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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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Ampersand: Tiffany italic
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To download a full-size high-resolution 11x17-inch poster, click on the image.
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.