Takase Studios Custom Design Process
Custom work may be ordered through our secure on-line store. For options and pricing please visit our on-line catalog at Custom Japanese Calligraphy Art.
Step 1: What to Make?
To create a design we would start by getting an idea of what the design is going to say and get a general understanding of your preferences. At this initial stage you don't need to worry about the font or even about the layout unless this is something that you have already decided upon.
Based on this initial statement for the design, I would create a set of samples where I would show you several options for the translation, font, and layout. Even should you express a preference for a particular font, since there are so many intermediate fonts, I would offer several variations on the font.
Along with needing to find a font that appeals to you, we would also be looking at the translation. There are always several ways to do a translation and the size of the final work will often times determine the number of characters that can be used. At this initial stage we can look at the complexity of the characters as well as the number of characters required for a translation.
Step 2: Refining the Design
For the second set of samples, we should have a font preference, a layout, and a translation. Though something may not be quite right and we may need a second set of samples to feel comfortable that we are on the right track with the design.
Another important piece of information is the style of the characters. While most will choose Gyousho (Semi-cursive) or Kaisho (Block) for reasons of style and legibility, even between these two styles there are many options.. The five major font styles are described at Glossary of Terms. Also I have several examples in a variety of fonts throughout my website. To see some examples, visit Names in Japanese or perhaps Martial Arts.
The entire design process takes about 2-3 revisions on average.
A Sample Design Session
Example - Fighting Spirit
On my website I have an example of Fighting Spirit which is Toukon in Japanese and looks like . The calligraphy example that I show is:
SS wrote, "I am very interested in your fighting spirit – Toukon character that you have on your web site and was wondering if you had any different versions of the character."
In the first email we had completed the first step and had the translation decided, what we were now looking for together was a style.
Here are the samples that I sent. These are all Toukon with the only difference being the font use.
SS replied, "My two favorites are no’s 5 and 1. Are there any other variations on the two fonts as its very difficult to decide between them at the moment and is it possible to make the design 'flow' together a bit more rather than having two separate parts?"
Based on this feedback, I created the follow sample set:
One design in particular from this set appealed to SS and this phase was completed. I created a set of five samples based on the design selected by SS and mailed them out the following day.
Over and over again I use the pattern of asking questions, coming up with and showing ideas that I put down on paper, and getting feedback on those ideas. Using this method you and I can come up with a design that will be just right.
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