Following our look at the toilet sign ideograms in this week’s Lecture, we set about creating our own. We began by using graph paper to plan out our designs, which forced us to think about our work within the constraints of a grid (just as designers before us were constrained by the tools of the time). When sketching out the male / female symbols for my sign, I aimed for it to be a relatively abstract sign suitable for western culture; I also aimed to use similar shapes and styles across the two ‘people’ as a means of matching them as a set. I had to try out a few different styles before I found one that conveyed seemed to work well.
To recreate our plans in Illustrator we enabled and customised the grid feature, and turn on the snap to grid feature. I made use layers as well as the pen and circle tools to draw my figures, then once I had the general shape the ‘people’ I spent some time adjusting the angles and spaces on the symbols (trying out different angles, widths and heights). I had some difficulty deciding on whether the female symbol’s head or bow should be level with the male character’s head, as neither seemed to fit well with the overall appearance. Stuart noted that much like the ‘x height’ in typography, in this circumstance it would be best to play with the height to get the best visual appearance (not just the technical height); and thus an appropriate height was found!