Upon reflection of my experience with Project 4: Blog Book, I have come to the conclusion that I felt a varied range of emotions. I enjoyed this project because it gave me experience with laying out a book. I find using InDesign to create a book as fun and ultimately very rewarding. I also liked how a book of our blog posts was the final project: to me, it is the perfect way to wrap up the semester and display all of the work and lessons we learned over the course of the class in one place. This project helped us exercise skills like using a grid, choosing typefaces with a purpose, creating a dummy, staying organized, and creating a layout in InDesign that successfully houses text as well as images.
Things I found to be good/beneficial:
Creating a dummy:
Although I had created a dummy book prior to this class, I really came to understand it’s importance during the beginning stages of this project. I would even go as far as to say that this project would have been nearly impossible without creating a dummy. Creating a dummy helped to decipher which order I wanted the content of my book to be layed out in, how many pages I would need to set up in InDesign, roughly where I wanted to place my text and images, and much more. It also helped with the printing process as we had to convert our file from reader spreads to printer spreads, something you truly cannot do without a dummy. It gave something physical that I could look at and use to guide me, like a map, through the creation of my book.
Looking for real-world examples:
It also made us look to the real world for help and inspiration: this project became alot easier if one physically looked through “real” books to see how they were arranged. It forced me to look through my “graphic designer’s” eyes, so to speak, because as usual, many of the things I was searching for in these books are completely invisible to the average person. For example, when a non-designer sits down with a book, they are most likely not doing so to check and see if the running headers are italicized or not; or what point size the body text is.
Using the Grid:
This project had a strong emphasis on using an underlying grid to aid us in laying out the content of our book. This was a great experience because it gave me practice with splitting my layout methods 50/50: partially trusting the grid, and partially trusting my own instincts, or “eyeballing it”. Practicing using a grid was beneficial and honestly makes it alot easier to come up with a clean, aesthetically pleasing design.
Deciding what typefaces to use:
This step was really important in creating the book. It proved to me how far I had come from the beginning of this class. With this step, I exercised my conscious decision making when it came to typefaces: I am no longer just choosing to use a font for no good reason, or simply because “I like it.” I have matured and grown in the class, and can more easily apply a typeface to a body of written language in an appropriate manor.
Over the course of this class, I have come to realize like many of the finer things in life, appreciation for fonts can be an acquired taste. I believe that my taste level for fonts has matured and I have grown to love many fonts that prior to this course I found boring or too standard for me to pay notice to. Here are a few fonts that I have found to be new additions to my personal list of favorites.
-Baskerville: I would have never in a million years listed this as a favorite font of mine before taking this course; it sure has grown on me. It is a get-the-job done type of font: reliable and classic. Can’t really ever go wrong with using Baskerville.
The final project we were required to submit for Typography 1 was a ” blog book”. The book was meant to contain all of the blog posts we had compiled during the course of the semester. These posts embodied our experiences during our time in the class, including the process of creating each project, activities done in class, and even our favorite fonts.
Through this book project, we were allowed to decide ourselves what content to include, how many chapters we wanted to have, what order to lay out the information in, and much more. We were free to decide what look we wanted our book to have as far as layout and font choice
Above: working on my blog book
The first step to creating our book was to conduct a typographic study on potential fonts to have the book’s type set in. This step would help us compare different type faces and determine which ones would work best together. Here are a few screenshots of my comparative type study:
I came to the conclusion that the following fonts would be appropriate for:
Headers: Franklin Gothic Medium (All Caps)
Body Text: Georgia
Subheads: Franklin Gothic Medium (Italic)
Photo Captions: Georgia (Italic)
The next step was then to set up a 5-column grid in InDesign and begin laying in all of my gathered content. Professor Dan stressed the importance of using a grid to guide all of our content into a reader-friendly arrangement. He explained that although a grid may seem confining, it is actually the opposite, as the grid makes it alot easier to cleanly and professionally arrange alot of information.
Below: Professor Dan illustrates the importance of setting up and underlying grid & explains what gutters are;
Browsing through books in the OpenLab in order to gain ideas and inspiration on how to lay out my book
Once the grid was established, I began to play around with arranging my photos and bodies of text:
pics of assembling book, screenshots of indesign layout
On Thursday, November 20th, we split into groups and interacted with physical letterforms to practice utilizing kerning when working with type. Each group was assigned the phrase”type rules” printed in a different typeface and was given each individual letter as a print out. We then had to trim the letter from it’s page using an x-acto knife, and perfect their kerning by hand. My group consisted of myself, MaNazah, Taylor, and Mariam.
shown below: our group alongside our version of “type rules”, set in Minion Pro
In my opinion, Project 3: Fictional Letterform was one of the most fun and beneficial projects assigned during the entire class period. This project was many lessons rolled into one, most likely because it was technically 2 projects (Pt.1 was developing and finalizing the letterform itself; Pt. 2 was the creation of the poster).
- Lessons learned in Pt.1: creating the letterform:
Familiarization with typographic catergories:
This project focused alot on typographic categories or styles and the characteristics that make a typeface fall under it’s respective catergory. During this project, I became alot more familiar with the distinctions that ultimately caused my font, Perpetua, to be known as a Transitional font. I think gaining more knowledge about the typographic categories was beneficial in the sense that knowing the history of anything you are studying is crucial. Each typeface looks a certain way because it is a product of a time period. Learning why a transitional typeface has the characteristics it does and knowing the history behind it was really interesting. Paying attention to these characteristics is ultimately what lent a hand to major decision making decisions when creating my letterform.
The importance of experimenting through thumbnails & sketching:
In the beginning stages of the letter creation process, we were asked to conduct studies on the letters found in our typographic category as well as create various combinations of letterforms using bits and pieces of these letters. This was to be done on a piece of paper, by hand. This part of the project taught me that thumb-nailing is a really important part in throwing out initial ideas before moving to the computer and working digitally. By working with a pencil, I was not afraid to make mistakes, and therefore produced more ideas than I would have if I were confined to my computer screen. It also helped me to familiarize myself with the distinct characteristics of each letter by drawing up close and experiencing the letter through my own “touch” if you will. I also was able to jot down notes and work through eliminating designs I didnt like quicker.
- Lessons learned in Pt. 2: Creating the poster
The importance of hierarchy:
The poster section of the project emphasized the importance of determining a hierarchy heavily. Because the poster had so many elements that needed to be incorporated into a limited amount of space, defining a hierarchy was crucial. This part of the project taught me to choose a few “key players”, or elements that I wanted to stand out the most, and then to decide the importance of the other elements accordingly. Setting up a hierarchy is purposefully as a designer telling the viewer what to view first, second, and so on. It means keeping control over the different parts of a whole and making sure not everything is on a level field, which can lead to a chaotic and muddled design.
Testing various compositions:
Another thing the poster project taught me was to not be afraid to experiment with various compositions. In the past, I would tend to get hung up on one or two layouts, and be nervous to move elements around drastically. Professor Dan made it clear that when trying to develop a composition, it is necessary to create lots of iterations and to push yourself to make each one extremely different from the next. Through this process I learned to not get attached to a composition and to scrap it if it wasn’t working for me. Moving fast and working through lots of designs at once rather than stressing over one or 2 is a skill one needs to have when entering the field of graphic design.
In the first instillation of my type crimes blog post, I explored the various no-no’s illustrated in Ellen Lupton’s book: “Thinking with Type”. In addition, I have now gone on a scavenger hunt of sorts for examples in the real world of type crimes in relation to kerning and tracking.
“[Kerning and tracking is] The process of adjusting the spacing between characters in a font, usually to achieve a visually pleasing result. Kerning adjusts the space between individual letter forms, while tracking (letter-spacing) adjusts spacing uniformly over a range of characters.”
The following images are ones I have found that showcase poor kerning and tracking:
ADD 6 IMAGES HERE AND CAPTIONS
Project 3: Fictional Letterforms was all about seeing letters through a designer’s eyes: as lines, curves, and shapes. Although we as designers clearly realize this and utilize letters in a way the rest of the world does, we also have trained ourselves to see letters outside of their everyday context and to take a step back in order to analyze their visual qualities. This project also capitalized on the various type classifications and the characteristics which set them apart from each other.
Here is a small excerpt from Ellen Lupton’s “Thinking with Type” on Type classification:
- “A basic system for classifying typefaces was devised in the nineteenth century, when printers sought to identify a heritage for their own craft connected to calligraphy and the movement of the hand.”
For this project, I chose to utilize the font Perpetua, which falls under the type classification of Transitional. I worked to study the font closely, noticing all of it’s unique distinctions. I initially typed the entire lowercase alphabet out on my computer, and used this as a guide to begin sketching some thumbnails. I focused first on breaking up the letter, getting close and seeing every individual curve, weight, and overall taking notice of the different parts of the anatomy.
I then moved on to experimenting with creating my own fictional letterform based off of my previous findings:
The next step was to then switch over from using a pencil and paper to creating letterforms in Illustrator:
After much experimentation, I chose the following letter form to be my final product. It is a combination of the letters u, t and g.
The file was then sent to Professor Dan, who took the time to get each student’s letter laser cut on wood in the WSU wood shop. I then spray painted the letter matte black. We were then asked to have a “photoshoot” with our letter, collecting various images to potentially be used in the next step of the project: the creation of a poster.
Once I had collected my images, I began to work on the poster. The poster project had a very rigid set of guidelines that were to be followed. I spent time working on various elements, such a devising a Pantone color scheme, showing my letterform interacting with the existing alphabet, naming my letterform and deciding it’s phonetic spelling, and writing information about the typographic category from which it came (transitional).
below: working on my poster
In the book “Thinking with Type” by Ellen Lupton, various Type Crimes are pointed out. These are basically the no-no’s of the graphic design world when it comes to typography, and should be avoided at all costs. The different type crimes fall under these various categories:
- Type Families and “pseudo family members”
- Caps, small caps and “pseudo caps”
- Mixing Typefaces
- Line Space
- Vertical text
- Marking paragraphs
Here listed in my own words are the various type crimes Ellen warns us against/things to contiously pay attention to in order to avoid type crimes:
- Some type faces that work well at larger sizes look too fragile when reduced.
- Minimal differences are bad. Strong contrast between type sizes is better.
- Pseudo italics are mechanical, forced and unnatural.
- Pseudo small caps are a no-no. They are just shrunken versions of a typeface’s capital letters.
- Unnatural spaces between lines are bad. Do not let the computer decipher these for you.
- Squeezing lines/competing weights of fonts
- Too close in weight/not enough contrast/no noticeable difference when using more than 1 family member in a design
- 2 different type styles used together with not enough contrast
- Hatch marks vs. quotation marks
- Non-hanging quotes (quotes that are taking out chunks of white space)
- Loosely spaced lowercase letters are awkward
- Tight tracking
- Distortion (stretching and not scaling)
- Not using the baseline shift tool; letting the computer auto space
- Poorly shaped text block
- Gaps/holes in paragraphs of text
- Bad rag/wedged shaped text
- Excessive punctuation on the right
- Stacked lowercase letters
- Paragraph spacing and indents
- Too many signals (bold, italic and underlined all at once)
- Two hyphens instead of em dash
- Hyphen rather than em dash between numbers/dates
- Two spaces between sentences
- Don’t use the space bar to create indents
I took it upon myself to discover some of these horrible travesties as they exist in real life. Here is what I came across..
Shockingly, I found the first 3 all while taking a shower. Apparently the soap and shampoo industry needs to get it together when it comes to typography.
The words “shampoo” and “concentrate” are examples of words with lowercase letters that are spaced much too far apart.
“Fragrance-free” really does not need to be hyphenated.
“Higher priced”- a clear example of not knowing when to use hatch marks vs. quotation marks. Also lots of awkward spaces between words, creating a choppy rather than fluid look overall.
This poster has no real hierarchy or difference at all between texts.
Far too many signals (glitter, rainbow, bubble text, bold).