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Edinburgh College of Art – Externality

Edinburgh College of Art – Externality

For the D&AD »New Blood Awards 2023« I worked on a brief by google fonts and Hoffmitz Milken Center for Typography. The general idea of the brief was to create a type-led activism campaign. The content of which was the designers own choice. I choose to act on the importance of LGBTQ+ recognition and acknowledgement. I therefor recreated the colourful, sparkly fun that pride marches are but at the same time informed about the seriousness of some of the problems LGBTQ+ people have to deal with in their every day life. The aim of this project is to convince potential allies to act on this topic.

Week 1 // getting to know the briefs

The aim of this week was to choose between two briefs of the D&AD New Blood Awards. They were the following: 

Google fonts  – The brief that leads the way through type-led activism

What’s the challenge?
Typography has the power to make words matter, to facilitate change, create awareness and a call to action. Choose an issue that compels you and makes you care deeply. Bring this issue to life in a way that is engaging for your audience. Create a typographically-led campaign that is a call to action or raises awareness of your subject. 

Present a typography-led graphic design campaign, using Google Fonts, that includes: 

At least three posters, 

At least one digital element, 

At least one non-traditional touchpoint. 

The non-traditional touchpoint should be an innovative solution, unrestricted by commercial factors, and inspired by your ideas.

Hey Jane – The brief that raises your local area's awareness of abortion

This brief also requested a campaign about the headlines topic. As I chose to work on the google fonts task  I won't get into more detail about this topic.

1. New Blood Awards 2023 - Google Fonts _ HMCT Brief.pdf PDF 1. New Blood Awards 2023 - Google Fonts _ HMCT Brief.pdf

Week 2 // choosing a brief

I chose to work on the google fonts task. This was the ten reasons why:

  1. Typography is one of my design interests and I'm curious to only work with typography

  2. The chance to take a deep dive into Google fonts – variable fonts & the Noto sans project interest me

  3. The positivity of the general topic social activism

  4. The task is really very open – I could chose from any social activism and that makes the project a very passionate one.

  5. Some of my personal interests on this topic –    

  6. Climate change & green travel, 

  7. LGBTQ+ rights

  8. Working with print media for the posters is one of my design strengths and main interests

  9. I love incorporating something interactive  and the non traditional touchpoint part of the task lets me do that.

  10. When working on a project I like to go with my initiative ideas and for this project I felt inspired by pride marches and poster signs and slogans. I would love to create some sort of toolkit for creating a poster sign.

The pechekucha attached shows inspiration and some personal work of mine according to the ten points listed

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Week 3 // personal claim & researching

Personal Claim

I decided to create my project around LGBTQ+ solidarity. This topic is important to me personally because it is a big topic in my own social circle. I personally am in consent with the theory that gender is constructed. Sex, gender and sexual orientation are not conditional on each other. Explaining my beliefs and gender theories especially to my family I experienced understanding and even consent. That made me think other people might act the same if only they did some research or had someone pointing them into that direction. So with that in mind I started creating the campaign.

Research on LGBTQ+ Rights 

For that I found some numbers & charts that I wanted to work with about general LGBTQ+ rights issues. I also contacted the pride society of the UoE specifically for resources on UK and Scotlands and got a few paper and website recommendations. 

I've highlighted some facts out of different categories that I could work with:

  • [Living situation] Almost one in five LGBT people have experienced homelessness at some point in their lives

  • [Health] One in seven LGBT people have avoided treatment for fear of discrimination because they’re LGBT

  • [Discrimination] More than a third of LGBT staff have hidden that they are LGBT at work for fear of discrimination

  • [Education] Almost half of LGBT disabled students have been the target of negative comments or conduct from other students.

  • [Hate Crime] Two in five trans people have experienced a hate crime or incident because of their gender identity.

  • [Sex education] Just one in five LGBT pupils have been taught about safe sex in relation to same-sex relationships.

  • [Global world] The death penalty for same-sex relationships is either ‘allowed’, or evidence of its existence occurs, in 11 of these countries.

  • [Sports] One in eight LGBT people avoid going to the gym or participating in sports groups because of fear of discrimination and harassment

Analysis on google fonts (key findings)

Their main filter allows me to filter Sans, Serif, Monspace, Handwriting and Display fonts.
One of their biggest projects is the Noto Sans project where they try to create one typeface for every written language in the world. I found the Noto Emoji Typeface that I wanted to include in my design.
They are gradually expanding their variable Typefaces.

Analyses on LGBTQ+ Poster signs
There are a lot of puns, cute or slightly sexualised slogans that often don't seem to fit the seriousness of the problems they address. 
Posters are always individually crafted. They are happy signs, have a lot of color, glitter and sparkle and sometimes little drawings.

Week 4 // general specs & concept

Target group

My target group will be people that are not affected by problems the LGBTQ+ community has because they are not or not yet part of it. They ideally never have been on a pride march but generally sympathise with ideals of the community.


I've decided to work on three posters in a bus stop landscape format to reach my target group. I will also design a website for creating poster signs to bring the idea of creating an individual crafty poster into the project. 
The overall design will combine the colourful and fun pride with the seriousness of everyday problems the LGBTQ+ community has. 

The posters will consist of three main elements:

  1. The poster sign Slogan as the Showpiece

  2. An information or fact

  3. A Call to Action


The general idea of the project is to convince my target group to show their solidarity towards the LGBTQ+ community by getting into action, create ones personal poster sign and post and share what they created. By that I want to add to lgbtq+ recognition and acknowledgement.


From an early start I wanted to work with slogans that felt like a series of slogans because I felt that would keep the posters together as a series aswell. I decided to work with slogans starting with „Love is…“


First design draft for the project

Week 5 // midterm presentation

Week 6 // design process – struggling with structure

In this week I finally put everything together. I experimented with some possible backgrounds and thought about the main structure of the posters. I also did some tests with the colorsheme I was going to use.

After The Feedback session I struggled a lot with the feedback I got to look more into swiss type. I really wanted to recreate the pride march fun and I couldn't get the straight and structured swiss type style into my concept. I also got stuck on what type to use because I wanted something bold and striking but then google fonts provides a lot of clean and uniform typefaces that I would normally only use in continuous texts.
Then thirdly and I think in connection to the other two problems I struggled a lot on creating a consistent and clear look because I had too many ideas and too many elements I wanted to put on my posters. There was the slogan, emojis, pride colors, crafty look, very serious data facts and link to an interactive website that felt just to different and in conflict of what's the most important on the poster. I especially couldn't figure out a way to incorporate the individual crafty character I wanted to have without it overpowering the shocking data facts.
I had to take a step back again and work without color to structure my project and focus on the main issue – working with typography.
How I solved all of these problems was mainly by talking about the project with various people. By that I could firm up what I was actually going to create. I wrote down a clear hierarchy and requestioned the purpose of every single element in conversation with others and put them together again. I realised I needed something to connect the fun slogan and – the very opposite – serious data fact rather then visualising the contrast they create which was the original idea. I decided to add more typography – a provocational question for the reader, dependent on the slogan being used.  Finally I ditched the original idea of the slogan starting with „Love is…“ because that restricted me a lot and didn't feel fit to the data facts. I also felt like the posters would be seen as a series without the slogans being similar. I decided individual slogans depending on the data facts. From there I started adding color again.

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Week 7 // design process – creating the posters

Hierarchy and Typeface

The typeface I'm working with is the Anybody Variable font. Getting back to my Research I've decided the trend of variable fonts makes it possible to incorporate the personal touch poster signs always have. Anybody lets me control the weight and what is more the width als well. So it gives me a lot of freedom to create a bold and striking type I needed for my posters. To bring the idea of a personal handcrafted style even further I've replaced some of the letters with Emojis from the Noto Sans Project also from my Research on google fonts. By incorporating them into the slogan itself I gave them an unmissable purpose on the poster. They add to the bold and striking type I was aiming for and add something fun to the posters.

Second in the hierarchy comes a question asking the reader something provocative about the pride slogan and by that linking the slogan with the very serious information that comes third in the hierarchy. Making the question fade out a bit by increasing the letter spacing makes it stand out from the slogan and a bit more curious. By that it should read almost like a question not daring to be asked because the answer should, by any ethical beliefs humans share, be NO. The design of the informational data fact is deliberately very clear and simple as it is supposed to stand on its own. 

The forth and last text on the poster is the link to the website where one can create their own poster. It comes last in hierarchy. 


After creating type I came back to the tests I did working with colors and added a flowing gradient in the rainbow colors of the pride flag to make it a LGBTQ+ recognisable poster. For that I created a gradient overlay in photoshop using a pastel version of the original pride flag colors. I decided to work with pastel colors instead of the original way more saturated colors because I wanted to create an iridescent look on the poster. It felt like adding some of the glitter and shine of pride marches. The idea behind the flowing gradient shape I went for is to visualise a finding of each other and connecting with each others similar beliefs as well as the inseparable bright colors  and very different sexual orientations, gender identities and gender expressions every single person in the universe has.




Week 8 // design process – website concept

General process

Working on the website was probably the most difficult part of my project because I seldom work on digital formats. It was a challenge for me to create a prototype in figma.


When thinking about social activism and especially pride marches one of the things that everyone loves is thinking about fun slogans and creating their own colorfull posters. The idea for the website is create a tool for people who are maybe not that creative but still want their posters to look individual and striking. On the website one can create posters in the  campaigns style. This is the drawn up concept of my intuitive first idea for the project, to create „some sort of“ toolkit for people to create poster signs. The Website is interactive and lets one chose a slogan, emojis to replace some of the letters in the slogan and a gradient in the colors of different pride flags. The website I created is only a concept for a website. It is not programmed.

Custom additions to the project

Apart from some additional LGBTQ+ quotes I added to the website to set creating a poster on the website into a context of relevance of this action I also added slogans, more emojis and gradients to the project because I basically wanted to have more options one could chose from to make every created poster more individually. 

For all of the three I went back to my research. For the slogans I chose three additions from a long list of slogans I created in the beginning.
For the emojis I looked into the whole typeface again and decided on more emojis to add. For example I highlighted the umbrella, cloverleaf and the cloud with lightning because they all looked similar to the shape of a „T“.
Creating more gradients was the most time consuming but also the thing I felt most passionate about. Before starting the project I knew there are a lot of pride flags one could identify with. The Rainbow flag probably being the most well known. For this project I researched the lot. I always like my projects to be a bit educational. Like on the posters there are the little written facts about collected data from the LGBTQ+ community I wanted to use the website to educate the people that are interested about all of the different pride flags. I created 17 additional custom gradients showing a pastel version of the colors of umbrella flags, sexual orientation flags and Gender Identity & Gender Expression flags and included descriptive texts about the flags.

Week 9 // design process – website process

Working with figma

A lot of my creative friends work with figma. I've also worked with it for presentations and general exchange in group work before but I always felt like it would be worth using it for a bigger project. So I wanted to use this project as an opportunity to get to know the program better. For creating the concept and a design I found figma very helpful, however when it came to prototyping It didn't find using it as easy. Because it is an interactive website and you can chose from various different options that would affect later decisions. For example if one would chose a slogan then that specific slogan would have custom emojis to replace letters and that decision would affect what's on the images when choosing a gradient. So I had to do some adjustments to the interactions in order to make the prototyping work. The biggest would be that the letters one could change into emojis are preset per slogan. I originally wanted to give the creating person as much freedom as possible. Even then and with the help of interface designer friends of my social circle I wasn't able to prototype a fully working website.

Finished product

The website I created is only a concept for a website. Which means it only ever properly works if you use one specific default user path. You will only get this default content per decision. But I think it still transports the general idea of the website. Like in the real design world the next step would be working with a programmer to really make the website work.



Week 10 // creating stickers


The website already feels like a mix of a non-traditional touchpoint and a digital element on its own. However to round up the projects I came up with additional stickers as another non-traditional touchpoint. I think the idea of stickers being a medium to place everywhere and spread the message on every street corner fits the project. The stickers only have the slogans and the rainbow gradient on them as that is the highest hierarchy and the main message the project is sending.


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Week 11 // project portfolio and conclusion

Looking back I would say working with typography is still one of my main interests as a graphic designer. I would also say it still takes a lot of time for me to design with typography as the main component. I personally feel like it is a bit stiff and not too easy to handle but I always love the challenge of working with type and with more projects in I would eventually start working quicker using only Type. 

I also feel vindicated what I already experienced before when working on a project – working with a digital format such as a website doesn't come easy to me at all. But I enjoyed the challenge of working with figma. It took a lot of logical thinking to make the prototyping work. I also think the best way for me to work on digital formats is how I actually worked in this project – by asking and including interface designers in the process.

Lastly by being stuck on bringing everything together in the middle of the semester I actually learned a lot about how I work best and quickest. It helps me in my process a lot to talk about my project and problems I'm facing with different people from different industries – by that I mean not only the design industry. I will however say that I want to work on my presentational and especially pitching skills.

All in all I'm very happy with what I created. I personally gained an understanding of working with variable fonts and what the perks of that can be. I also learned a lot about what fonts google fonts provides which I think is very useful for future projects. The website is something I find might be worth getting into a next step of actually creating together with a programmer.


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Sommersemester 2023