Ethan Hodson

  • 2019
  • Design
  • Graphic Design - BA (Hons)

Ethan Hodson, Graphic Design - BA (Hons): Crafting a typeface inspired by shopping receipts

Ethan Hodson’s Degree Show installation is in two parts. The first is a type design project inspired by everyday shopping receipts. Second is a showreel and portfolio of the work he has produced over his final year, including an animated typographic campaign for Durex, publication projects and event identities.

His font creation project began last October. Ethan had been thinking about the typography of shopping receipts and their worth as objects, when he experienced several Proustian moments – unprompted memories of past times and places – after finding some forgotten receipts from his trips and travels.

Just afterwards, he attended a font design workshop at the 2018 Graphic Design Scotland Festival. Now that he was armed with the technical skills to go along with his inspiration, he dived right in, creating a typeface based on these everyday artifacts.

Ethan says, “I’d been struck by the strangeness of the type on receipts and the purely functional form of the design. This led me down a rabbit hole of interest: looking at their various paradoxes as objects, such as being digital in appearance but innately physical in existence, and often being regarded as useless yet being filled with information.”

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Receipt Sans - Type Design
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Receipt Sans - Type Design

Ethan’s typeface is modular, constructed of two sizes of squares stacked together to create characters inspired by the pixelated type on receipts. He started off making a display typeface, but when he realised the project was a possible Degree Show contender, he designed a version that can be used at smaller sizes. Ethan initially designed the font – Receipt Sans – in Adobe Illustrator and then refined it in Glyphs, a font-editing software, where he also added condensed and extended versions to the typeface.

After wrapping up his Degree Show, Ethan hopes to find work in a design agency. He’s specific about wanting to join a studio, rather than freelancing. “I am pretty open to where I work as long as it is an exciting place to live. I would love to be able to join a studio in a design role, rather than working in house or freelance.”

Reflecting on his time here at Edinburgh College of Art, Ethan says that the programme’s focus on honing ideas and coming up with strong core concepts has been the best, and most difficult, part of his experience. “This focus on ideas, although frustrating at times, has put me in good stead for life as a designer, hopefully. I feel that this is the most important and often the hardest part of a project. A good idea can drive your work and give reason to your decisions, otherwise you find yourself just making pretty things that have no purpose.”

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