Space and meaning


My word was carbonation.

I began by trying to break down the word itself. It is rooted in the word carbon, so I thought of chemical structure and organic chemistry. I tried to form a hexagonal skeleton, but because it was hard to read, I used a bent structure instead. This became the lower-right composition. I wanted to use lowercase letters because they are rounder and more pleasing to the eye, especially the a’s. To keep the structure light-looking, I chose a thin style of font.

I chose to base my next composition (upper left) on CO2, or carbon dioxide, which is used to carbonate many sodas and soft drinks. I capitalized the C and O , and added a small subscript. I changed the sizes so that the C and O would appear larger, adjusted the baseline so that the letters would be centered vertically, and increased the tracking to again promote an air of lightness.

I thought about soft drinks next, and how the bubbles of air float about in a glass. I arranged the letters so that they were different sizes and at different baselines, to give a feeling of movement (upper right). I chose to make the C O and O the largest letters to reiterate the chemical CO2 theme. I chose a bolder, heavier font for two reasons: one, the c’s and o’s appeared rounder; two, there are often a lot of bubbles in a glass but each still has its own space. The heavier font gave each letter/bubble its own presence while increased kerning gave each letter its own space.

Finally, I wanted to capture the idea of bubbles fizzing out of a glass of soda (lower left). I could have done this through a gradual widening of the kerning between letters, or through gradient, or both. I chose to do a gradient because it communicates the idea well while still being readable (the kerning would have been distracting and uncomfortable). In addition, I wanted to keep the font light and the letters well-spaced, because you would not think something heavy could easily escape a glass.


2 thoughts on “Space and meaning

  1. First of all, I loved all your design choices.
    I felt the top-left would make an excellent logo, but wouldn’t express the idea of “carbonation” as well as the others. I would think that additional content, like light gray “o”s in the background would help better express the idea. However, like I said, I think this is an amazing piece and it’s easily my favorite :)
    As I said, I think that combining the ideas you had in the top right and bottom left would be a great piece. Also, when I think of carbonation, I think of a soda with “foam” on the top and actual liquid on the bottom, so one suggestion would be putting the lighter gray toward the top, and darker shades toward the bottom. Another idea would be making the word read vertically.
    I understand the bottom-right piece based on your description, but I feel like it would be better expressed if you distinguish the joints, and maybe make more copies.

    Good job! :D

  2. I had a great liking for the first one (top left). While at first I saw O2, but soon after I got the CO2 part, which ties in with the meaning of your word. This composition looks very sleek and clean, just like a logo. in class, I mentioned that you might want to include some bubbles (like in the Thinking With Type textbook Page 107 – “Repetition”). I felt that those bubbles suit your word more, as I think of fuzzy drinks with “carbonation”

    Top-right: I also like the way it’s fun and bubbly. But the COO (CO2) didn’t come out as clearly to me.

    Bottom-left: I felt that this doesn’t really work for me. I see the words fade away but I don’t feel the meaning for the word. Maybe instead of just making the words fade away, you can also make the words float up as though they are bubbles escaping.

    Bottom-right: As per your intention, make it look like the chemistry notation more. C — C. maybe play with scale so make the 2 Cs larger, and put the word carbonation in place of —. Currently, it looks like an inverted W

    I still think the top 2 words best for me. Maybe can try to incorporate them together?

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