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Dec 6 / renee

Project Four: Constrained Systems

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dictionary definition:

full of mystery and difficult to understand of, relating to, or resembling an enigma.


my definition:

contains mysterious elements that are difficult to understand.

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dictionary definition:

to stop being visible : to pass out of sight

to stop existing : to die or go away  completely

to become lost : to go to a place that is not known

to pass from view

to cease to be : pass out of existence or notice


my definition:

to vanish out of sight; ceasing to be visible. quiet; to go unnoticed.

Dec 4 / renee

Project 3 / Process Work

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above are explorations of micro details of lowercase didot / below are my attempts at unique approaches to combine different letter elements into one cohesive letter form.

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below are hand rendered drawings of ITC New Baskerville Roman.

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Nov 23 / renee

Get Lost



(image / text source: bri emery)

we all get burnt out. [freelance] life is go go go. and then go some more. and certain mornings, you just don’t feel like going anymore at all. there will be days (maybe even weeks) where i feel a lost, tired and uninspired. i’m sure you know the feeling i’m talking about. but one thing i’ve noticed, is the inspiration always comes back if it’s something you love. and i truly do love graphic design. i know this because i notice the typography on the side of the street, on the menus where i am eating lunch… and then that design bug shows it’s face once again.

so go ahead, get lost. get burnt out. it’s fine, it will be back soon enough.

Nov 21 / renee

Typography Quotes

“Designers provide ways into—and out of—the flood of words by breaking up text into pieces and offering shortcuts and alternate routes through masses of information. (…) Although many books define the purpose of typography as enhancing the readability of the written word, one of design’s most humane functions is, in actuality, to help readers avoid reading.”

– Ellen Lupton, Thinking with Type


“Typography is the craft of endowing human language with a durable visual form.”

– Robert Bringhurst, The Elements of Typographic Style


” Geometry can produce legible letter but art alone makes them beautiful.

Art begins where geometry ends, and imparts to letters a character

trascending mere measurement. ”

– Paul Standard, 1947



” It is the designer/typographer’s task to match form with content;

to create an authoritative document. ”

– Nick Shinn



” ‘What designers do’ is to harmonize and optimize all the variables in a design.

Real designers don’t design documents where type style may be changed willy-nilly:

you change one thing, everything changes. What a designer needs is good taste,

an eye for detail, and a sense of which way the cultural wind is blowing. ”

– Nich Shinn



” Type design is one of the most visible and widespread forms

of graphic expression in daily life. It is still not noticed by all

readers of newspapers, magazines or books. Nevertheless letter forms

reflect the style of a period, and its cultural background.

We are surrounded by them everywhere.

The designer of new typefaces works in extremely small dimensions in

shaping a letter, and he is also limited by the traditional forms of

the alphabet. There are few possibilities for new ideas, for a good design

should not have eccentric and unusual details.

But the compromises required in designing for metal type can be ignored

today because the new digital technology allows freedom in making new designs.

Typography is two-dimensional architecture, based on experience and

imagination, and guided by rules and readability. And this is the purpose

of typography: The arrangement of design elements within a given structure

should allow the reader to easily focus on the message, without slowing

down the speed of his reading. ”

– Hermann Zapf (1918-)



” The grid system is an aid, not a guarantee.

It permits a number of possible uses and each designer can look for

a solution appropriate to his personal style. But one must learn

how to use the grid ; it is an art that requires practice. ”

– Josef Müller-Brockmann

Nov 20 / renee

Reading / Armature, Grid + Grid System

A designer designs using two things: a typographic element, and the space within and surrounding it. The next part takes skills and knowledge, and that is being able to understand  the difference between three different types of structuring approaches to design.

Armatures are the most intuitive of the approaches. This is to bind elements through deliberate placement that can be random, although ruled by “intuitively” divided space while employing principles of alignment, visual proportion, balance and harmony. The way this is done is similar to the instinctive logic which governs a well composed drawing. The use of armatures was quite popular amongst commercial artists of the 19th and 20th century to create well structured advertisements and posters.

Grids are a more precise way to structuring elements in lieu of random / intuitive placement. Newspapers utilize simple columns to accommodate content changes simply and efficiently.

Nov 10 / renee

project three / fictional letterform

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i explored the font didot for this project. i’ve always been drawn to this particular typeface because i think the contrast of thick and thin stokes makes such a nicely balanced font. it reminds me of a font that would be used in a high end fashion magazine, or a sophisticated dinner party invite.

the final letterform i designed was a combination of a lowercase v and a lowercase r.


Nov 2 / renee

type + layout / inspiration


i enjoyed this use of type that evokes what it spells, “playfulness”.

i found this and other neat designs at > designspiration.



interesting use of skewed type contained by a thick black box with no fill.

denature, made by say what studio.


i thought the geometric typography was quite compelling and inventive. i thought it made a very unique calendar.

you can even buy it, here!



i thought this was a compelling page spread designed by a good friend of mine. i find that large text that sits in a box is typically sans serif, i thought his use of serif type in a red box worked very well. i also enjoyed that the image is seen through the box.

you can find more of Javier’s work, here.

Oct 21 / renee

Detroit Art Book Fair


photo 1-1photo 3-1 photo 4-1 photo 4 photo 3 photo 2-1 photo 2 photo 1



check out some of my friends links who participated in DABF.

> design : eva zielinski

> design : paul goodrich

> photography : aleksey kondratyev : stand quarterly

> collective : salt & cedar letterpress


Oct 14 / renee

project two / font mannerisms



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Oct 11 / renee

Lupton / type anatomy

ascender heightsome elements may extend slightly above the cap height.

cap height the distance from the baseline to the top of the capital letter determines the letter’s point size.

descender heightthe length of a letter’s descenders contributes to its overall style and attitude.

x-heightis the height of the main body of the lowercase letter (or the height of a lowercase x), excluding its ascenders and descenders.

baselineis where all the letters sit. this is the most stable axis along a line of text, and it is a crucial edge for aligning text with images or with other text.

overhangthe curves at the bottom of letters hang slightly below the baseline. commas and semicolons also cross the baseline. if a typeface were not positioned this way, it would appear to teeter precariously without overhang, rounded letters would look smaller than their flat-footed compatriots.




a bit inspiration..

>> fonts of inspiration : tobias frere-jones : anatomy of type

>> typographic series : martin silvertant : anatomy of typography