Category Archives: Part 4 Typography

French fonts and swirls


Assignment 4 feedback

nice 'g'Christian’s very thorough and useful feedback > GD Tutor Report Form-4   Tempting to go back and redo a few things, following the advice, but not now.  For reference, an interesting interview with Verena Gerlach on her typefaces that have grown out of 1930’s shop signs, and a nice ‘g’

And onto the next, which is… “Pointers for the next assignment. The final part of the module focuses on layout through an exploration of editorial design in magazines and books, designing grids, using columns, and handling text and images together. It introduces information graphics, publicity and marketing, branding and identity, and explores how to design leaflets, flyers and posters.”

Chapter 4 quick recap

What have I learned?
Text as visual object – and the dynamics.   Playing with words and shapes: semantic meaning, visual representation and fun.  Romantic decay > what’s that all about?  Adding emotion into the mix.
Mechanics, practicality, legibility. Big multi-purpose font families, body text needs to work really small, need to work with many scripts, many languages. Working on characters and the spaces between them.  Working on paragraphs and the spaces between them.  Working on characters and their shape, serifs and legibility. Difference between design customised bolding and technical bolding > designed is best, given the choice.
Technologies and their effect on development. Always building on the previous technology, what gets lost, what stays.  Decisions… how deep to go > degrees of geekiness.  How light to go > degrees of fluffiness / playfulness.  Practicality comes first, and technicality, and when comfortable, add creativity, but keep it on the ground.
Doing it. Uniformity of shapes, spacing and balance. Display fonts much simpler than body fonts. Note that font editing software is an extra cost – why nothing in CS5?  Discovered Squirrel Fonts for free webfonts,  the weird little Windows font tool and handwriting > font apps on the web. Font libraries, online and books, DIY fonts, free fonts, expensive fonts.  Classical font families.  Design classification: Black letter, sanserif, serif, handwriting, symbols and flights of fancy. Tech classification – unicode. Licensing and copyright.  Webfonts, @fontface, standardisation, corporate ownership, opentype. Fonts live on the machine, are pulled by the browser, css font contingency 1> 2> 3> sanserif generic.  Embedding fonts, licensing (again).
Old technologies for their own sake, retro woodblock and typewriter key fonts, metal type, old printing machines.  Old computer fonts, gravestones and stone carving. Distressing. Indian trucks, sign-painting and vinyl lettering. Finally, scripts and languages, Indic, Arabic, and complex geometries, Al Jazeera teardrop logo.  Chinese and Japanese and how they work.
Scripts as objects, easier if you can’t read them, shape, pattern, rhythm and line.

Script on blue tiles

Finally, why has it taken me so long to get through this chapter? Apart from NO TIME issue… a huge chunk of time was spent learning how to use Illustrator – big learning curve here. Also tendency to go a bit off-topic, the gravestones business was about trying to work up enthusiasm for the topic, but became a bit obsessive in the end.  Also diverged off into the web stuff quite a lot, and old signage, technology shifts, etc etc.

Assignment 4

This is the hand-in piece: a finished magazine cover, with title font, and an article showing off what I’ve learned about typography >
Magazine cover and article (pdf)

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Toolbox: Adobe Illustrator, Indesign, Gimp, and Wacom pen.
Fonts – apart from the made up ones – versions of: Candara, Century Gothic, Chaparral Pro, Cooper Black Standard, Lucida Handwriting, Minion Pro, Samarkan Normal, Segoe Print.

Assignment 4 – cover photos

These are the 3 photos I chose for the background cover, 2 nice examples of multilingual and slightly worn signage on the tourist trial, and a shiny new shop sign.

Poor boxguy putting up a shop signMultilingual sign for tourists

Following on from the previous post about the covers… The guy putting up the shop sign was the obvious choice, because it’s the most interesting, it’s the right shape (portrait) and all the elements of the photo are conveniently positioned for a classic magazine cover layout.  The blue-grey tones of the photo, particularly the whites where good to push the image to the back, so it didn’t fight with the text too much – I think this works? Also, I chose to drop the title down the page to hang on the scaffolding.

Warmup exercises

Getting in tune with Illustrator, before I put together the article for assignment 4…  Playing with a found jazz album cover.

cha cha cha
dancing in lines
dancing in circles
dancing crazy

Also, 3 relevent tutorials didn’t get around to (yet)
Chalkboard type treatment
Beveled lettering
Retro type treatment


Assignment 4 magazine cover mockups

Assignment 4 cover options (pdf portfolio)

Lock gates

Numbers for a change > grungy stencils mostly. Looking at: spacing between numbers, reversed digits, shadow effects, opacity, hardlines, softlines, paint drips…

DIY font 2nd pass

Cracking on with the assignment stuff, this is the 2nd pass on a display font – realising it needs to be bigger than just 4 characters if I want to use it for a header font as well. I’ve now roughed up a complete set of lower case characters that has a sort of rationale behind it. It’s all in here > Type font 2nd pass notes.
letters and colours

Truck sign - lettering

Focus the mind

Found this here