Skip to content

Side Project: Type Crimes as defined by Ellen Lupton

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:

  • Size
  • Scale
  • Type Families and “pseudo family members”
  • Caps, small caps and “pseudo caps”
  • Mixing Typefaces
  • Punctuation
  • Tracking
  • Line Space
  • Alignment
  • Vertical text
  • Marking paragraphs
  • Hierarchy

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.

65509_873866329292101_6104892085429114159_n

The words “shampoo” and “concentrate” are examples of words with lowercase letters that are spaced much too far apart.

1919646_873866239292110_493035759231251151_n

“Fragrance-free” really does not need to be hyphenated.

10437511_873866299292104_4122970224241411228_n

“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.

20141023_115320

This poster has no real hierarchy or difference at all between texts.

2014-10-23 15.18.33

Stacked lettering.

20141023_150141

 Far too many signals (glitter, rainbow, bubble text, bold).

Posted by Ciara Diamond on October 21, 2014

Comments are closed.