Unit 3: Typography

Typography is really important in design. It is important to follow the traditional rules of type, but that type can also be expressive in finding new ways to work with the letter forms. So type anatomy is important to be able to distinguish the difference between typefaces and their forms. It is vital that a designer be knowledgeable about type so that they can choose the right font for the right purpose. Since there are so many fonts available at this time that it can be a hard task to find that right fit, and while there are many fonts at our disposal that does not mean that they are all free. Fonts that seem to be perfect can be expensive, so finding and alternative that is similar (if one can not afford the real one) would be the next best thing. A great tool, in selecting type, is knowing that typeface’s history. History will help in understand influences and references of type.

There are many different kinds of type, including display type versus copy text. Within the frame of typefaces, spacing is a detail that needs to be handled with care. There is nothing worse than poor kerning that can make a good design turn bad. When spacing is bad, Indesign is the best application to use. Indesign has features that allows the changing the space in-between letters and in-between lines of text. Kerning and leading are also, necessary for readability and legibility of text. After making sure the type is set correctly emphasis and hierarchy need to be addressed. It can be difficult, without the proper tools, to deal with that issue. When experimenting with text is helpful when trying to figure out a layout and how letters interact with the given space. Experimental type can bring out great creativity in text as image. Text as image can add excitement to the design. Cassie Hester is a wonderful example of an artist that uses text as image and plays with experimental type.

Jennifer Farley also, wrote an article about type as fundamental to design. Step one in being successful is creating a mood. Typefaces can be used to express different emotions, the word plays a role in creating mood along with the right type. Farley makes the great point that less is more when it comes to typeface in design. The most common rule is to have 2-3 different type faces, no more and no less. For websites, she gives the advice of using sans-serif and serif fonts to create contrast in a safe manner. One must also be respectful of font size. In Hovie’s applied type we were taught that 8-10 point font is a good font size. Here, Farley makes that point of 8-10 would not be suitable for the elder community. When thinking as such, just remember who the viewer will be. I know my grandma was in favor of BIG type. Farley, like Wiley, discusses type as shape. She has provided an example:

winterhouse In this image the body type is beautifully curved under the round logo. The next topic is trendy versus timeless, which is something to be aware of as young designers. There are lots of cool and cheap fonts that can be found on the web but will they still be relevant next year? Instead of having to go back and change a font in a design, think about timeless fonts and what makes them so wonderful.

Here is the link for the Jennifer Farley article: http://www.sitepoint.com/elements-of-design-type/


(image found: https://segd.org/content/dig-deep)

I mentioned Cassie Hester above as a wonderful example of experimental type. This image is an installation at Virgina Commonwealth University. The materials she used to create this piece of art consist of 500 plastic walls, nails and pink and white sequins.


(image found: http://orianami.blogspot.com/2010/03/applied-design-b-d-type.html)

This image has beautiful type and it is expressing that bad type can be found anywhere and that is so true. I see bad type everyday and the designer in me wants to fix it all. The type in this photo is clean, has good spacing and is still legible.


Jessica Hische designed the font for Moonrise Kingdom. In this poster she has the display text and body text of her font ‘Tilda’ being showcased.

(image found: http://jessicahische.is/workingwithwesandersonomg)


(image found: http://friendsoftype.com/author/matthew-tapia/)

Lettering is a form of typography that is more expressive and tends to have a bit more freedom. Lettering is hand drawn and more illustrative than day-today type.



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