04.13.2020
Posted by Sami Lovelady
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36 Days of Type

36 days of Type...what is it?

Held once a year, 36 Days of Type is a social media-based challenge that invites designers, illustrators and graphic artists to express their design prowess and unique style by reimagining the 26 Latin letters and 10 Arabic numerals. This challenge aims to explore the open boundaries of letterforms and their endless graphic possibilities, all while maintaining a daily posting cadence.

So what did we do?

Unlike most design studios, Astro has full brand and industrial design teams capabilities. We decided that for each of the 36 days we would divide into teams of two and bring an ID/Brand collaborative approach to each entry.


We often work as cross-functional teams but every project has it's own sets of victories and challenges. Here's what our teams had to say about the endeavor.

Celia: ID / Gigi: Brand

Celia: Our process was pretty straightforward. We went away to sketch each individual letter/number on our own then came back together to discuss our ideas and build off one another. Once we finally landed on a concept for each letter, Gigi would flush out the color and composition on Procreate.

Gigi: Alternatively, sometimes Celia would jump straight into CAD and build out a wireframe as a base for me to work with. This was super helpful for deciding where to lay down colors and inspire the materials we chose. There weren't really any challenges working together except for the crazy turnaround times.

Celia: Since this was a side project for us, it was sometimes difficult executing our ideas to perfection when balancing client projects, especially when we had letters due back to back or multiple in a week. After a week, we really nailed down our process to be more streamlined and conducive to short timelines.

We used pencil and paper, Procreate, Keyshot, After Effects, and Photoshop.

Gigi: Getting to collaborate with the ID team was the most fun and unique part of this project. Seeing our 2D ideas come to life in these little 3D environments is not something I get to experience or dabble in often. It felt freeing to create whatever idea came to our minds.

Celia: It's great collaborating with the graphic team. I love combining our creativity and inspiration and witnessing how we took ideas so far, free from gravity and any major constraints for this project in particular!

Jaee: ID / Neha: Brand

Jaee: It was a great project to work on, and I think everything we did worked smoothly. Neha and I would discuss ideas through light sketches before moving into Illustrator and Rhino. We divided up the work based on our strengths and end goals for final product.

One of the main challenges we had during this was trying to bring 2D to 3D; it was an interesting process. Finding the right balance between our styles for each letter took the most time and power- plus colors and materials on a set grid! We were very happy with the results.

Francois: ID / Samra: Brand

Samra: Overall, our collaboration went smoothly...even with short timelines. We had a great time working together and combining our ideas into one final letter/number. It was definitely interesting to see how both of our brains worked in pre-visualizing the shapes.

Francois: A takeaways from this project is the need to create a better balance between the amount of work done by ID vs. Brand. We realized late in the alphabet that the letters would need more time from ID as far as rendering, CMF, etc. Out of all entries, the numbers were the most fun to do!

Joy: ID / Robin: Brand

Joy: Our process started with paper and pencil sketching and concepting stories based around each letter. That quickly changed into, let's just make some cool shapes after we saw the rest of our teammates’ letters! We had a lot of fun bringing them to life in other ways through subtle animations via After Effects and Photoshop magic.

Robin: One challenge was maintaining a palette based on the previous Instagram posts. We wanted to make sure we weren't posting a color that was a similar tone as the one before, and make sure our feed had a nice balance of color and material. It was fun getting to work together on a non-client-based project and get a little weird. Now we're brainstorming other ways we can keep it up!

Conclusion:

Sometimes personal projects are the hardest to get done. Many of us have seen 36 Days of Type floating around the web but not everyone was able to complete the task. As a group, we did it! And we are very happy with our new alphabet. Next year we plan on implementing what we learned and bringing more of the weird to life!