Type Tuesday: Typography for Bowlers

Graphic designer Grace Patridge is a designer to watch. Her portfolio presents interesting and smart projects. The quality of content and attention to detail more than compensate for the fact that many of the pieces are student projects. Trained in printmaking and fine arts in Calgary, Grace then attended the Emily Carr Institute of Art & Design in Vancouver and completed a Bachelor of Design. Most recently, Grace lived in The Hague, where she worked in a design studio and also was a part-time bookbinder. I had the pleasure of meeting Grace when she stopped by UPPERCASE a little while ago. Back from the Netherlands, she wasn't staying put in Calgary -- she was on her way to San Francisco where she has a design internship with Chronicle Books. (She's living my alternate life fantasy!)

I asked Grace about one of the memorable projects in her portfolio, "Typography for Bowlers": 

It is one of my favourite student projects. The assignment was to create strong analogies between typography and an outside, unrelated topic as a way to better understand the function of typographic details. So, no, it's not actually for bowlers; it's for designers.

I chose bowling mostly because I enjoyed the humour of comparing something as refined and intricate as typography, with a sport with such clunky and kitchy associations. Also, the retro visual language found within bowling alleys is something fun to be inspired by. I selected 10 principles (one for each pin) of typography and connected each with a particular of bowling. For example, type size is as important as shoe size; the leading of text is like the lanes of an alley; kerning is as important as the space between pins; the alignment of text is like setting yourself up for a spare; hanging punctuation teeters into the margin like a ball about to roll into the gutter, etc. Some of the analogies are conceptual and some are more visual.

This project was fun because it gave me the opportunity to combine many of my interests, typography, book design, writing, and analogies. (No, bowling is not one of my serious interests.) Through it I learned that there actually is quite a bit of finesse and skill to bowling that is overlooked by most people ... just like typography. One day I will refine it, as it was something that I created early on in my design education.

I wish Grace much success and happiness in San Francisco and look forward to seeing more of her work.