Southern Mists

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Design Sketches

This is one of those projects that unexpectedly takes on a life of its own. I wanted to create a label for a region on a map, an area that would have a West Coast feel to it.
The font in the first design felt too modern.
As I reworked the typeface I saw the potential to make it more of a carving, a collection of finely polished stones.
I wanted sharp hook-like points, giving a feral, hunting feel. The "H" was a problem until I decided on an older letter form. The "ER" pair added a strong face, giving the region a people.

Having decided on the final letter shapes I sketched these into the words. I wasn't concerned with kerning as I knew I would need to balance this when I saw the weight of the 3D letters. After drawing each letter using bezier curves, I added the polygons. Each letter has about 500 polies.

I spent some time deciding on a backdrop. I didn't want to do a "drop shadow" - they have become so cliche. I wanted to evoke a feeling of value, that someone had collected these and kept them carefully wrapped in a piece of velvet. I tried them embedded in the background but the letters became impossible to scan into words. I opted to have them magically floating up from the background.
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Thinking it was complete, I sent it to my daughter. She used to work selling Pounamu, so I was interested in her comments. The good thing about asking your children for comments is they don't spare your feelings.

Readability was always going to be a problem. It was decided the final "s" was too decorative and made reading almost impossible. The light greens needed rework, but I still wanted it to have variation.

"The O and U are obviously from the same stone, and the R and N."

It still works in the map for which I designed it, but I have also completed it as a standalone work. I hope to one day have the time to carve these letters from pounamu and assemble a sculpture based on this render.
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