Archive for February, 2013

The Evolution of PowerStation

February 11, 2013 on 11:09 am | By | In Gigs, Notes, Wayback Machine | 2 Comments

PowerStation is my one font that specifically evolved from a prior design assignment. I had been tasked with designing signage for Hershey’s Times Square flagship store. The signage needed to be designed in the spirit of a retro future-machine, à la Jules Verne or other Victorian “Steam Punk” aesthetic. So I came up with the following sketches in which I combined various lettering and type styles:

In the tighter version I designed the word “Hershey” to have a feeling of faceted letters, similar to what you might see on an old theater marquee:

Ever since I first became aware of them I’ve been faxcinated by the tactile qualities of these extruded plastic letterforms, and how they reminded me of candy. I’ve always thought there was something “delicious” about them.

So it seemed entirely appropriate to me that the word Hershey should be rendered that way, giving it a chunky, almost chocolatebar-like flavor. Note that in the final signage we needed to change the lettering of the word “Chocolateworks” to read “Chocolate Machine”.

I loved how my art turned out, especially the word “Hershey”. After this job was over it occured to me that I wasn’t aware of any fonts that successfully captured that particular faceted look. So I thought I’d try and see if I could make that work as a typeface:

I started sketching out various letters to see if it could be viable. As the font developed and it’s strong industrial and moderne qualities became more apparent, I decided to name it “PowerStation”.

As I developed PowerStation, it evolved from the one version I had adapted from the Hershey’s assignment into four different versions. These I decided to call Block, Wedge, Solid, and Outline. Then I thought I’d expand those into another four “Wide” versions. Now I had a family of eight different fonts.

But I guess I wasn’t able to leave well enough alone. Why not provide the added ability to set PowerStation in two colors? So I took the basic four faceted versions of PowerStation (Block, Block Wide, Wedge, and Wedge Wide) and broke each of them down into two separate fonts which, if set on separate layers, could provide 2 color typesetting. The solid “base” of the letters would be formed by setting the “Low” version of the font, and the facted part of the letter would be formed by setting the “High” version of the font on a layer directly above the “Low” version.

In other words a two color version of PowerStation Wedge could be achieved by setting PowerStation Wedge High over the same copy which would be set in PowerStation Wedge Low, and applying different colors to each layer.

Setting words like this in two colors can provide richness and variation when used imaginatively.

Some time after the release of PowerStation I discovered the next step in its evolution—that you didn’t have to be limited to two color typesetting with this font. I found that by combining the various PowerStation fonts in different ways one could set this font in three colors as well. The instructions for doing that may be a little long for this article, so if you’d like to see what’s involved with that, you can download the free PowerStation User Manual.

I originally created the serigraph above to celebrate the release of PowerStation. The signed and numbered edition is limited to 100 copies, and there are still some left. Click HERE to find out more about this offer.

License the PowerStation fonts HERE .

Purchase the PowerStation Serigraph HERE.


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