WordsTwo Times Elliott
What would designers be without tools? Two Times Elliott explore creativity away from the screen
As part of a continuous series of internal studio workshops, we created stencils using mathematical rulers predominantly utilised by architects. This edition allowed us to discover new ways of approaching typography using these limited tools and see how restricting ourselves unlocks design possibilities and unexpected outcomes.
“Ever since being introduced to DIY by my father, I always begin my process away from a screen. At Two Times Elliott, we understand and heap value on having the freedom to explore and develop our abilities of self-expression. We continually question how we can re-purpose, redefine or create through testing new processes or tools. Our workshop series is vitally important to the team and me, as it gives us a space to explore and experiment without strict expectations or constraints and pushes us to grow within our commercial practice.
— Curtis Rayment, Middleweight Designer
Being in front of a screen each day for eight hours is the reality for many designers. We discussed new approaches, methods and tools we could utilise to support new forms of experimentation and expression.
Tool, Noun (1): a device or implement, especially one held in hand, used to carry out a particular function; anything manipulated to perform an operation or a means to an end.
A tool, by convention, is used to help perform a specific job and is defined as an implement used by hand to carry out a particular function, meaning that almost anything can be used as a tool. It’s also an essential part of the making process; it’s not visible or part of the end product yet you can see the traces of its use.
We needed to find a tool outside of our daily use that would allow us to construct and mark-make freely; this is when we came across the universal architect template ruler. Used in architectural drawings, these rulers are great tools in helping with automation and precision. We worked with an architect’s mindset, deconstructing and reconstructing glyphs like building blocks. These devices enabled us to investigate and explore the possibilities of type experiments, championing the journey of type design as a continual rather than a final process.
The workshop ran in three sessions:
In the first session, each member was given a selection of rulers, pens and a stack of paper and asked to create a set of letterforms and alphabets. This first session’s outcomes helped us identify three rules/methods that were the most successful, which informed the second workshop session; modularity, addition and subtraction.
The results of the second session were surprisingly richer than the first, and we could see how beneficial and freeing creating our limitations and protocol enriched the final results.
The last session was an opportunity to collaboratively create a final publication with the previous explorations and designs.
These outputs were then scanned, edited and converted into digital files – ready to be collated into a book and printed over the coming weeks. The book will showcase our explorations and act as a tool to make other tools, as its format will allow the reader to deconstruct further and reconstruct letterforms. Stay tuned!