This post is dedicated to all my blood, sweat, and tears… To begin, this was by far the most challenging assignment I have had for this class. Book design is never something I have considered in the past. So, when presented with the idea, I was less than thrilled. When I found out all of the intricate steps involved in the process I was even more intimidated. After spending some time laying out what I thought a book should look like I was not satisfied with my initial ideas.
When I printed out the page I had designed, I was not happy with the typesetting. In addition, I hated the bullet points. Even more than that, I felt that it was boring, kind of like a textbook. I would have never figured that out had I not printed it out and critiqued it, but it was awful.
The next step was to find some inspiration….I obviously wasn’t going to come up with an idea on my own. For some reason I thought intuition would kick in at some point and I ruled out looking up examples all together. Why that is, I couldn’t tell you. But, I knew I needed to identify my style as a book designer and develop my project around that. These are the examples I found myself most drawn to. A minimal, clean look. I like that most of these examples have body copy that is set off to the side or in an unexpected location.
After looking at these examples I felt MUCH more enthusiasm. I was ready to design!
These are examples from pages from my final book:
I am very pleased with the finished result. If I could change anything it would be the most common response I got from other students. I would have eliminated the “paste up” element of the book altogether. If I had it my way, taking this step out would have allowed me more time and freedom to play around more with my layout. I feel that for this project the added steps limited the amount of time I allowed my self for focusing on being creative and thinking outside of the box. Maybe in the future I will revisit it and give it another shot.
In this project, the goal was to design a typeface that communicates or insinuates a specific word and/or it’s associated connotations. The words I was assigned were “Conspicuous” and “Modification”. The project was broken down into three steps. The first, I collected images that communicated the idea of modification or conspicuous. The second step was to mind map or brainstorm all the connotations I could come up with for each word. The third and final step was to either sketch by hand or use the computer to execute examples of typefaces I’ve designed to communicate the words.
First step: Locate images that convey each word.
Second Step: Mind map/brainstorm each word and it’s connotations
More Organized Approach
More Organized Approach
Step 3: Sketch our ideas for each word using computer or pencil and paper
In this Charette we had to use the same items as before (our hand, our initials, and the words “graphic design”) in addition to arranging the composition according to the typographic layouts: axial, biaxial, modular, grid, transitional, random, dilatational, and radial.
These were some more simplified examples of the layouts:
The Timeless Way of Building — Page 174 – 210
This is just a list of my favorite excerpts from the reading and notes on my way of making sense of the whole concept.
*we shape the rooms and houses, etc. for ourselves
*”these patterns are expressed as rules of thumb, which any farmer can combine and re-combine to make an infinite variety of unique barns
*every new pattern that is considered takes into account what the structure will be used for and how it will interact with reality (for example, a barn that the ends connect easily with the paths where cows come in from the fields). in doing so, a new pattern is created.
Definition of Pattern:
a unitary pattern of activity and space, which repeats itself over and over again, in any given place, always appearing each time in a slightly different manifestation
*these patterns “in the world” are created by us, because we have other, similar patterns in our minds from which we imagine, conceive, create, build, and live these actual patterns in the world.
*each pattern is a rule which describes what you have to do to generate the entity which it defines
*the simplest kind of language is a language that contain two sets:
- a set of elements or symbols
- a set of rules for combining these symbols
*the rules of thumb are intended to create complete things-complete parks, buildings, park benches, freeway interchanges, etc.
*your pattern language is the sum total of your knowledge of how to build
*it is only because a person has a pattern language in his mind, that he can be creative when he builds
*the example of combinations of words helped to clarify his idea of pattern. there are more combinations of words that formulate nonsensical gibberish than there are true sentences. in order to be efficient, we recall combinations of words quickly to express ourselves and get the point across. the same is true for patterns.
After discussion in class I had a much better grasp on the idea of identifying pattern language in typography and graphic design. Below are the examples I brought to class.
Broad Visual Culture Graphic Design
Lupton — Page 22 – 47
I thought this reading was very inspiring. My favorite part of the reading was on pages 36 & 37 that showed all the different part that make up a font. Also, these pages were littered with type crimes.
A quote from these pages that I founding useful was “the relationships among letters in a typeface became more important than the identity of individual characters” pg 23.
Lupton–Thinking with Type
This reading was very interesting to me. I expected that typefaces would be effected by what designers and typographers were experiencing, socially and politically, during that time. I have learned about Humanism and the Renaissance in some art history and regular history classes. In this case, it was cool to see how greatly the ideals of the time were effecting even the concept of typography and printing. Knowing what I do about those particular movements, it was no surprise that during the humanist times type tended to look more traditional/biblical. For that matter, it was also no surprise that during the age of enlightenment, type took on a new and exciting feel. It never occurred to me how much of an impact the thickness and thinness of serifs could totally change the “impression” of such traditional looking type. I don’t think I ever really looked at it that closely. Very interesting read. Looking forward to more like it.
Beatrice Warde–Crystal Goblet
I thought this was a rather interesting reading. Beatrice was knowledgable regarding the subject and passionate to say the least. I really liked the way she described typography as “thought transference” which we’ve all considered, but put so eloquently, it was easier to identify with this statement. I agree with her sentiment. Being overzealous about type design can lead to big problems in communication, which is the sole purpose of using the type to begin with. In addition, Beatrice says “it is not a waste of time to go to the simple fundamentals and reason from them”. This advice stands as a reason why designers are encouraged to explore but keeping in mind the reason why fundamental type has been so successful. All in all, I think the essay was interesting. I would have like to read more of her thoughts on the subject.
Project three is designed around the exploration of the microscopic details that define a typeface. The steps are broken into three categories. Step 1: draw your chosen typeface; Step 2: sketch the details that define the typeface and then explore combinations of those details; Step 3: create a fictional letterform that could potentially exhist in the family of your original chosen typeface. This is a journal of my exploratory process…my looooong process.
My typeface: Didot
After re-evaluating my process, I did a little research in order to guide me through my reproach to my sketches. I found these images helpful for that purpose.
Inspiration for sketches:
When I first began the project my initial sketches weren’t exploratory enough. After examining the microscopic details of the font family, Didot, I think I was fixated more so on the decratvie elements as opposed to the overall form the type was taking.
My initial microscopic analysis of the anatomy of Didot:
My second attempt at pin-pointing the intricate details in the anatomy of Didot:
The second time around I made sure to go back and notate the differences I was seeing. This made it much easier when I started to try and combine the subtle details.
My initial exploration of recombining the microscopic details:
Second Attempt at combinations:
This is my first round of digitized fictional letterforms:
Paired with existing letterforms, it helps to add “believe-ability” to my fictional forms
I tried to pair my fictonal forms with letters that share similar qualities to make them seem more “at home” with the other existing letters.
Even after all that work…I wanted to push myself to really think outside of the box. Explore my options, even if it meant taking risky chances. So I started on a new letterform.
Initial: 2nd Revisions:
At this point I really wanted to play with the weight of the curve. It became too challenging in Illustrator, so I broke out a good old fashioned marker and got to work.
This is my final letter. The baseline, x-height, and ascender lines have been drawn to better demonstrate proportions. The ascender line was intentionally drawn to note the fact that my new letterform has two ascenders.
I just can’t stop looking at this piece. It’s like a labyrinth. It’s wonderful how it’s only in black and white but still has an ability to be incredibly impactful.
These are all examples of posters that I came across. I found myself drawn to each of them primarily because of the effectiveness of color (a an intentional decision to use black and white) and the layout. Very cool stuff!
I wish I would have seen this one and used it for inspiration when I was working on project 1!
This assignment has been challenging in many ways. First, I have never been formally taught about all the different typography terminology. Due to this fact, it has been a struggle to learn the terminology and apply it to the font I was given; Rockwell. Having said that, it has been very interesting really diving into Rockwell in a way I had never approached typography.
The assignment required us to notate the measurements (ascender height, descender height, cap height, x height, etc.) and map out the differences in a visual format.
This is what I came up with:
The four styles from the Rockwell family seen here are Rockwell Std, light italic, extra bold, and condensed.
As I mapped these fonts out it was brought to my attention that the cap height and the ascender height are the same throughout all of the styles of this font family. Very interesting….I actually mapped them three or four times to make sure I wasn’t missing something and each time I came up with the same result.
The next step in the process was to choose eight words that described my font. The words I chose were:
Regal, Scalable, Durable, Sturdy, Trustworthy, Legible, Welcoming, and Palatable.
All of these words, to me, indicate the true nature of this font as an everlasting font family. A family that can withstand the ever changing machine of typography due to its ability to stand alone as a beautiful typeface but also easily communicate to the masses.
Initial List Final List
After my initial attempt at the different parts of the project, I decided to tweak my work. Starting with the word choices I had selected to describe my font.
Then we went on to label each part of the font. We chose words from our original eight descriptive words we chose for the previous section of the project.
Initial Assesment Final Assesment
After we spent time identifing all of the different elements that make each style so dramatically different in a font family, we got to have some fun! I played around with many different letters before deciding on k, o, A, and X. I worked with a few different options, but felt these were good examples of the dramatic differences between style. I plan to revisit these initital designs and make changes based off the feedback we received in class.
Updated and Finalized Designs:
And on to the next part of the project…BRAINSTORMING! We had to choose two of our eight words and “mind map” as many connotations as we could think of. I literally got out a sheet of paper and went back to the old school ways of mapping my ideas throught liiiitle bitty thought bubbles all over a sheet of paper. I forgot how fun school could be!
The process in motion…
I felt these words were more “visual” and described the font better. Having said that, with the new changes and my new perspective on the typeface, I changed most of my other parts of the project as well.
Updated Mind Maps
Lastly, I completed part 3. The project required us to design a composition that illustrated the essence of one of the words I had used to describe the font. I came up with a BUNCH of options. Here is what I had…
Final Part 3:
The first one is supposed to communicate “CONNECTED” because the slab serifs, when printed small or the kerning or leading is close together, looks like the letters touch each other.
The second one is meant to communicate “SCALABLE”. I chose this word because the font is versatile enough to use in print for a book or printed on a poster.
Here are a few other options that ran through my mind throughout the design process:
The first two are meant to convey security or sturdiness. I tried to play on this idea of the bolder, stronger, beefier letters supporting the delicate, finer ones.
The second two were another attempt at “SCALABLE”. I was trying to find a way to emphasize the differences in sizes. I spent a lot of time playing with ideas to see what I felt worked best.
My process for identifying type crimes was quite simply. First, I read through all of the type crimes, making sure to include any notes or page numbers for reference. Then I googled some examples or each crime so I had a very clear understanding of how to recognize each crime. After that, I saw type crimes EVERYWHERE. I never knew most of these things were even considered incorrect, but after it was brought to my attention, I began to see these errors on signs, print ads, t.v. commercials, even highway signs. Below are just a few examples of the type crimes I came across.
pg 38; Proportions of letters have been digitally distorted in order to create wider or narrower letters.
Effects of type size
pg 41; Some typefaces that work well at large sizes look too fragile when reduced.
pg 42; Minimal differences in type size make this design look boring and ineffective.
pg 52; Pseudo small caps, These automatically generated characters look puny and starved; they are an abomination against nature.
pg 52; In this example of a stack of capital and lowercase letters, the spaces between lines appear uneven because caps are tall but have no descenders.
pg 54; Using typefaces from the same family but they are too close in weight to mix well.
pg 54; Using type styles that are too similar to provide a counterpoint to each other.
pg 58; Quotation marks carve out chunks of white space from the edge of the text. Use “hanging” quotation marks in the margin to avoid this problem.
- Prime or hatch marks indicate inches and feet.
- Apostrophes signal contraction or possession.
- Quotation marks set off dialogue.
see page 59 for examples of wrong punctuation
pg 104; Tightly tracked text ; letters are tracked too close for comfort.
pg 105; Tracking lowercase letters; loosely spaced lowercase letters–especially italics–look awkward because these characters are designed to sit closely together on a line.
pg 108; Automatic line spacing can have an uneven effect.
pg 112; Poorly shaped text block; in most uses, centered text should be broken into phrases with a variety of long and short lines.
pg 112; Full of holes; a column that is too narrow is full of gaps.
pg 113; Bad rag; an ugly wedge shape spoils the ragged edge.
pg 113; Punctuation eats the edge; excessive punctuation weakens the right edge.
pg 120; Stacked lowercase letters; vertical lowercase letters seem awkward because of the ascenders and descenders messing up the spacing.
pg 127; Using too many signals; using paragraph spacing and indents together squanders space and gives the text block a flabby, indefinite shape.
pg 132; Too many signals; emphasis can be created with just one shift, but using underlining, bold, italics, caps, and punctuation is overkill.
pg 204; data prison; the rules and boxes used in data tables should illuminate the relationships among data, not trap each entry inside a heavily guarded cell
Spaces and punctuation; em/en/hyphen
- Two hyphens in place of an em dash.
- Hyphens are used between numbers.
- An en dash is used for a hyphenated word.
- Prime marks (aka dumb quotes) used in place of quotation marks.
- Two spaces between sentences.
Samples of Type Crimes in the real world
Prime or hatch marks indicate inches and feet. This example was a quote printed in a Harley Davidson book.
Using type styles that are too similar to provide a counterpoint to each other. The example here was a commercial I saw on t.v. so I grabbed my phone and snapped a quick picture!
Too many signals; emphasis can be created with just one shift, but using underlining, bold, italics, caps, and punctuation is overkill. In this Chico’s catalog I noticed the excessive use of italics that made the information extremely difficult to read.
Proportions of letters have been digitally distorted in order to create wider or narrower letters. The example of this type crime was found on my daughter’s diaper rash cream.
When Professor McCafferty began a discussion about Em vs. En I was completely lost. After doing a bit of research for clarification, I had no idea these two typographic elements even existed. I am in the process of doing the readings, but in the meantime I wanted to post the info I’ve stumbled upon online.
This is what GrammerBook.com had to say:
An en dash, roughly the width of an n, is a little longer than a hyphen. It is used for periods of time when you might otherwise use to.
The years 2001–2003
An en dash is also used in place of a hyphen when combining open compounds.
North Carolina–Virginia border
a high school–college conference
An em dash is the width of an m. Use an em dash sparingly in formal writing. In informal writing, em dashes may replace commas, semicolons, colons, and parentheses to indicate added emphasis, an interruption, or an abrupt change of thought.
You are the friend—the only friend—who offered to help me.
Never have I met such a lovely person—before you.
I pay the bills—she has all the fun.
A semicolon would be used here in formal writing.
I need three items at the store—dog food, vegetarian chili, and cheddar cheese.
Remember, a colon would be used here in formal writing.