For London-based designer Connor Dickson there wasn’t really any other career choice than graphic design. From a young age, Connor could be found around the back of his dad’s shed, spray-painting designs onto the wooden panels, or tucked up in his room making typographical posters for his favourite bands. His early love for layout and type was encouraged by the fact his school offered an unusual and interest-piquing class in pre-GCSE graphic design.
Sensing that it was his chosen career path, Connor went onto study the subject at A-level before hopping to Central Saint Martins, taking a course which quickly made him “appreciate what graphic design really was." Since graduating back in 2017 the designer has largely been working in advertising, but it was a personal project of Connor’s, a new typeface titled Dot Matrix, which caught our eye in particular.
Originally “inspired by the typographic grid system on a digital roadside information board,” Dot Matrix is a typeface which puts legibility at the forefront of things. Made in glyphs, the result is a typeface featuring three weights which “still retains some flares and oddities derived from its five x nine dot grid, similar to its real life counterpart,” the designer explains. For instance, each glyphs is designed with rounded features and particularly its A,K, X and Y “are instances of this, reminiscent of the irregular letterforms found on the original board,” points out the designer.”
Over time, the usefulness and designed elements of Dot Matrix have consistently evolved, “considerably from its origins,” says Connor. “What’s been most rewarding is the design of the specimen. Being able to play with your own typeface is a luxury,” he continues. “The process revealed the myriad of changes I needed to make within the typeface itself; making it a continuous six-month tug of war.”
Working on personal projects alongside his day to day design job is important to Connor’s growing practice, and his evident love for graphic design. “The university experience taught me the importance of a research-focused, conceptual approach,” he says looking back. “Consequently, I still find myself tinkering and experimenting with methods and process that (I think) sit outside the norm.”
In turn, this designer is hoping to utilise all of his growing skills into an expansive portfolio that seems to be shaping up into jumping between graphic design and advertising, with an added use of animation to elevate projects too. Even after all these years, it appears he’s still getting a kick out of the practice too: “What’s been most exciting is to see projects you’ve worked on out there in the wild; there’s nothing more satisfying.”
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