Delivery mode: Pick up from the front porch of SOVA (look for the sign)
Set Three: Sign of the Times
Contributing artist: Jenna Roebuck
In a town like ours striving to have a unified aesthetic, certain typefaces can be wielded to reflect
a period in time. Anyone can tell at a glance that Helvetica does not belong in the Goldrush.
Even if we aren’t sure why, we can see that it doesn’t feel right. But, as a product of Dawson
City being a real, living and modern community, many of these anachronisms can be found here.
When you focus on how typography contributes to the landscape of Dawson you will find an
assortment of design choices, all playing their part in the overall look of the spaces we inhabit
Step One: I Saw the Sign
Start looking around and noticing examples of lettering and signage in and around Dawson.
Take a photo of your favourite (or not so favourite) hand-painted signs, or details on the signs
(flourishes, font choices, and other design elements) and send them to us at
firstname.lastname@example.org or tag us on instragram @localfieldschool.
STEP TWO: Gimme a Sign
Create your own sign. There are many ways to do this! We suggest starting small, with a word or
short phrase or even just one letter. Then find a suitable piece of wood or other paintable surface
to paint your sign on. Depending on the material you will probably have to do a little bit of prework
to make it usable, like sanding and smoothing the surface, and even priming in with white
or another base colour.
We have provided you with graph paper to help you sketch out the word(s). Jenna has provided
us with some typographic vocabulary (below) to keep in mind when sketching out your letters-
things like font choice, leading, kerning, and tracking. Hot tip: you can type out
letters on your computer screen and then trace over them onto graph paper or tracing paper. Once
you’ve got a sketch that you’re happy with you can then use the carbon paper to transfer the
sketch onto the surface you’ve primed.
Now you’re ready to start painting!
Make sure to send us documentation of your finished project.
Your New De((sign)) Vocabulary:
Typographic design and lettering contribute significantly to our visual culture. Signs, advertising
and various letterforms become a part of our everyday visual landscapes, our understanding of
the world around us and the way we communicate.
Typography is concerned not only with the words that we read, but also with how we read them.
We can use typographic tricks to draw attention to a certain word in a sentence, we can select
and use typefaces that signal to the reader the kind of content they are reading and give us a
sense of hierarchy and structure. A font like Garamond might be used to make something look
more serious, fancy, or smart while the deeply polarizing Comic Sans might be used to make
something look more whimsical or playful.
Even though they are at times used interchangeably a typeface is a collection of
similar fonts. Like for example, your typeface may be Helvetica but within the Helvetica
typeface there a many weights (Thin, Medium, Semibold, Bold), widths (e.g. Compressed,
Condensed, Expanded) and styles (e.g. Roman, Italic, Oblique).
A serif is a decorative stroke at the end of a letterform. Fonts are divided into serif and non-serif
fonts. Some common serif fonts: Times New Roman, Baskerville, Garamond Common Sans
serif fonts: Arial, Helvetica, Futura
Leading, Kerning and Tracking are all concerned with the amount of negative space
surrounding a letter. The space around a letter is an essential component of typographic design.