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Beatrice Warde – The Crystal Goblet

During the execution of Project 5, we had to read an excerpt of Beatrice Warde’s The Crystal Goblet, which has been praised as one of the most important essays on the topic of typography and graphic design. Warde draws heavily on a central metaphor in her essay; stating that clarity in print as a vehicle to deliver information is as important as a wine goblet being made of crystal, so as not to interfere with the taste and aroma of wine. The following is a portion of Warde’s essay that I found especially interesting:

“…We may say, therefore, that printing may be delightful for many reasons, but that it is important, first and foremost, as a means of doing something. That is why it is mischievous to call any printed piece a work of art, especially fine art: because that would imply that its first purpose was to exist as an expression of beauty for its own sake and for the delectation of the sense. Calligraphy can almost be considered a fine art nowadays, because its primary economic and educational purpose has been taken away; but printing in English will not qualify as an art until the present English language no longer conveys ideas to future generations, and until printing itself hands its usefulness to some yet unimagined successor.”

In reading this essay, I thought of this image I saw somewhere before. I think Ms. Warde would agree.

A Window of Words

31 Mar 2013

Project 5: Kerned Interventions

For our last project before the final one (my, how the time has flown…), we focused on kerning, or the selective spacing between letters. Poor kerning can alter the message being communicated, or just look bad and shift the viewer’s focus to the craft of the message instead of content.

Flickering Lights













For this assignment, we came up with a haiku about typography; the one below is mine.

Typography Haiku


We were then put into groups and selected one person’s haiku to physically install each letter of said haiku using laser cut cardboard (my group used masonite board, which proved to be a good choice). The goal of the assignment was to adjust the kerning for each letter as we installed the haiku in a publicly visible space within the school building. My group mate Tyler came up with the idea to do the kerning on the computer first, then tile print the document, cut out the letters, and tape it up as a template. We would then install the letters over the template and avoid having to constantly adjust the kerning. This proved to be another good choice, as it saved us a bunch of time in putting the letters up, which was already going to be a task, since the spot we picked for our haiku was 10-15 feet up above a set of doors.

My group decided on using Tyler’s haiku for the installation, and with that, we began the process.

Haiku To Be KernedHere is the haiku, in Adobe Garamond Pro Small Caps, with auto kerning. Note that the ‘R’ and ‘A’ touch in ‘DRAG’ and the ‘O’ in ‘OUTLINES’ is a bit too secluded from the rest of the word. We aimed to fix these kerning inconsistencies, as shown in the fixed haiku below.

Kerned Haiku


Then, we tile printed the haiku in Illustrator, cut out the letters, put the haiku back together, and got the template up on the wall:



Putting Up Template



















Next came time to apply the adhesive tabs onto the letters and put the letters up.


Installation and Removal of Template



After the letters were up, we removed the template from the wall, revealing the finished product.

Installed Haiku


During the critique of the final product, it was suggested that the kerning was too tight for the tracking (the overall spacing in groups of letters), and for the leading (vertical spacing between lines of text). I am most likely biased, but I really like the impact that the leading has by being so open, and if given the chance to do it again, I’m not sure I would change the leading. Aside from a few really small kerning imperfections, I think it turned out really great. I love the color of the masonite board against the jade color of the wall, and the thickness of the board made it really easy to work with. Also, when the board was laser cut, it created a dark, burned edge that gave the illusion of a faded outline, which looked really cool.

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27 Mar 2013

Star Wars and Typography

I like how almost any interest someone has can be integrated into the field of typography, and there are a lot of really cool things out there that people are doing to merge their interests. Here are a few of my favorite examples of Star Wars-related typography. I especially like that Jar Jar Binks’ typographic manifestation is Comic Sans, everyone’s favorite font (see ‘Serifs are Serious’ post:

Oh, and of course…may The Force be with you.

The Force of type, that is.

A Galactic Guide to Typography


May The Force of Typography Be With You


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27 Mar 2013

Project 4: Constrained Systems

For this assignment, we were given a specific noun and adjective and our task was to design a modular system of letters out of only squares or circles (our choice). My words were Splatters and Defamatory.

For the first part of the assignment, we had to brainstorm connotations for our words and start to sketch out some ideas of what this would look like. The connotations for Splatters was fairly straightforward and could only be one real thing, but for Defamatory, I had a few more options.



I decided to go with the degradation/destruction aspect of Defamatory, as it yielded the best results, in my opinion.

Below is what I ended up with as a first draft for these two words in digital format. As I said, Splatters was pretty straightforward, but Defamatory is what I needed to work on refining and committing to a design.

Defamatory and Splatters

UPDATE March 7th

Here is the final outcome for this project. Visually, I like the way Defamatory came out, but I think that Splatters conveys what it represents more so than Defamatory.

Defamatory FINAL

Splatters FINAL

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5 Mar 2013