Rockwell Poster Paragraphs

Paragraph 1: Information about the designer

The Rockwell typeface in the incarnation we know today was produced in 1934 by the Monotype Machine Corporation under the hand of Frank Hinman Pierport, a veteran type designer of the period. The Monotype Machine Corporation was founded by Tolbert Lanston in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1887. It remains a prominent type foundry to this day, being the home of such fonts as Times New Roman, Arial and Grill Sans. Their font library, developed over the past 100 years is renowned for its strength and depth in book printing and newspaper publishing.

Paragraph 2: Information about the typeface

Rockwell is a slab-serif typeface. Its geometric design, with perfectly round circular letter-forms and no slant in ascenders of decenders gives it a mechanical precision. It was, infact, designed for metal machine printing originally. It’s monoline construction, with little or no differentiation between stroke weight gives it a bold, heavyset appearance. These attributes gives Rockwell a similar style to common sanserif typefaces of the period, such as Franklin Gothic and Futura. A mark of how popular the typeface has remained, is the fact that it has been widely digitised to make it more accessible. It’s main distributors include Adobe, Fontshop and Linotype.

Paragraph 3: The context of its use

Rockwell is a bold, weighty typeface which makes a deep impression on a page. For this reason it is ideal for short headings and logos. It’s attention grabbing and so in small doses can be highly effective at drawing the eye of a reader. For this reason it’s widely used in product logos, ranging from Malibu Rum to Marshall Amplifiers, as well as numerous posters and book and magazine covers. What makes Rockwell so effective in this context is the contrast it brings to a page. It’s boldness and slab-serif design, however, makes it impractical for large bodies of text. It’s non calligraphic nature gives it a clunky look and would take away from the enjoyment of a reader if it was used too extensively.


Constellation – Sustainable Practice 1/8

This blogpost is written directly as the course is being taught.

  • All content available on Moodle
  • Refer to constellation handbook (assignments etc)
  • Session 3-5pm
  • Group Tutorial 5-6pm – Sign up via Moodle

House Rules

  • No definitive answers
  • No right or wrong
  • No ‘good’ narrative. Everything is up for discussion


  • Not about showing you things, about showing you how to look
  • Prior knowledge is welcome


assignment 1 question:

How does sustainability affect your practice? (1000 words) 

Sustainability Practice – Thesis

  • Problems based around unsustainability since Industrial Revolution.
  • We got too good at making and consuming
  • World was improved but there were consequences
  • Economy is now characterised in linear fashion (take-make-waste)
  • Fast consumption, lots of waste – unsustainable

Emulating consumption -Factor 4 – We would need 4 times as much earth resources if the world world consumed like us.

‘Humanity has the ability to make development sustainable to ensure that it meets the needs of present witout compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs’ (Bruntland 1987)

Circular Economy

This is what we should aspire to, moving to a more sustainable approach.

issues with this include –

  • Profit comes from consumption, through it is good so slowing things down is a bad thing, reluctance from companies.
  • If you design something to last, people will be a new one less frequently

Artists and designers have a significant influence of consumption and the debate

  • Designers create posters and media to change minds
  • Product designers produce thing created by the million

The rise of unsustainability

Birth of the industrial and economic paradigm

Pre-Industrial times

  • Subsistence based economy – organised around meeting basic needs – Food, Heat, Security
  • Production was cottage industry, things consumed were made locally
  • Products harmonious with nature, made sustainable
  •  Economy was agricultural
  • Problem was – no machines, no healthcare etc. Laborious work all the time.

The Enlightenment

  • Intellectual movement of late 17th and early 18th century
  • Until this point, there was no autonomy, people played assigned role and nothing more.
  • Scientific Revolution – Scientific Method transformed culture, able to test things properly to see if commonly held beliefs were true
  • Isaac Newton– Mathematic Principles of Natural Philosophy (1687)
  • Law of Gravity
  • 3 Laws of Motion
  • Our relationship with our environment changed, we started seeing the world s a resource more.


  • Phase of development with modern industrial economics proceeded
  • Key Developments – 1689 Bill of Rights, Bank of England selling and credit introduced 1694, Stock Exchange started up
  • Catalyst to Colonisation – began with trade routes, we had money to begin colonising
  • This mechanism of trade spread industrialisation across the first world (Europe, America)

Early Industrialisation


  • Jethro Tull -Horse drawn seed drill, revolutionised the efficiency and product created from farming (1701)


  • John Kays Wheeled Shuttle patented (1733) Twice as fast as old way
  • James Hargreves Spinning Jenny made production of a worker 8x faster

The Birth of Market Economy and Capitalism

  • Adam Smith – Key enlightenment figure
  • Advocate of free market economy  in his book
  • Idea that market should be self run and not government run.

Law of Self Interest – Create a product to benefit yourself, but you’re also offering a product to society.

Law of competition – If one person overcharges, another will create the product at a cheaper price, so it’s self regulating

First Industrial Revolution (circa 1750-1870)

  • Characterised by capital goods – goods that help do things, machines for factories that in turn create consumable products. Powered looms, water pumps etc
  • Production moved from cottage industry to factories, massive demographic reorganisation.
  • Switch from renewables to steam and coal energy – we needed more intensive energy source to create more quickly

Backlash to Industrial Revolution

  • Effects on quality of life, pollution etc


Second Industrial Revolution

  • Economics of Scale – the more produced, the more companies need to produce to make a profit because products are cheaper, the more that are bought as they’re cheaper and the more need building to keep up with demand and so on.
  • Henry Ford mastered the production line
  • Standardised parts
  • unskilled labour was used
  • Moving assembly line, improved efficiency
  • This increase in production capability meant people could more afford the product
  • More people who buy cars, the more they can do, they can get around and more can be produced by this.
  • In the 1900’s mass production and greater wealth meant markets were saturated. So much money and employment that people stopped needing more things at the rte they were available – Consumerism is born!
  • The flow of resources must continue so companies start building things people want as well as the things they need because they must continue to sell vast amounts.
  • Henry Ford quickly brought out six models of car to satisfy peoples desires rather than just their needs.


Assignment: 300 word essay on the day’s lecture

To begin our lecture Huw Wulliams explained the ethos of the class. The idea isn’t to come to definitive, objective truths, but to produce our own narrative based on the perspective with which we view a particular subject. The course is not supposed to be about what we come to think, but how we arrive at things and how we approach subjects.

Sustainable practice is all about how we as graphic designers view and have influence on the world around us. Sustainability is a hot topic at the moment with the world’s population and resource consumption expanding exponentially. The lecture focused on the origins unsustainability, the forces that perpetuate it and what can be do to curb our seemingly insatiable need for ever greater expansion and consumption.

The first thing we looked at was a concept called a ‘circular economy’, which as a sustainable practices course is our goal. Our current economy being  a ‘linear economy’ where we build, use and dispose on huge quantities of resources. The circular economy revolves around the idea of re-use and recycling. Resources are collected, consumables created, used and then reused or turned into new things. This results in less waste and less demand for new resources to be added into the system.

We learned of origins of our linear economy during the industrial revolutions, of how our ability to gather more resources and be more efficient through technological advancement led to greater prosperity and this in turn drove a greater need for resources. The capitalist model that came from the enlightenment of the late 17th and early 18th century lead to a freedom of endeavour through the establishment of free markets.People were no longer subject to a ruling family running a countries economy, with individuals stuck in one role, as they had been for so long. Anyone who could satisfy a demand would rep rewards and with that new found prosperity could create demand, with new industries being created to supply that. This cycle is system of capitalism. The rule of self interest, you create a good or perform a service for your own benefit but the good or service benefits society. This self perpetuating system saw the beginnings of exponential growth that continues today.

The problem with the exponential nature of this system is that towards the beginning of the 1900’s the ability of industry to supply became so efficient that demand couldn’t keep up. In essence, people had all they needed and there was no one to buy all this stuff being created. This led to the birth of consumerism. People’s prosperity was such that they could afford all the things they needed and had money left that wasn’t being put back in to the system. Companies therefore began to advertise consumer goods instead. A good example of this is Henry Ford’s first mass production car, the Model T. When it launched it came in a single colour and style. But it was quickly realised that these vehicles weren’t simply being bought out of necessity, there was a real market in introducing a wide variety of vehicles for people to choose their favourite. Varying colours and styles of Ford’s were introduced to tempt people who didn’t necessarily need a car to buy one because they wanted one.This was also driven by the free market. If two producers are offering the same product, to gain the upper hand, diversifying your product will draw in people who want more choice and give you the edge over your competition.

I have learnt a great deal about the nature of our economy. It’s obvious advantages in terms of prosperity and advancement and it’s major downsides that include its blatant unsustainability.




Rockwell Posters Research

In this blogpost I will explore Rockwell’s use in posters and hope to get inspiration for my own project.

Image result for rockwell posters
An interesting I found on Pinterest

I love this piece.  It has elements of Futurism and Dadaism in its combination of randomness and vitality, yet still with a clear geometric leaning.  This geometry comes from the straight, bold lines of the typeface and its slab-serifs.  The poster gives the impression of being filled to bursting, while not appearing cluttered.  The spacing between letters is just right.It’s interesting how the lettering is so jumbled, yet it still clearly reads ‘Rockwell Typeface’.I will definitely be referring frequently to this piece to help me create my own

.The next piece I found follows some of the same design structure as the first. But it also, to my mind, improves on them. The addition of a third colour in to the mix makes it very eye catching while still being clean and crisp. An effect aided by the bold, geometric font it’s highlighting. It also has a feeling of something carefully designed to look random, yet still be very orderly. The jaunty angle is something I really appreciate, as my work so far has been laid out left to right and level, akin to a book.

The poster is packed with information and every single character of the font and even has a depiction of, what I assume to be the type-face’s creator Frank Hinman Pierpont. I want my poster to combine crisp, clean lines and elegant spacing, while still bursting with imagery and intrigue.

Rockwell Typeface Research

The first website I am visiting for my research is called Typedia.  It simply categorises and gives a brief overview of the typeface and its history.

Research Paragraph 1: Provide historical insight into the type designer

  • The original Rockwell was produced by the Inland type foundry in 1910, which issued it as Litho Antique; American Type Founders revived the face in the 1920s.
  • The Monotype Corporation produced its version of Rockwell in 1934, and that is the typeface commonly referred to by Rockwell today.
  • Frank Hinman Pierpont was the man behind the 1934 incarnation of the typeface.

Monotype Corporation

  • The Monotype Corporation is home to some of the most popular and influential typefaces ever created, including Times New Roman, Arial and Grill Sans
  • Many of these typeface designs were created under the direction of Stanley Morrison, the famous British Typographer.
  • This font library, developed over the last 100 years, is known for its depth and strength in book printing and newspaper publishing.

Frank Hinman Pierport

  • Lived 1860-1937
  • By 1894, he was working for Loewe AG in Berlin, where the Typograph typesetting machine was designed.
  • He was director of the Typograph typesetting machine factory from 1896.
  • He moved to England in 1899 and became foundry manager at Monotype.

Research Paragraph 2: Information about the typeface

  • Rockwell is a slab-serif typeface.
  • Rockwell is a “geometric” slab-serif, with a monoline construction with all strokes appearing to be roughly the same width and its capital ‘O’ roughly circular
  • This gives it a similar impression to common sans-serif of the period like Akzidenz Grotesk, Franklin Gothic, or Futura.
  • It is influenced by a style of geometric slab serif that had become popular released around the time, including the earlier Memphis and Beton, and less similarly Stymie and City.
  • Originally the font was designed for metal, machine printed type. But it’s popularity has remained such that it has been digitised although the shadowed weight has not been.
  • Distributors of the font include Adobe,, FontShop and Linotype.

Rockwell Characteristics

Research Paragraph 3: The context in which the font is used in type

  • Companies such as Malibu Rum, Marshall Amplifiers use it on their products.  It’s also in vogue for posters and magazine advertising.

Rockwell Usage

  • Rockwell appears to be a very bold and attention grabbing font used in small doses to attract the attention of an audience.  Although it is a serif font, it is bold and heavyset, making it a poor choice for large pages of text.
  • Its non calligraphic design makes it clunky to read in more than short bursts.
Example of the full typeface





Six Word Posters, My Favourites

When we showcased our work to the class, it was done by covering an entire wall of the room with them side by side.  Until that point I had been confident that I had done all I could to my poster.  However, the level of creativity and variety was brilliant.  The vaguely defined brief had been filtered through dozens of different minds and each had come out with a different result.

A collage of our completed posters

Every creative avenue available seems to have been explored.  My own piece, white on black at the very top, was deemed solid, which I was happy with, but it was not my favourite by a long stretch.  Unfortunately, with so many pieces, I can’t remember the creator of each, but here are some I really liked.  .2016-10-10-16-30-04

This first one summarises the story of The Witches (1983).  The piece has so clearly been designed while also being wonderfully abstract and disorderly.  It looks just like the cover of a children’s book should, with large irregular type seeming to fill the page while leaving enough negative space that it doesn’t feel overly crowded.  It is lively and distinctive with excellent hybrids, such as in the word ‘Evil,’ which looks jagged and foreboding.  This is probably my favourite of the pieces I’ve seen.





One person went to extra lengths to make theirs stand out and it’s this outside the box type of thinking that I really want to develop for myself.  Their poster design summarises The BFG (1982).

I had wanted to use this book, however, I couldn’t come up with a decent six words I thought would do the story justice.  This poster hasn’t worried about recounting the events of the story and instead captures its essence.  Using the unique pseudo language of the book such as ‘whizzpopping’ and ‘human beans’ encapsulates the feeling of the story.

My other reason for picking this piece out of so many was the interesting distortion that had been applied to the poster.  I assumed some clever digital editing skills had been applied over many hours, but the page had simply been photocopied while bent out of shape slightly.  Although, in this case, it did make some of the lettering difficult to make out, I really loved the idea.

As much as I am learning directly from lectures and my own trial and error, I feel I am gaining valuable lessons from the work of those around me.  My perceptions and scope of understanding have already been expanded massively with regards to typography.

Six Word Poster Assignment

Today was our deadline for producing and printing our own six word story posters.  David had given us the task of creating a six word poster utilising hybrid typefaces of our choice to convey visually, as well as typographically a Roald Dahl book.  The only restrictions were that we must use two typefaces, one serif and one san-serif and that we must not produce imagery.  This task was designed to highlight what we had learned so far.


My poster explored the story of The Twits (1980), which tells the story of a cruel and vindictive couple who abuse animals and are aggressive to local children.  The story comes to head, literally, when after being driven mad by deception, the two are tricked into standing on their heads and being stuck there until they vanish into nothing.

My six words took a huge amount of preparation and numerous drafts.  Until a late stage of the project, I was actually going to do my poster on the book Matilda (1988).  I took a poll of the class, however, and this was the winner.

The creation of my poster was a muddled affair.  After being forced to go home over the weekend, my only resource was Adobe Photoshop, meaning half of the poster was done on that platform while the first part, on Adobe Illustrator.  I feel that having to overcome this taught me a lot, however.

My chosen fonts were  Bodoni 72 Oldstyle (serif) and Lao MN (sanserif).  I chose them for their jagged and slightly cold appearance, as I thought it fit the tone I was aiming for.  Incidentally, neither are available on my version of Adobe Photoshop, which caused a huge delay as I had to find poor quality examples on the internet and recolour them by hand.  Luckily it is not immediately visible to the eye, so I think I got away with it.

My first word doesn’t contain much descriptive power and so I simply tried my hand at meshing together my two fonts in whatever creative ways I could.  The second word, and most profound, was done by a combination of overlaying both typefaces upon one another and deforming some typefaces while adding serifs in at strange angles to give a tortured and grim feel.  I also elongated the letter-forms to make them appear stretched and gruesome.

My first happy accident came with the word ‘turned‘ when I accidentally duplicated the type and found it gave a blurred effect such as when a person’s view when they spin.  The last line was meant to illustrate the sinking, imploding forms of the two Twits as they began to disappear.  The last touch was another happy accident.  When attempting to invert the text, I inadvertently inverted the colour balance, and I decided it lent a darker texture to the poster as well as highlighting the finer details of the lettering.

Deconstructing Design in Print

After learning the formatting and placement of individual letters and words, the next stage was to begin learning about laying out pages correctly. With each area we focus on in this course, I’m amazed by the level of detail and preparation that goes into typography, the idea that a line of text being too long or a rag (the irregular or uneven vertical margin of a block of type) being ‘ugly’ can be enough to put a person off reading an article. Strangely I was so surprised by these rules verging on pedantic, that, for example ‘the optimum length for a line of text is between 39-45 letter-forms’ that they’ve quickly stuck in my mind and I’m unlikely to forget them.

As well as these simple rules, there’s an awful lot to understand about the subconscious processes that go through a readers mind immediately upon viewing a page of text. Hierarchical scanning is the process by which we quickly workout where the most valuable information is positioned, headings, subheading, quotes (usually in bold or italics). Areas are given precedence with visual queues like font size or positioning on the page. What the average person sees as a pleasingly put together page, takes a great deal of preparation and skilled workmanship.

In group we were given some magazines and asked to deconstruct their designs. This included examining the use of positive and negative spaces. The uniform column layouts for each page and simply highlighting where each feature of a given page and it’s placement. As the course progresses, I’m sure this will become a habitual practice and will become second nature. However on our first tries we we struggled. After quickly concluding the layout of our publication (eye magazine) was six columns. David had to set us straight pointing out that some pages contained more and some fewer and so the only explanation was a number that could encompass all of these, namely twelve. This all goes to show, however much I feel I’m getting a firm grasp on the subject, there will always be things to learn.