Responses by Judith Mayer, illustrator
Background: Now in its third year, the Avondale Type Company (ATC) Artist Series is an illustrated exploration of the alphabet, featuring more than 50 illustrators from over fifteen countries. The premise is simple. Using one ATC typeface, an artist interprets two letters, one symbol and the ATC logo, in any way she sees fit. The posters are designed to promote the fonts offered by ATC.
Reasoning: I chose to use the typeface ATC Harris, a monospaced sans serif, because I was charmed by the two-story lowercase g and the ampersand. The monospacing means that normally narrow characters are nice and wide in order to fill the space. I didn’t want to create a “mug shot” front view of each glyph, so I created a feeling of three-dimensional space by changing the angle of the letters, and then explored how highlight and shadow can inform the viewer about that space.
Challenges: Getting the color to vary enough between each piece to make them stand apart, yet still hold together as a series. With so many colors in every piece, I had to finish them simultaneously, changing colors in one and then another, going back and forth until they felt right.
Favorite details: It was so much fun working with a saturated, limited color palette. Creating a dimensional space with these flat colors and pushing my style in a new direction gave me a lot of satisfaction.
Anything new: I learned to let go of being literal about an implied light source and just have fun with the imaginary space and composition. Visual influences: I was inspired by psychedelic posters. I used a lot of colors with similar intensity next to each other so they would create some vibration.
Time constraints: I had 45 days to complete the series, which gave me more time to make thumbnail sketches of ideas. I felt very sure about my choice going into the final sketching and execution, because I had put all my random ideas down on paper first to get them all out of my head. The final illustrations came together fairly quickly, and I spent much of my time on the colorway.
Specific demands: Beyond featuring three glyphs and the logo, ATC gave no constraints to imagery, which made it easier to get creative and experiment with new approaches.