Brutalist Bus Stops, 1991
Brutalist bus stops meet new and exciting mediums for graphic design and typography.
Project Overview
The challenge was to use an existing book, taking the topic of the book, and completely redesigning the inside of the book (to be as perfect as possible), do the same for a digital book experience, design the cover, a calendar and finally a grand poster. I chose to do a book called "Soviet Bus Stops" by Christopher Herwig, taking inspiration from the brutalist architecture in the bus stops.
My Contributions
This is one of the few solo projects I got to do. Meaning, I was solely responsible for all aspects of this project, with the help and guidance from my professor Sohee Kwon and critique from classmates throughout the project.
My Roles
Graphic Design
Team Members
Professor Sohee Kwon
Class critiquers
Book Cover
20 Book Spreads Physical
20 Book Spreads E-book
Three Calendars
1 Final poster
10 weeks
The Problem
How can one make typography so interesting that it is no longer read as type, but as a beautiful form in itself? How can one make reading a book enjoyable, easy and fast by manipulating tracking and more? This was the problem of this project, to use typography in ways that are exciting, intriguing and fascinating. Yet at the same time, staying true to certain graphic design rules that improve the user experience of reading a book, calendar or poster.
The Book Inside Exploration
This was the first part of the project, and was largely an exercise of how perfect we could get large amounts of text inside of a book. This was really about choosing great layouts, and challenging ourselves with 20 pages of information, fit without rivers, runts, orphans and more.
The Book Inside
Overall, 20 pages were completed, but here are just a few.
The Book Cover
Using the topic we chose, we created new book covers, and inside sleeves. This time, getting to experiment more with layout and composition, but maintaining legibility as well as readability.
The E-book
We then started from scratch, using the same information and photos, with completely new E-book layouts. Here are a few.
Calendar Exploration
The calendars, based on the same topic, allowed us to go even further outside of the box. Experimenting not only with layout, composition, and type, but also experimenting with medium. I chose to first design the calendars in Illustrator, then take those designs to be laser cut onto acrylic and MDF. And lastly pour concrete onto the laser cuts, to create an everlasting calendar (3 times). Going with the theme of brutalism in architecture, being found in an unexpected place like the soviet countryside bus stops, I thought it was fitting to create real concrete calendar tablets to complement my topic. This was my first time pouring concrete in this way.
There was a total of six calendars, I chose to take my best photos of three, and you can find images of both concrete and acrylic pours.
Poster Exploration
As the end of the quarter came around, we had the task of experimenting with typography as much as we could in a poster. Our 20" x 30" poster was to be constructed without use of a photo, but generating our grid from found photography related to the topic. That meant the entire poster was made of just shapes created from typography. I decided to experiment more with color and typography, as my previous projects on the topic were very reserved color and typography to fit with the theme of brutalist concrete architecture. However, there is a side of the bus stops that was infrequent, colorful mosaics found around the soviet union. That is where I drew inspiration for the final posters.
The posters are all similar, one poster was required but I was having so much fun that I created three iterations on this grid.
Brutalist Bus Stops, 1991
Enjoy some of the best photos of the pieces.
Reflecting on the project
This was one of the most fun and educational classes that I have ever taken related to graphic design. I loved the experimentation involved with each project, while still sticking to strict graphic design principles, rules and otherwise, to create books that are enjoyable to read and look at. With typography that is treated correctly, not distorted or warped in ways that are destruction and disrespectful to the found typeface. It really shows how much can be used within the topic of typography to generate graphic design in different mediums.
Looking back on these projects, I would change a lot. I felt that the insides of the books never reached perfection in terms of eliminating rivers, runts and otherwise. Given more time I would definitely continue to perfect that. And with the calendars, I plan to take even more photos of the concrete prints. Soviet bus stops are inherently outdoors, so the next photoshoot I do will follow suit. Lastly the poster was something I felt like I personally could push the farthest. It was really about taking this idea I created and pushing it to be as perfect as possible. It really is an organized chaos, but I feel that given more time I could have made it more organized and less chaotic, to attract a broader audience. At this point in time the design is compelling, but not enticing to read.