Formstorming & Modularity: Claire Martin

The piece I selected was “Restraint” by Marion Bantjes and Ross Mills, because I thought the letters and their interaction with one another was absolutely beautiful. I have always found Celtic knots and designs to be very interesting and elegant, and this peace reminded me a lot of those designs. I believe this font was likely created using a multi-column grid to guide the organization and “arrange subject matter” as mentioned in our reading on formstorming.

“Restraint” is a fantastic example of modularity because all the curves and lines of the letters interact in different ways depending on the letters they are next to. These letters can be re-positioned to create an infinite number of designs. One thing I find particularly interesting about this font is how differently the letters interact depending on whether they are next to another letter or open space. When you compare the design on the right of the two ‘S’s at the end of the word “careless” they are actually very different. While the first ‘S’ smoothly transitions into the other, the second ‘S’ expands out further and has more of a swirling pattern.

One of the major decisions made by the designers was to make sure that letters as had three lines emanating from each side that ensured they connected to the other letters. I also noticed that symmetrical letters tend to have symmetrical designs, for example ‘O’, ‘E’ with matching designs on top and bottom, and ‘A’ with matching designs on the left and right sides. This likely comes from the fact that the font was created as Bantjes states “an experiment in connected letters”. While never states outright if the font had some specific inspiration, I believe this fond could be used on books covers or movies posters for the title. I believe Bantjes had something similar in mind when she released it as she says the font has an End User License Agreement that prevents them from making “Restraint” “the sole or major design element in identities, major ad campaigns, or [using] it to manufacture products for sale without additional licensing”.

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