36 Days of Type

The Brief

36 Days of Type is a project that invites designers, illustrators and graphic artists to express their particular view on the letters and numbers of our alphabet.

36 days of restless creativity, where participants are challenged to design a letter or number each day. A project that aims to be a space for creation around typography and its endless graphic possibilities.

Client
Personal Project

My Role
Visual Design, Type Design

Year
2016

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The great thing about 36 Days of Type is that it is essentially 36 small, predetermined briefs: A–Z plus 0–9. Other than having to create a letter each day—rules are pretty much non-existent, meaning you can take your letter or number in any direction you see fit and use any medium to characterise this.

In terms of my design process, it varied from letter to letter and was very much dependent on the window of free time available. Sometimes I would sketch my ideas first and sometimes I wouldn’t. Sometimes I would design one version and sometimes I would design fifteen.

Before I started designing the character there would usually be a few ideas floating around my head based on the actual letterforms and initial associations I had to that letter, so naturally I would like to get to it roughly drawing these out in Illustrator. Once I was happy with the basic outline or concept I would then start to work in some depth or detail by adding texture, shadows, colours, patterns or additional shapes. Upon looking back over my alphabet it seems there was a common theme—pure geometrical forms and lots of colour.

I started the 36 Days of Type project on the same day as my good friend and co-worker—Chris Cannon (you can view all of his 3D letters here: www.instagram.com/lifeinlowercase) , so I found myself very driven and motivated by the semi-competitive nature of the project. Even though we were working in different mediums and with different pieces of software (2D versus 3D)—we found we were constantly pushing each other to produce the highest quality output possible.

One thing that I did find interesting was just how much I was inspired by my surroundings on the given day of a letter. Whether it was colour combos I had spotted on my daily commute, the mood I was in at the time or just a visual style I was intrigued by and wanted to delve further into.

I used 36 Days of Type as an opportunity to go a little bit crazy via my alphabet. Surfacing the type of work that doesn’t have a home in your average client project. The fact that you are producing an output each day without fail you learn to become much less obsessed with single ideas and the desire for perfection, taking risks you might not normally.

The Outcome

36 Days of Type was the perfect avenue to aid personal development — pushing myself both creatively and technically whilst being challenged by the strict daily deadlines. I learnt a whole range of new skills and my working efficiency improved drastically. Other than a few days I missed at the start of the project, I managed to get a character completed every day (with a few 11.59pm submissions, of course).

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