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.
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.