In this project we looked at modular typefaces. A modular typeface is one where each letterform is constructed from a repeated shape or a combination of repeated shapes, and is often based on a grid. The uses of modular typefaces can be strictly functional such as an LED screen on a motorway, or can be purely experimental and decorative.
During classroom activities, we looked closely at the construction of existing modular typefaces and then created two of our own from two different starting points. One is created using electrical tape while one is created from different objects we brought in as starting points. I then developed my tape typeface further into a physical or digital promotional item (a ‘specimen’) designed to showcase the alphabet.
Ink and Water Don't Mix
This "Ink and Water Don't Mix" typography poster by Craig Ward is one of my favourite example of a type specimen because he physically created the text using fountain ink and adds the stain effect on the text using water in order to further communicate the message of the poster. The ink and water effect adds another layer of charm to this serif type face and makes this ordinary type much more interesting. I like the random splatters and drops of water that dissolves the ink and make it expand. The poster is visually attractive and it shows a great and creative way in which this typeface can be used to communicate a certain message through the process of physically drawing it.
Dosis Type Specimen
Dosis is a free typeface created by Impallari Types and these are typographic specimen and postcards made to showcase the font. I like the way they showcase the font organised neatly in colomns and rows. The poster shows many possible ways that the typeface can be used and I think this is a very useful and practical specimen for users because there are examples of different thickness, kerning, bold, thin, capital and lowercase. They also show different sizes and so many different ways that the typeface can be used. They also kept the colour scheme and the style of it consistent. However, I would like to see examples of other colours on a different specimen perhaps.
Retro Robotic Typeface
This is a really cool experimental type design for my object type. The typeface has a specific pattern and robotic, futuristic style but it proves that experimental object fonts do not have to be consistent in its structure for it to work and look attractive. It feels very clean and technologic and somehow it is actually quite complicated even though it is presented and perceived in such a simple way. This is a very unique experimental type that aims for the style and aesthetic instead of practicality since typography is often thought of in its practical form.
This experimental typeface by Irene Coll uses the most basic shapes and lines such as circles, triangles and points to form each individual letterform. Each individual letter is unique in itself because there are no clear consistency between each letters apart from the elements that it is made of. I like that it is kept very thin in the structure but still has elements of the type that has thick opaque surfaces. The typeface gave a very practical mechanical vibe like a typeface for design workshops or a mathematical model.
Early 20th Century: Jan Tschichold
Jan Tschichold (1902, Germany – 1974, Switzerland) was a typographer, book designer, teacher and writer.
"Tschichold claimed that he was one of the most powerful influences on 20th century typography. There are few who would attempt to deny that statement. The son of a sign painter and trained in calligraphy, Tschichold began working with typography at a very early age. Raised in Germany, he worked closely with Paul Renner (who designed Futura) and fled to Switzerland during the rise of the Nazi party. His emphasis on new typography and sans-serif typefaces was deemed a threat to the cultural heritage of Germany, which traditionally used Blackletter Typography and the Nazis seized much of his work before he was able to flee the country.
When Tschichold wrote Die Neue Typographie he set forth rules for standardisation of practices relating to modern type usage. He condemned all typefaces except for sans-serif types, advocated standardised sizes of paper and set forth guidelines for establishing a typographic hierarchy when using type in design. While the text still has many relative uses today, Tschichold eventually returned to a classicist theory in which centred designs and roman typefaces were favoured for blocks of copy.
He spent part of his career with Penguin Books and while he was there he developed a standardised practice for creating the covers for all of the books produced by Penguin. He personally oversaw the development of more than 500 books between the years 1947-49. Every period of his career has left a lasting impression on how designers think about and use typography, and it will continue to affect them into the future."
The New Typography, 1928
"This book was a manifesto of modern design, in which he condemned all typefaces but sans-serif (calledGrotesk in Germany). He also favoured non-centered design (e.g., on title pages), and codified many other Modernist design rules. He later condemned Die neue Typographie as too extreme. He also went so far as to condemn Modernist design in general as being authoritarian and inherently fascistic."
Penguin Composition Rules, London, 1947-1949
"Tschichold's standardization of Penguin covers essentially took existing elements and refined them visually and refined their arrangement. Under Tschichold the covers included the use of Eric Gill's Gill Sans typeface, which he was careful to have spaced evenly. According to Tschichold establishing this quality was not immediately embraced by the compositors; “Every day I had to wade through miles of corrections (often ten books daily). I had a rubber stamp made: ‘Equalize letter-spaces according to their visual value.’ It was totally ignored; the hand compositors continued to space out the capitals on title-pages (where optical spacing is essential) with spaces of equal thickness.”
Layout: Canons of Page Construction
"The canons of page construction are a set of principles in the field of book design used to describe the ways that page proportions, margins and type areas (print spaces) of books are constructed."
The notion of canons, or laws of form, of book page construction was popularized by Jan Tschichold in the mid to late twentieth century, based on the work of J. A. van de Graaf, Raúl M. Rosarivo, Hans Kayser, and others. Tschichold wrote, “Though largely forgotten today, methods and rules upon which it is impossible to improve have been developed for centuries. To produce perfect books these rules have to be brought to life and applied.” Kayser's 1946Ein harmonikaler Teilungskanon had earlier used the term canon in this context.
"The height of those lowercase letters such as "x", which do not have ascenders or descenders. The lowercase 'x' is used for measurement since it usually sits squarely on the baseline."
"The imaginary line upon which text rests. Descenders extend below the baseline. Also known as the "reading line." The line along which the bases of all capital letters (and most lowercase letters) are positioned."
"A special double character in a font where two or more letters are joined and represented as one. For example, ae and oe. One character that is made up of two or more letters."
"The diagonal, vertical, or horizontal thick-to-thin transition in the stroke of a letter is the stress. Draw a line through the thinnest points of the letter o and you can easily see the angle of stress. A typeface with uniform strokes has no obvious stress."
"A small decorative line added to finish the strokes on the arms, stems, and tails of the basic form of a character. Typefaces are often described as being serif or sans serif (without serifs). The most common serif typeface is Times Roman. A common sans serif typeface is Helvetica. Serif typefaces are usually used for text since the serifs form a link between letters that leads the eye across a line of type."
I chose to look at this specimen because the textured background actually represents the text itself. The image underneath is revealed through the text as if it is a cut out and I believe that it can be very interesting and attractive when physically made into a booklet. The text can be cut through the front page which will reveal the background underneath. This is a great way to showcase a typeface especially if the style or the name of the font has any association to an object or an environment because then the image used underneath can represent that.
The overlaying effect drew my attention to this type specimen. I believe it is the transparency of the text that made the typeface very interesting. However, I think that the colours I chose to overlay must be colours that work well together otherwise the overlapped part will create unattractive colours which is not very good in showcasing my typeface. The arrangement of words and phrase in capital letters is neat within the rectangular boarder even though the size of the text vary from word to word. The overall composition of the page is appealing, consistent and it showcases the typeface in a unique and more playful way.
I believe that this is the most simple and straight forward form that a type specimen could take. The booklet uses space very efficiently and it display the typeface in a variety of style depending on the genre of use. It displays the whole alphabet individually both in upper and lower case letters. It also shows how it would look like in different thickness, heights as well as how it would look when typed in a paragraph. I like how this page spread is laid out very neatly and properly spaced to avoid confusion.
The Inuit type specimen uses layering of translucent paper on top of the proper printed type to showcase the many forms and possibilities that this font could take. I like the idea of composing a full element through the use of two different prints on two different paper. You can see the full letterform as well as the separate element that it is composed of. I think this is a creative way in which I can reveal to the users the possibilities that my typeface can take. This might be harder to produce since I have to perfectly line up the two prints on proper white paper and also on translucent paper like tracing paper. Overall, the outcome of this specimen is very attractive and helpful to users. It is very neatly laid out as well.
This is a good example of a typeface that is very well designed even though it is quite simple and ordinary. The features of the font is very consistent and clean. All curved endings end with a ball terminal and all bridges and horizontal lines are very thin. The structure of the font is tall and bold. I believe that the typeface is very sophisticated and simple. It can probably be used in many formal designs as well as in romance themed designs because of its elegance. It is also very attractive because it is professionally made.
Mid 20th Century: Herb Lubalin
Herbert F. (Herb) Lubalin (1918 – 1981) was an American graphic designer. He collaborated with Ralph Ginzburg on three of Ginzburg's magazines: Eros, Fact, and Avant Garde, and was responsible for the creative visual beauty of these publications.
"Most people recognise the name Herb Lubalin in association with the typeface Avant-Garde. And he was the typographer and designer behind its creation, after the success of Avant Garde Magazine and its typographic logo. But, his career spanned a much wider scope than that. One of the people behind the culture-shocking magazines Avant-Garde, Eros and Fact, he was a constant boundary breaker on both a visual and social level. Part of the founding team of the International Typeface Corporation (ITC) and the principal of Herb Lubalin, Inc it was hard to escape the reach of Herb during the 1960s and 70s.
His constant search for something new and a passion for inventiveness made him one of the most successful art directors of the 20th century. He had offices internationally in Paris and London and partnered with many talented individuals over the years including Aaron Burns, Tom Carnase, Ernie Smith and Ralph Ginzburg. A graduate of the Cooper Union in New York he spent time as a visiting professor there as well as designed a logo for them."
Eros and Fact Magazine
"Lubalin’s private studio gave him the freedom to take on any number of wide-ranging projects, from poster and magazine design to packaging and identity solutions. It was here that the designer became best known, particularly for his work with a succession of magazines published by Ralph Ginzburg: Eros, Fact, and Avant Garde."
Eros devoted itself to the beauty of the rising sense of sexuality and experimentation, particularly in the burgeoning counterculture, it was a quality production with no advertising and the large format (13 by 10 inches) made it look like a book rather than a quarterly magazine. It was printed on different papers and the editorial design was some the greatest that Lubalin ever did. Lubalin chose an elegantminimalist palette consisting of dynamic serifed typography balanced by high-quality illustrations. The magazine was printed on a budget, so Lubalin stuck with black and white printing on uncoated paper, as well as limiting himself to one or two typefaces and paying a single artist to handle all illustrations at bulk rate rather than dealing with multiple creators. The end result was one of dynamic minimalism that emphasized the underlying sentiment of the magazine better than “the scruffy homemade look of the underground press (or the) screaming typography of sensationalist tabloids” ever could.
“Avant Garde (January 1968 to issue 14 summer 1971) also provided Lubalin with a large format of wide typographic experimentation; the page format was an almost square 11.25 by 10.75 inches bound in a carboard cover, a physical quality that, coupled with Lubalin’s layouts, caught the attention of many in the New York design scene. Often, the magazine would employ full-page typographic titles, which at the time was a largely new idea."
LOGO : Lubalin’s solution, one which sought to meet Ginzburg’s hope for an expression of “the advanced, the innovative, the creative,” consisted of tight-fitting letterform combinations to create a futuristic, instantly recognizable identity. The demand for a complete typesetting of the logo was extreme in the design community, so Lubalin released ITC Avant Garde from his International Typeface Corporation in 1970. Regardless of ITC Avant Garde’s future uses, Lubalin’s original magazine logo was and remains highly influential in typographic design.
"Lubalin spent the last ten years of his life working on a variety of projects, notably his typographic journal U&lc and the newly founded International Typographic Corporation. U&lc (short for Upper and lower case) served as both an advertisement for Lubalin’s designs and a further plane of typographic experimentation."
Heller further notes, “In U&lc, he tested just how far smashed and expressive lettering might be taken. Under Lubalin’s tutelage, eclectic typography was firmly entrenched.” Lubalin enjoyed the freedom his magazine provided him; he was quoted as saying “Right now, I have what every designer wants and few have the good fortune to achieve. I’m my own client. Nobody tells me what to do."
"There are two forms of the lowercase letter a and g: the single (or one) story and the double (or two) story."
"The adjustment of spacing between letters. The process of improving appearance and legibility by adjusting the white space between certain paired characters, such as 'Ty', 'To', or 'Ye', which are known as "kerning pairs." Kerning moves letters either closer or farther apart ~o adjust and improve the space between them."
"The part of a lowercase letter that rises above the main body of the letter (as in b, d, h). The part that extends above the x-height of a font."
TYPOGRAPHY: Ball terminal
"A ball terminal is a design feature of a typeface or glyph where the end of a stroke takes a roughly circular shape, as opposed to a serif or a square end. Not serifs but ends of certain letter shapes such as the letters 'f', 'j', 'y', 'r', and 'a'."
"The enclosed oval or round curve of letters like 'D', 'g', b', and 'o'. In an open bowl, the stroke does not meet with the stem completely; a closed-bowl stroke meets the stem."
I believe this realistic aged and textured logo effect is very suitable for my tape font as it is sci-fi themed therefore, I can impose the text on to textured scratched metallic surfaces, rust or concrete to give context to the typeface. I especially like the surface that this text has been applied as well as the contrasting colours of the rust. The fine details of the decay and corrosion of the metal makes the text looks like it is actually screened on to the metal. However, this image is actually a photoshopped image. It looks authentically vintage because of the worn surface.
Tron Legacy poster
Another example of a sci-fi themed typeface that is created specifically for the movie Tron Legacy. The typeface is very legible and the neon glow effect applied on the text suits the genre of the movie well. This typeface is created for a practical purpose therefore, the style and consistency is dependent upon the movie poster. I like that the ligature of the title TR because it made me associate the shape to the race track that I saw in the movie.
This type specimen is presented in the form of a booklet. It is very neatly designed, made with clean pages and effective use of white space to focus our attention on the typeface. The pages really showcase the beautiful letterforms in a confident and bold way which I think is very good thing because it tells users exactly how the typeface should be used within certain situations. The layout it minimalistic and centred design.
These two are very interesting experimental type designs that are made out of images of city skyscrapers and cut out retro images. I like that they are so well planned and thought out. In the skyscraper image, the letterforms are actually created by the negative space that lies between the buildings which makes it very appealing and it catches the attention of the audience right away because of the contrast in brightness of the sky and the shadow in the building. In the image typeface, the letterforms are created in a different way. Some are created by manipulating and cutting out the pieces of paper in the same shape as the letterform however, some are actually just observations of the shapes of the objects itself.
21st Century: Jessica Hische
Jessica Hische is a letterer, illustrator, and crazy cat lady known for her silly side projects and occasional foul mouth.
"I declared as a Graphic Design major when I found myself procrastiworking on painting projects to work on posters and identities. I annoyed the heck out of my fellow classmates, doing way more work than assignments generally called for, but it all paid off in the end and most of them have since forgiven me for ruining the curve.
In 2006, I graduated and landed a job as a freelance designer for a little studio in Philadelphia where I helped design fancy books and re-affirmed my passion for illustration and image-making. By winter, unsure if they wanted to take on another full-time employee, my hours were cut and I put together an illustration promo to get freelance work. That promo ended up landing me an illustration rep and a job for one of my heroes; I migrated to Brooklyn to work for her. After two and a half years of very little sleep and a lot of lettering, freelance work began overwhelming my life and my desire to do side projects became too much to bear. I ventured out on my own and embarked on a little project that would end up changing my career and earning me the moniker “That Drop Cap Girl”.
I’ve been on my own as a letterer, illustrator, type designer, and relentless procrastiworker since 2009 and have worked for (and continue to work for) a lot of wonderful clients like Wes Anderson and Penguin Books. I split my days (not evenly enough) between Brooklyn and San Francisco—the place I now call home and where I’ve set up a collaborative studio and workshop space with my brother from another mother, Erik Marinovich."
For illustration work and lettering work, I always start with pencil sketches—not because it is my preferred way to work, but because clients need to approve something before I can move to final. My pencils used to be quite rough but because I’ve been doing more and more lettering work for advertising clients, they’ve become more refined. After a sketch is approved, I jump into illustrator, usually not tracing my sketch for the final. I believe that the translation from sketch to final without tracing helps me correct my mistakes as I go.
I mostly just use the pen tool. After a few years of working intensely with the program it has become more natural for me to work on the computer than by hand. I don’t use a Wacom tablet (I hold a pen like a child holds a crayon, just a mouse or the trackpad on my laptop. I usually work with the grid on at first, starting with a single weight line and then adding thickness or ornament later depending on what I’m trying to achieve. I make general decisions at the beginning to figure out what kind of lettering I want to draw (a script? slanted or upright? thick or thin? sans serif? retro feeling or more modern feeling?) and then add decoration / ornamentation after the “skeleton” is drawn.
"The height of the uppercase letters within a font."
"(Pronounced 'ledding') The amount of vertical space between lines of type. The distance from the baseline of one line of type and the baseline of another line of type immediately above or below it; also known as line spacing and usually measured in points."
"The lowest portion of letters such as 'g,' 'j,' 'p.' 'q,' and 'y' that extends below the baseline, or reading line of type. (See descender line.) The portion of a lowercase letter that extends below the base line of the letter."
"Oldstyle figures are Arabic numerals varying in height and position. Some sit on the baseline while others descend beneath the baseline."
"The enclosed (or partially enclosed) space within letters such as 'c,' 'e,' S,' 'H,' and 'g.' Often confused with 'bowl'."