The Dot Screen Pattern

As a student, I studied architecture. We made drawings on velum and on special occasions we used mylar.  We used technical pens of various thicknesses, but to create grey toned areas, we used applied Letraset films which consisted of various dot patterns. Due to the way drawings were reproduced, these dot patterns were the only way to create a tone between black and white.

Letraset tone film is no longer available as far as I can tell.  Printers are just too good. You can’t see individual dots in printed material these days.  The dot-screen has become a relic!

I became interested in the idea of the dot screen defining a surface and at the same time revealing what was behind. From far away, the dot screen is semi-transparent, but up close the dots create a distinct pattern.

There were many variables in the dot screen design:

  • How big should the pattern be?
  • How large should the dots be?
  • How much space should be between the dots?
  • What should the geometric arrangement be?

I created many versions until I got to the right balance. I originally started with dots on 45 degree angles, but this created awkward geometry at the edge of the dial.  I then developed a 60 degree angle pattern which worked much better.

After tweaking the scale and the proportion of dot to open space, I settled on the final pattern:

I’ve created renderings to evaluate this design, but until I see a finished prototype, I won’t be certain if this is the right pattern!