12.30.2008

The Symmetry of E


A few months ago I worked on creating a calling card for someone lucky enough to have both their first and last name begin with 'E.' Now, the letter 'e' isn't necessarily exciting en and of etself,* but when such symmetry exists it provides an immediate design possibility that, at the very least, must be attempted.**

I began by playing with the arms of the uppercase E as branches on a tree diagram that would lead to words that described qualities of the client. This only really makes sense with a sans-serif font and, as I had two E forms to work with, the potential existed for six lines leading to six qualities. After laying this out in a variety of ways I realized that the idea was conceptually bloated and inappropriate for the immediacy of a calling card.
On to the next idea— an abstracted cloud formed from a staggered stack of E forms. I chose Ed Benguiat's Edwardian Script ITC because the sweeping capital E had a lyrical and classic feel, which makes sense considering the fact the Benguiat was a consummate musician who designed his typefaces in the old days when you actually had to put pen to paper to realize a font (as opposed to electronic stylus to Wacom, or pen tool to virtual art board, or however it's done these days).

The resulting shape struck me as fantastically elegant and I loved it unconditionally.


Too bad it looked like a black rain cloud. And black rain clouds are depressing. They make for very poor calling card iconography. Changing the color didn't really help either and in the end I had to accept that I'd created a lovely little design element that would only be useful in some future design project. Then I became depressed; verifying that black rain clouds really are a bummer.

In the end, another design featuring floral dingbats became the calling card and I shelved the cloud. But I can't let it go. It has taken up residence on my desktop until I find a reason for its existence. Perhaps someone will eventually want a project that emphasizes silver linings.

*The worst alliteration ever.

**Although such immediate design solutions can also be traps if you can't shake them and experiment with other ideas or forms.

2 comments:

Hannah said...

Jeffrey - have been pondering your cloud dilemma and I feel that with a well placed double 'e', as two nostrils (required to make one nose), you would have an excellent calling card for Napoleon (who was Enemy of England).

Jeffrey T. Baker said...

Hannah - After carefully considering your proposal I believe that you are correct; this graphic could work as an abstracted portrait of the man and his wild hair. However, were Napoleon to commission a calling card I'd probably be compelled to create a visual allusion to dynamite. Obviously.