Before diving into the nitty gritty of Typography, we usually start out working around just one letter alone. I usually give a very brief and quick talk around the basics of typography. As in the case of the first arrow shown previously, students were asked to choose a letter and find many ways of designing it. Another exercise was to make a metamorphosis of the letter in Helvetica by turning it progressively into an animal like an animated film.
In the above examples, letters were used as motifs and repeated in a pattern. As always, negative space is as important as the positive.
In these cases, students were asked to play with their 2 or 3 initial letters, playing with shapes similar to the letters themselves. Looking for analogies and similarities, including a design in another shape and ending up with something that could be used as a personal logo. Again, a quick introductory talk on logos and symbols, crests and the likes is usually given, on this occasion.
Although the end results remind me of Vasarely's op art, the initial idea for these projects differed. The point was to work on a large grid of small squares, on a large sheet of paper, 55cm by 60cm. Each square was filled in partially with black. The amount of black space in each square, determined the value of gray in that particular area. The more black, the darker it became. The shapes used in the squares could be simple squares, triangles or other and could evolve progressively throughout the surface. White, was to be used sparingly. Students had to do 3 pencil sketches before choosing the best composition, for the final gouache rendering, keeping in mind the varying degrees of gray. The end results seem to shimmer and glow with various optical effects and relief.