In this project, I was asked to select a song that I know and understand to follow the typographical and melodious rhythm. I picked “Imagine” by John Lennon, as it is a widely known song with a unique tempo and pace to it. It suits the R&R artists socioeconomical “chilled” like state and I want to make a visually ‘dreamy’ cover not only matching the typography but also the iconography.
I selected this song based on its overall slow pace, long stretches of words and its high and low notes. This makes it easy for me to manipulate and present the words visually in a unique and legible way. E.g. When there is a long drift in a word I can stretch the type to mimic the passage of time.
After researching more about my chosen song, I found a perfect video which breaks each individual verse down:
Analysed breakdown of the songs verse melody: pre-chorus 2 bar phrase, john uses more notes – more compact
- Four 2 bar phrases
- Similar Shape
- Ends on ‘E’
- Simple – easy to understand
- Small range of notes
Earliest Ideas & Brainstorming
From the collage of photos above I can create a sense of ‘dreamy’ aesthetic which is sticking to the narrative of the song. I want to create a visually decaying and disrupted piece in a rustic texture using only minimal matte colours. I decided to look at Mary Brigid Mackey who is a small artist but creates a dreamy pastel picturesque type pieces with a limited light colour palate. Quoting her “Always use light over dark”, I will try and just do exactly that.
Concrete Poetry & Closure
This is an arrangement of typographic elements which creates visual and artistic meaning. Lewis Carroll incorporated this into her book “The Mouse’s Tale” which visually mimics the tail through converse and sporadic layering of type.
For me I want to compose a similar structure in my work. My vision is to mimic his musical thoughts in type which wraps around the author face almost appearing like a speech bubble, yet as it gets further from the authors mouth the typography gets more separated and less condensed, almost like a smouldering camp fire emitting smoke (smoke is thick as base then gradually thins out as it moves up). This can be also seen in Lewis’s ‘The Mouse’s Tale’ down below as the top of the page consists of larger characters, wider word spacing and line height while as we go down the page it gets more condensed and squashed.
Closure is one of the Gestalt principles that uses negative spaces in images to allow the human eye to naturally conform a complex image, this is commonly associated with logo design but applies to concrete poetry too. I will use this principle when making the structure and iconography of my piece.
Understanding Visual Hierarchy & Swiss Style
As well as using concrete poetry to create the structure, I want to add some sort of visual typographic hierarchy among my work. As I have been extensively covering Josef Müller-Brockmann throughout my work I feel like there’s no better time to bring his values in and incorporate it into my piece.
One of the main values of Josef’s work is that he uses weight and extreme contrasting sizes to differentiate what information is important and what is not, I want to incorporate this style into my work for the underlining purpose of “Imagine”. He also uses positioning and sometimes colour into his work too, I will consider this.
I was heavenly inspired by John Lennon own cover and the stylistic approach used. It creates a surreal and degraded front cover yet retaining simplicity with limited iconography.
Using John Lennon’s “GIMME SOME TRUTH” photograph I was able to get a perfect side shot of his face, this inspired me to trace his face in my sketches.
I ended up going with sketch two as I feel like it would look more full, more expressive and unique than sketch 1.
For my chosen font, I chose ‘Acumin Variable Concept’ as I want a modern looking typeface to go with the narrative of dreaming about the future. It is also a thin font which gives me a naked ‘artboard’ meaning it will allow me to add stroke/weight to it from the ground up. It also visually looks better than thicker fonts when it is spaced out which also mimics sense of a dream like state.
Firstly, I want to experiment with the line and character spacing, weight, height and structure using the word “Imagine”.
Breaking down the lyrics:
Looking at ‘dreamy’ art such as European sacred art, pastel landscapes and my mood board there is a coloration of a symbolic light blue sky present in throughout most creating a dream like aesthetic. For this I will use blue as the most prominent colour.
The reason why I didn’t continue with version 1’s closure design was because it conflicted too much with the light background and light parts of John Lennon’s face.