name “Altron” is, so it’s meaningless to most who will see it.

All of this lettering is at a different elevation to the surface it exists on, either being raised above , sunken in, or been punched through. This should make the words more prominent, but really they will me ignored almost all of the time.