Letter I

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Doggerel: Infinite isolated individuals intermingle in intricately imperfect inverse iterations

Media: isometric paper, ink

Style: Indian

Assessment of the image so far

The main underlying concept was the idea of ‘I’ and individual identity.  Although many words start with letter I, there was not much choice in either media or colours beginning with the letter. But I had become interested in patterns and used isometric paper as part of my work on Illustration 2. So the image became led by pattern experiments in ink on isometric paper.

The final version was chosen because the lower case i is looking away out of the spread – isolated. But it also has a sense of balance as a spread. The letter page takes up the isolated individual theme. But the small ‘i’ in the middle is trying to be different. Probably I need to think about this page a bit more.

I could probably experiment further with this – particularly the earlier idea of negative/positive contrast between immigrants and indigenes.

Development of the image

Earlier ideas

This builds on earlier ideas I had in Assignment 1 on identity, and the experiments with the letter I in Illustrator in Assignment 4.

Brainstorm sketch

My initial thumbnail sketch and colour mockup were not very inspiring.

My initial doggerel was also quite random with no real image in mind: Irate imps inkily italicise intelligent inebriation implicating irrelevant infantile industrialists.

I had identified a narrow range of media and materials: Ink, intaglio, isometric paper, inkjet, Ingres. Styles were Indian or Ingres.

But I was at this point at a bit of a low point in inspiration.

Initial isometric doodles

So I quickly moved to doodling on the isometric paper while watching rather boring TV, drawing many variations on people who have the very rough shape of an ‘I’ in the many variants in different typefaces.

Another idea for doggerel with an image started to form in my mind. Something like: Isolated immigrants invade inflaming irritable inhabitants. The idea was to do some sort of negative positive inversion. But in the end this proved to be too complicated – or at least I really needed much more experimentation before I could pull this off. And was running out of time.

Photoshop square variations

I did one whole square of figures to see how that would look. Then moved on to Photoshop to see if doing some digital inversions would help. I scanned the various doodles in colour, and also black and white which got rid of the diagonal paper lines to just leave the ink. But I decided I liked the images with the diagonal lines to give additional interest.

I did two versions: black and indigo figures on ivory background, and ivory figures on indigo. The latter I found most striking. But neither really gave the sort of negative/positive contrast I was originally looking for.

At this point I started to really think again about the doggerel to support the image I had and guide me on how to move forward. This then changed to the idea of ‘intricate interrelationships’, ‘isolated individuals’ and ‘imperfect inverse iterations’.

First Indesign compilations

At this point I moved to Indesign to do some grids and play around with different combinations of the squares, flipping them to give more random effects.

Experimentation with spreads

But although I liked the random patterns, the idea of the letter ‘I’ had been lost. So I experimented with different ways of using the two variants to make capital and lower case letters. At this point I was assuming the pages would have the image first. The final version was designed so that the lower case i is looking away – isolated. But it also has a sense of balance as a spread.

The letter page then took up the isolated individual theme. But the small ‘i’ in the middle is trying to be different.




Adobe Typefaces

Edited and extended from: Letter I Wikipedia
I (named i /ˈ/, plural ies) is the ninth letter and the third vowel in the ISO basic Latin alphabet. The letter i is the fifth most common letter in the English language.
In Modern English spelling, i represents several different sounds:
  • the short /ɪ/ as in bill
  • the diphthong // (“long” i) as in kite.  developed fromMiddle English /iː/ through a series of vowel shifts. In the Great Vowel Shift, Middle English /iː/ changed to Early Modern English /ei/, which later changed to /əi/ and finally to the Modern English diphthong /aɪ/ in General American and Received Pronunciation. Because the diphthong /aɪ/ developed from a Middle English long vowel, it is called “long” i in traditional English grammar.
  • the ee sound // in the last syllable of machine. The diphthong /aɪ/


Egyptian hieroglyph Phoenician
PhoenicianI-01.svg EtruscanI-01.svg Iota uc lc.svg

In the Phoenician alphabet, the letter may have originated in a hieroglyph for an arm that represented a voiced pharyngeal fricative (/ʕ/) in Egyptian, but was reassigned to /j/ (as in English “yes”) by Semites, because their word for “arm” began with that sound. This letter could also be used to represent /i/, the close front unrounded vowel, mainly in foreign words.

The Greeks adopted a form of this Phoenician yodh as their letter iota (Ι, ι) to represent /i/, the same as in the Old Italic alphabet.

In Latin (as in Modern Greek), it was also used to represent /j/ and this use persists in the languages that descended from Latin.

İ i and I ı : Latin dotted and dotless letter i

The modern letter ‘j’ originated as a variation of ‘i’, and both were used interchangeably for both the vowel and the consonant, coming to be differentiated only in the 16th century.

The dot over the lowercase ‘i’ is sometimes called a tittle. In the Turkish alphabet, dotted and dotless I are considered separate letters, representing a front and back vowel, respectively, and both have uppercase (‘I’, ‘İ’) and lowercase (‘ı’, ‘i’) forms.

Capital ‘I’ as pronoun

The English first-person singular nominative pronoun is “I”, pronounced // and always written with a capital letter. This pattern arose for basically the same reason that lowercase i acquired a dot: so it wouldn’t get lost in manuscripts before the age of printing.

The capitalized “I” first showed up about 1250 in the northern and midland dialects of England, according to the Chambers Dictionary of EtymologyChambers notes, however, that the capitalized form didn’t become established in the south of England “until the 1700s (although it appears sporadically before that time). Capitalizing the pronoun, Chambers explains, made it more distinct, thus “avoiding misreading handwritten manuscripts.”

Other uses

The Roman numeral represents the number 1.

Other representations

Related characters

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