Quick Draw Round 8Feb 2nd, 2011 | By Nikita | Category: Feature, Quick Draw
Hello everyone, and happy February! I apologize this Quick Draw post is a few days late, but yours truly escaped the cold weather for several days and came back late Monday morning. But if you still think it should’ve been posted on time, please direct your comments to our new complaint department. I’m sure they’ll be happy to take care of any issues you may have.
For the latest Quick Draw, Sharath Kumar and Homero Larrain were asked to take on the word perestroika. Keep reading to find out more about their process, results, and any other challenges they may have encountered! [NOTE: All designs are copyrighted by the respective artists. We have permission to post them here, but you must get permission from the artist for any other use of their design, or to post them elsewhere.]
At first, when I received this challenge, I thought this was a very cool word to work on. I always liked russian constructivist posters, but for some reason I’ve never done any ambigrams in this style, so first thing I did was a quick search for Russian posters for inspiration.
I experimented with some different styles, but I knew that in order to convey a soviet aura to the ambigram, I had to try to use capital letters with a mono-weight lettering style. Amongst other ideas, I experimented with using a reflected R, to give the design a Russian feeling. After some attempts, I thought that STRO was a good starting point. The trick here was one that many ambigrammists seem to use a lot: focus on the upper part of the word, because it features the most recognizable elements of the letters. That’s why that O (kind of) works, even if it’s still shaped as an S.
Then I started working on Photoshop. I wasn’t very happy with my first results; first of all (and probably the most important) this design was very difficult to read. I also wasn’t convinced by the letter height and spacing (like that tight ERE in contrast to that wide K), or by the shape of some particular letters (mainly the K). On my second attempt, I lowered the letters and modified the height of the middle bar of both E’s. I liked better how the K looked now, but the I looked like a reflected E. In a different context this might work, but in a Russian poster a reflected E is read as an E. Also, the P dindn’t convinced me either, and the first letter is, at least in my opinion, the most important one for the ambigram to work. If you can’t figure out the beginning of a word, it’s very unlikely you’ll be able to read it. On the other hand, if you can read the first half of a word, your mind is able to predict the rest of it.
On my third attempt I thought I was almost ready, but something was missing at the center of the word… I realized two things: the T would be easier to read if I extended its stem (also making the two R’s more consistent), and bringing back the dot of the I would help avoiding readers to see it as an E. In addition, these changes attracted the attention to the upper side of the design, helping the O to look as an O instead of an S.
Perestroika! (restructure, rebuild), what an amazing word. As soon as I got the word I took my paper and pen and started looking for the combination I should go for. The word had ‘O’ in it. So I decided to choose the best letter to tackle ‘O’ with and to my look ‘e’ was right at the place. So, I decided to go with ‘T’ at center. ‘A/P’ solution is well known. I had tackled ‘R/S’ quite a few times. ‘er\ik’ looked to be little tricky but not too much. So, there was no blocking letter in the design and I had do give a nice design.
Image1 shows the initial few sketches on the paper. I decided not to go for all upper case or all lower case rule but to concentrate on the consistency of letters first. ‘E’, and ‘R’ were the repeating letters and I was converting them to ‘O’ and ‘ik’. I came up with the solution shown in image1 (half drawn).
Then it is to do with implementation. I use inkscape to implement. Image2 shows the imported picture on inkscape. Image3 is after completing the version1 of the implementation. Size of letter ‘e’ and ‘o’ were very small in size. So I had to arrange the letters to hide the awkwardness.
Finally I came up with image4. When I asked my friend to read it, he struggled to read it properly. It was disappointing to me but I had made up my mind that image4 is the final version. I gave some effects and drew the background to give a feel of what the word mean and my done with my final version image8.
I wasn’t too happy with the final version. Though I succeeded to maintain the consistency of letters to some extent, the overall feel wasn’t pleasing. ‘O’ had the feel of ‘a’ and ‘k’ wasn’t strong. So I started scribbling few more designs. Image5, image6 and image7 are the outcome of it. I was satisfied with image7 and hence decided to submit them. Image8 still remains my final version to maintain the true spirit of Quick Draw.
Dear Homero and Sharath, thank you for tackling such a challenge word and making another Quick Draw a success! The next pair has already been notified…