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PLACING CREDITS AND CHOP

We’ve explored font type and text color and tonality (light/dark) for monochrome images. Many haiga practitioners, myself included, add signatures, chops or credits somewhere on the work itself. Let’s explore how those elements might be added to minimally interfere with both image and haiku.

9. Placing a chop: A chop is a signature symbol used mainly by Asian artists to sign their work. Many contemporary haiga designers like to use a similar device for their own work. Keeping in mind that anything placed directly on the image will serve as a break from the image design and attract the eye, the same issues apply to the design and placement of a chop as to text design and placement: size, color, tone, placement. Many chops/signatures that I've seen by haiga designers are blocky, off color and use tonalities and sizes that interfere with the presentation of image and haiku. Below, I've inserted a chop I designed for my work with the motif being my initials (rr). The chop is unobtrusive IF the chop design is as good as the quality of the image itself. In most chops that I've viewed by Asian artists, the chop is a form of brushstroke that itself becomes part of the overall composition. While conspicuous, with Asian artwork, the chop, even when done in the traditional deep red color, is generally not seen as interfering with the image by viewers; however, this may not be the case with western viewers who have not been raised in a tradition of viewing such artwork. For this reason, I’ve chosen to use a grayscale color and a tonality that is akin to the lighter elements in the image. However, it may be that the chop I’ve used on this image is too large, aka, a distraction. What do you think about shape, size, tonality, placement? Does the image need both a chop and credits? These are judgments haiga artists must make with respect to their own work when they’re considering the composition as a whole.

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10. Placing credits: If credits are to be placed on the image or its frame, I believe that it's important to make them as inconspicuous as possible. This can be managed by using a different font type and tone (light/dark) and by moving them off the image. The composition below uses a larger font size (festus) and a smaller font size and different font (Arial) for the credits and places the credits on the border (mat/frame). Placing the credits or your signature directly on the image will interfere with whatever magic the haiga designer can create with image and haiku text.

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