#121 Q&A

121 Q&A

#121 Q&A
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Q: Why?
A: Because.

Now that we’ve got­ten the most basic Q&A out of the way, here are some oth­er ques­tions & answers about this piece — Amper­Art #121, titled “Q&A.”

Q: What caused you to come up with Q&A as an Amper­Art theme?
A: Just a few hours away from the March dead­line, I asked myself, “What can you do that’s quick & easy, & a very com­mon phrase?” & I came up with an answer. Sim­ple as that.

Q: Any rea­son­ing behind the choice of font?
A: First, you should read up on the def­i­n­i­tion of the term “font” before you go throw­ing it around as if it meant “type­face.” We’ll save that for anoth­er Q&A ses­sion. Any rea­son­ing? Are you kid­ding? You’re ask­ing me if there’s a rea­son? There must be a rea­son or I won’t do it! So yes, there’s a rea­son. Sev­er­al, in fact.

Q: And…?
A: Okay, if you must. You don’t seem to trust my cre­ative con­cep­tu­al­iza­tion, so I’ll expain. Sheesh. The typ­i­cal Q&A form is rather bor­ing, usu­al­ly set in that godaw­ful stock Times Roman. But I did want to retain that feel. How­ev­er, at the same time I want­ed to intro­duce a lit­tle flair & cre­ativ­i­ty & enlightenment.

Q: Okay, thank you for that answer. Next, —
A: Wait a minute! You asked me to explain why I chose that “font.” I haven’t even begun to explain it. So sit tight. You asked for it, did­n’t you?

Q: Yes, how­ev­er, can’t we move on?
A: SIT STILL! I’m gonna explain this thing. So — I want­ed to keep the insti­tu­tion­al fla­vor of your typ­i­cal Q&A form by apply­ing a type­face that’s rather insti­tu­tion­al but, like I said, with a lit­tle flair. After review­ing sev­er­al roman* (thick & thin) fonts with ser­ifs, I noticed both the tail of the Q & the apex of the A in the type fam­i­ly Tiffany are unique, & some­what dec­o­ra­tive. The amper­sand is stan­dard, which I want­ed. So Tiffany it is.

Q: Isn’t Tiffany a rather fan­cy font, when you said you want­ed some­thing institutional?
A: To answer your ques­tion, take a look at the Amper­Art piece. Does it look too ornate? No, & here’s why: the bot­tom of the Q & the top of the A have just a lit­tle flair. Dis­play­ing the entire alpha­bet would look entire­ly dif­fer­ent, like this:

That does not look insti­tu­tion­al at all as it’s quite fan­cy. But select­ing just the top & bot­tom of the two let­ters ren­ders the per­fect effect, like crop­ping a pho­to. & there was some­thing else I real­ized which was total­ly delight­ful, & led to the final layout.

[Uncom­fort­able silence.]

Q: & that total­ly delight­ful dis­cov­ery was…?
A: Glad you asked. Enlarg­ing the let­ters until just the bot­tom of the Q & the top of the A were vis­i­ble, I real­ized these are two let­ters that are rec­og­niz­able even from just the most extreme ele­ments. So I pushed it all the way, even elim­i­nat­ing the A’s cross­bar (which would have ruined the open­ness of the design), & it’s still obvi­ous­ly Q&A. That’s the enlight­en­ing part: show­ing by exam­ple how cer­tain ele­ments of cer­tain let­ters eas­i­ly con­vey the whole letter.

Q: Insight­ful and clever.
A: Thank you. But sure­ly you meant insight­ful & clever.

Q: Uh…yeah. Now what about the col­ors? Or should I even ask?
A: Oh yes, do! I went through a series of col­or con­cepts, but one flowed right into the next with a bit of log­ic each time. Orig­i­nal­ly Q&A was intend­ed, like I’ve said, to be very insti­tu­tion­al look­ing. So along with the roman type­face, the col­or was black type on white background.

I liked that, but then real­ized there are four areas with­in the let­ters which are sol­id con­tain­ers for col­or. It’s the day before East­er, so I guess pas­tels were on my mind. Any­way, it worked. I was able to add some col­or to the design while retain­ing the stark black & white effect. It real­ly did make it more attractive.

Then  took it one step fur­ther. I changed the back­ground to pas­tel pur­ple (again, being East­er) & reversed out the typography.

purple background

All right, it’s Eas­t­er­ish & spring­timeish & all that, but just too col­or­ful. Lost the effect I was after. So I went back to black let­ters, but the white back­ground was just too stark. So I took that pur­ple val­ue & grayscaled it. Now I think we have some­thing that is some­what insti­tu­tion­al, kind of col­or­ful, & has an over­all design­er feel. I test­ed a few lev­els of gray & set­tled on what­ev­er this is. (I have it jot­ted down some­where — nev­er dis­card a good recipe.) So there you have it, how the col­or came to be.

121 Q&A

Q: Hmmm, even for your per­son­al design projects you put a lot of effort into your work, don’t you?
A: If you think I put a lot of con­cep­tu­al strat­e­gy, research, analy­sis, log­ic, A/​B test­ing & such into my per­son­al design projects, you should see what I put into logo design & brand iden­ti­ty for my clients.

Q: Is there any­thing else you’d like to add?
A: Yes. Remem­ber that aster­isk awhile back? Well…

*Con­trary to most DIY “design­ers,” a roman type­style does­n’t nec­es­sar­i­ly have to have ser­ifs. It describes the con­strast in weight among strokes. “Goth­ic” has the appear­ance of uni­form weight in all its ver­ti­cal, hor­i­zon­tal, oblique & curved strokes. & it can have ser­ifs — either tiny spurs or slab ser­ifs the same weight as the strokes. “Roman” usu­al­ly means that the type­style has thick & thin ele­ments, some­times extreme con­trast & some­times sub­tle. & there are usu­al­ly ser­ifs, but not always. The con­fu­sion comes into play when the term “roman” means non-​italic or non-​oblique; that can be any style font that is sim­ply straight up & down, not lean­ing such as an ital­ic. Like I said, you asked.

Q: Yes. I did. Now just one last question—
A: Sor­ry, it’s almost mid­night. I must get this sent off to my won­der­ful sub­scribers, fel­low fans of the fun & fab­u­lous amper­sand. Let’s con­tin­ue this dis­cus­sion lat­er, & remind me to explain what “font” real­ly means.

Production notes for #121 Q&A:
Original size: 20x30 inches

Program: Adobe InDesign
Font: Tiffany
Ampersand: Tiffany italic
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For pro­fes­sion­al graph­ic design, please vis­it Des­i­mone Design. If you think I put a lot of con­cep­tu­al strat­e­gy, log­ic, A/​B test­ing & such into my per­son­al design projects such as Amper­Art, you should see the effort & per­fec­tion I put into logo design & brand identity.

Desimone? Damn good!