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Shelley Bassett

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A Peace of Lettering


November 1, 2017

Finding balance with word shapes

It’s no secret that I love fonts and lettering. There are handcrafted fonts in my shop, and creative uses of typography in my portfolio. But for me, words and letters have a far reaching impact.

Writing has always been a part of my creative outlets. I’m not very good, and don’t expect to be a published novelist, but it’s a way for me to think through noise and sort my thoughts out.

Lettering and typography help me keep my sanity in a number of ways, and the peace that they bring to a busy day is always welcome.

The Blues

Those moments I’m feeling lost or sad, the consistency and flow of letting can help calm the wild thoughts and anxiety. Days that feel out of control can be brought back into like by just writing out every possible combination of letters in the alphabet. The regularity and structure of a set of 26 glyphs (or 52 if you use two cases) helps to return order into a chaotic day.

Page of letter pairs as a practice exercise

Controlling the flow of ink or graphite onto the page is also therapeutic. Writing thoughts into a diary can be just as cathartic as forming the shapes evenly and consistently on a page. Sometimes they two go had in hand.

Creative expression

Lyrics, quotes and thoughts have always had an impact on me. Not so much as motto’s to live by, but as interesting collections of words. In my younger years, I filled notebooks with little overheard sentences from songs, movies and even conversations.

Hand lettered sketch of “you meant the world to me”

Now, instead of simply recording these snippets, I find interesting ways to lay the words out. Sometimes the typography interacts with itself, sometimes the letters stand alone and bold on a page. But each sketch is unique, and has become a little piece of art in its own right. There are so many different styles of lettering, and half the fun comes from choosing a script to match the words.

Combining Practices

Digital design will always treasured to me. It’s what I studied at university, it’s what I do each day at work. Within this world, typography is incredibly important. It can convey a mood, impact legibility and even persuade your interactions. Type design is always a crucial element in the online experience.

Collection of typography books

One of the things I find most satisfying is when a funny little pencil sketch becomes something real and usable. Mostly, you think about web and app design, however, font design also results in this unique sense of accomplishment. Being able to type out your hand rendered letters quickly and with easy, across multiple weights and sizes is always fun. It’s even better when you realise that a mistake no longer means redoing a piece that had taken hours of work.

I find that letting and typography has a positive impact on me. It helps fight the gloom, gives me a boundary to be creative within, and can produce amazing and beautiful end results.

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