For his senior capstone project as an architecture student at Washington University in St. Louis, Noah Treviño explored the role of play in design process and thinking. The conceptual project took physical form in a workbook zine and a research booklet (full version here).
Asked about his type choices, Noah wrote:
When deciding on a type pairing for my architecture capstone, Play as Process, I had a few goals in mind. The entire project calls for designers to go back and incorporate a childlike sense of play into their design processes to better tap into creative potential as well as make the design field more accessible to those who might not identify as designers.
I knew what I was putting forward would be text heavy, which is why I settled on IBM Plex Sans for the body type. It is easy to read and looks good at smaller sizes. It doesn’t command too much attention and it plays well with others which was important because I wanted something bold for the display type.
After much trial and error, I settled on Ballast for my display type. I found it to be bold and strong, yet playful and inviting. It wasn’t too rigid and stuffy, which was extremely important. Play as Process also spent a great deal of time invoking mid-century designers, artists, and architects. Ballast felt like the perfect bridge between then and now. It felt vintage without being cliché.
My favorite examples of Ballast in use in the project were the large quote pages. Seeing the type in the largest instance and engaging with the texture of the images was fun. Working out the placement and content was a challenge I enjoyed when laying out the project development book. In these moments the subtle details of the typeface were very forward, noticeable, and appreciated, all while not taking away from the components on the page. It truly did as the definition of a ballast suggests: stabilize and balance.