This is my second blog post and I will be talking about Typography. To be honest I’ve always heard about this buzzword but never truly understood the meaning of typography. In our Branding Design Class we barely touched the surface, but here goes nothing…
From what I can fathom is that typography is a science and an art form in itself, that is concerned with the creation and arrangement of type that fit proportionately together to create words and language. Typography involves arranging type, type design and modifying type glyphs. Arranging type involves changing the point size, leading, width, letter spacing and kerning; while type design is the art of designing typefaces.
Below is a very detailed visual representation of the terms used in typography. x-height, serif, counter, descender, ascender and the stress of a letter are the principal terms in typography, while loop, spur, tail and link are not as influential.
We also came across the term baseline, which is the line upon which a line of text rests. In most typefaces the descenders of characters such as g or p fall below the baseline. The baseline is the point from which other elements are measured, such as the x-height and leading.
X-Height, Serif and Sans Serif
X-height is the height of a lower case x and determines the visual size of the type, which varies from typeface to typeface. Typefaces that have large x-heights tend to have small ascenders and descenders. Leading (aka line spacing) refers to the baseline of successive lines of type, meaning how far apart is one line from the other. As you can see below.
Other important elements that need to be accounted for are letter spacing and kerning. Letter spacing is the even and uniform spacing between letters regardless of the characters, while kerning is adjusting the spacing between individual character pairs with the aim of improving readability.
Serif and Sans Serif Typefaces
A serif is a small line attached to the end of a stroke in a letter. A typeface with a serif is called a serif typeface, while a typeface without a serif is called a sans serif typeface (meaning without).
There are general groups of serifs such as bracketed, hairline, slab or slab bracket.
I recently came across a blogpost by David Addey in which he examined in depth the typography that was used in every scene in the cult movie 2001: A Space Odyssey by Stanley Kubrick. A very interesting read I must say, but be careful for spoilers though!!
I also came across a very interesting video on youtube about how two pioneers John Warnock and Chuck Geschke founded Adobe after having years of experience with XEROX. Warnock then developed the Adobe Postcript a vector graphics computer language for 2D graphics to solve the problem of how to make fonts look good at low resolutions – meaning at the pixel level. The first postscript language was used with the first Apple Laser Printer and gave rise to desktop publishing.
Graphic designer Sam Barclay launched a Kick Starter project to publish a book called ‘I wonder what it feels like to be dyslexic’, whereby he created a typeface that typifies how dyslexic people view lines of text. This project visualises a variety of typographic theories to plainly portray the experience of reading with dyslexia.
Penguin Books re-released 5 of George Orwell’s books with new covers that have been designed by David Pearson – an award winning typographer and designer. Each cover has a different typeface reminiscent of the theme of the book and the era that it represents. Follow the link here
The last article I came across is about a type foundry between Jonathan Hoefler and Tobias Frere-Jones – one of the most prestigious type foundries (are now splitting up). They are the creators of the typeface Gotham, which was used in 2008 Obama Election and they also launched the ‘cloud typography‘ – a cloud service for an annual fee giving access to a plethora of web fonts.
From now on I will never look at type the same way as before. The amount of detail and thought that undergoes in creating a typeface is extraordinary, something I need to consider when I’ll be doing my assignment. The chosen typeface must be properly integrated with the brand concept and in line with the aesthetics.
Hope you liked the read!