TYPOGRAPHY SKILLS / Poetry in Motion – Assignment 1 / Term 3, Week 4

Today we started working on our first assignment, “Poetry in Motion”, in which we have to represent the poem in a typographic composition which reflects / portrays the meaning of the poem itself.

My chosen poem is Fire and Ice by Robert Frost. I chose this poem because of it obvious duality and elements of juxtaposition. It is straight forward and simple in its wording, the tension tight, as the poem lets reader ponder on how fire and ice – desire (lust, greed, jealousy) and hatred (indifference, scorn, bitterness) would bring destruction to the world.

Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.

I received many interesting and helpful suggestions (and keywords!) after the recitation of it in front of the class. Many suggests that it is intense, with qualities of duality, polar/magnetism, clashing, destruction, revenge, payback, “about hurting someone”.

My own interpretation of this poem would be that even though fire and ice are two opposing elements – in appearance, color, senses, sight, scientifically – both could cause the same fatality to human. Lukewarm is pleasant, but too much fire will burn. Cooled drinks, shaved-ice are nice, while too much of ice causes frostbite. Two different things, but at the end of the day, when presented to mankind, they’re equals. Too much desire in a relationship could easily kill it as soon as it started it – can’t handle jealousy, constant needs and wants of each other. Hatred obviously destroys a relationship – indifference, no communication, doesn’t care of each other, or even to the point of wanting to harm because of the hatred. To me, the poem hints the vulnerability of mankind, sort of like whichever way you’re headed it leads to destruction. First part of the poem clarifies that the writer thinks that desire would be the cause of destruction, but second part of it says that if there should be another destruction, hatred is enough to do the job. It’s a kind of warning to the readers that both desire and hatred (fire and ice) are dangerous traits that human inherently possess, and either of them could put an end to anything as quickly. Obviously without hatred, everyone would start wanting everything on earth, and without desire, everyone would be indifferent to everything, no passion, no sentiment, no intent – the two cannot exist without each other.

(to be continued)

References / Inspiration / Muses for the sketches:

“Aerial Fight” (Sword Art Online OST) – Yuki Kajiura

Venom by Colin Falconer

 A Kiss of Clashing Colors“A Kiss of Clashing Colors” by Mark Astrella

(Maxim Vengerov) Introduction and Rondo Capriciosso by Camille Saint-Saens

(Ice Dance) Papadakis / Cizeron (2016 European Championships)

Concept sketches on how to visualise the poetry

100 sketches:

Chosen sketches that I’d digitalise:



Digitalised sketches

These are the layout I chose to digitalise and they do look quite different from the sketches. Some of the layout that I like from the sketches aren’t really applicable on Illustrator (most of the time the type isn’t fluid enough to create the shape of the movement).


Personally, I like this one the most (especially the upper half of the layout). The typefaces I used for these (and most of the other layouts) are Georgia (most of the text), Bodoni BT Book Italic (“fire”, “twice”), Easy Street Alt Eps (“desire”), Cooperplate Gothic Bold (“HATE”), Trajan Pro (“but if it had to perish”) and bolded Georgia (“ice”).

I added multiple “so” and “s” that looks like it’s falling down to the word “some”, to visualise the plurality of the word. (At first I wanted to make it look like the end of a fire, but S isn’t sharp enough to suggest that imagery). I also repeated the “twice”, coloring them blue and red to represent the duality theme of the poem. The text gets looser as it gets to the end of the poem, like an ice melting. While sketching this one, I was thinking of a melting castle, hence the shape of the texts.

For the typeface, I chose classic typefaces because the poem is old and classic, with scripts to add emphasis on strong words. Although this isn’t the final layout yet, I’d like to keep this concept and polish this to make it look better, and see through other sketches – in hopes of perhaps encountering new fusion of ideas.


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