In the 1-10 project you will explore typographic and image hierarchy based on a single complex photograph of your choosing. The emphasis on this project is process. There are a large number of steps with very specific (and at times arbitrary) parameters. Follow the instructions with care. If you do, there is a large amount of freedom and exploration available in with in the constraints. The outcomes of this project will give you much more visual control and a spirit of experimentation when dealing with complex typographic and image based systems.
The Oxford English Dictionary defines Hierarchy as:
"A body of persons or things ranked in grades, orders, or classes, one above another; spec. in Natural Science and Logic, a system or series of terms of successive rank (as classes, orders, genera, species, etc.)" used in classification.
In our working conversations and critiques we are more concerned with “visual hierarchy.” This means a particular focus on the relationships between elements in a composition, image, or design. Which elements jump out at you? Which recede? Which are in the middle?
Select any image you like. Focus on a captivating image that has potentially complex compositional forces at work. This is likely any image from a notable photographer, but does not have to be. Make one (full bleed) print in b&w or color. Make a second print of the image, screened back to 40%. Using Helvetica Bold, number 1-10. Show the visual hierarchy of the image, starting with one in the largest point size, through number 10. (8.5” x 11”)
Make two composition notations/abstractions using only geometric shapes on the computer (no. 1a, 1b). Then, make two composition notation/abstractions by hand – no computer, using pen, brush, crayon, wet media, finger paints, marshmallows etc—reference any techniques from the Sacred Emily Project (no. 2a–2b). These all should mimic the visual hierarchy of your photograph. (8.5” x 11”)
Write two short texts in response to your photograph. The first text should be expository, meaning with some kind of descriptive narrative based or inspired by the image. It could be a backstory to what happens before or after the image. (350 max) The second text should be poetic, evoking additional word images, emotional tone, or lateral interpretation. This could be written as fragments, or in verse or meter, or even complete sentences. These text could be anything.
Make two compositions using a grid and your expository text based on your notations (1–10), with san-serif type (no. 3a, 3b). Then, make two compositions using no grid and your poetic text based on your expressive notations, with serif type. (no. 4a, 4b) (8.5” x 11”)
Combine the previous two sets of compositions in the following manner: Combine the previous two compositions using a grid and your expository text, into one composition (no. 3a +3b= no. 5). Then, combine the previous two compositions using no grid and your poetic text, into one composition (4a + 4b= no. 6). (11” x 17”)
When combining explore true hybridity. What would it mean if the two combinations had a baby? How do the two different ways of combining result in a different kind of composition with different kinds of visual hierarchy? How does the grid or expression need to adapt to the new format?
Make one notation (same 1–10 numbering you used for the first photograph) based on your favorite (most effective) of the last pair of compositions (no. 5, no. 6). However, it should reverse the use of space, using only geometric lines and computer shapes. This means placing form where there currently is “white space”(counter-form) and creating space (counter-form) where there is currently form (no. 7). Then, make one more composition inspired by the other composition (no. 5 or no. 6) using no grid and based on your poetic text, using hand-drawn type only. (no. 8) (11” x 17”)
You will now have a total of eight major compositions.
Combine the last two compositions (no. 7, no. 8) into two different new compositions, making a grand total of 10 compositions (no. 9, no. 10). You may also source elements from 1a, 1b, 2a and 2b to your discretion. (17” x 22”)
Again, how do you create fusion? Again, how does the visual hierarchy need to adapt to the new format?
Combine everything into one poster.
Consider true hybridity. What stays? What is transformed? What is altered. What is edited. However you must maintain a complex typo/graphic set of relationships without it all falling to visual mush. Final. (17” x 22”)