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Posts tagged ‘history’

Accidental Mysteries

Here’s a really cool post I found on the Design Observer site. It talks about this German Book from the 17th Century that basically is just a compilation of different calligraphy styles applied to the alphabet. What’s truly amazing is that each page gets more and more ornate. The time it took to make these is probably ridiculous, and I definitely don’t have a steady enough hand to do something like this so I definitely respect and admire it! Take a look.



I think it gets to a certain point where some of these are borderline-beyond-legible, but amazing to look at nonetheless!

7 Mar 2013


Reform & Revolution

  • Some designers thought distortion of the alphabet was gross and warned against it
  • Avant-garde designers rejected the quest for essential letters grounded in the human hand and body
  • At the Bauhaus, letters were constructed from basic geometric forms – squares, circles, triangles

Type as Program

  • Wim Crouwel created designs for a new alphabet purely from straight lines… these letters were designed for optimal display on a video screen.
  • In the mid-1980s computers and low-res printers made typography more accessible to the public
  • PostScript and high-res printers in the 1990s created less contraints for type designers.

Type as Narrative

  • Designers became unsatisfied with clean, unsullied surfaces and wanted to make letters more harsh and disorderly
  • Template Gothic is designed based on letters drawn with a plastic stencil
  • Dead History combines Centennial and VAG Rounded – manipulated the vectors of readymade fonts (strategy often used in contemporary art and music)]
  • Beowulf was the first typeface to have random outlines and programmed behaviors



Comments Off on Readings
3 Nov 2012

Typographic Classifications

1. Old Style/ Humanist

  • developed 15th/16th centyry
  • Low contrast in stroke weight and angled serifs
  • Emulated classical caligraphy
  • *Examples – Garamond, Sabon, Jenson, Goudy, Palatino

2. Transitional

  • High contrast in thick and things
  • More vertical axis and sharper serifs than Humanist
  • More abstract & less organic
  • *Examples – Baskerville, Times New Roman, Bookman, Century, Utopia

3. Modern ( or Didone)

  • Late 18th/early 19th century
  • High contrast of stoke, straight serifs, totally vertical axis
  • More abstract & less organic
  • *Examples – Bodoni, Didot, Walbum
(these 3 groups correspond roughly to the Renaissance, Baroque, and Enlightenment periods)

4. Slab-Serif (Egyptian)

  • Heavy serifs & used for decorative purposes and headlines
  • The heavy serifs impeded legibility at small point sizes
  • *Examples – Clarendon, Serifia, Rockwell

5. Sans Serif (traditional sans)

  • More upright axis & a uniform stroke
  • *Examples – Helvetica, Univers, Franklin Gothic, Akzidenz, Grotesque

-Geomtric Sans

  • based on geometric forms
  • *Examples – Futura, Neutraface, Avant Garde, Gotham

– Humanist Sans

  • Modeled on old style typefaces, open strokes, and slightly higher contrast
  • *Examples – Meta, Myriad, Frutiger, Auto, Gill Sans
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5 Oct 2012