DECEMBER 2014 ISSUE 1
GROOMING THE FONT
BACK TO BASICS
TYPES OF COTTON | featured pg. 48 |
Welcome LETTER FROM THE EDITOR
of an installation. I plan on making every issue that follows the same theme of digging deeper into the typography through the writings of knowledgable professionals.
Command Shift is a term for a shortcut designers use in Adobe applications. It essential unlocks items that are locked, unreachable. To me, typography is locked. There is so much to learn and know, from the history to the do’s and don’ts. As an aspiring typographer, I want to unlock typography. I want to learn the secrets and get the scoop. And as I become more knowledgable, I want to share it with you, my reader.
The columns, “Baseline” by Christian Schwartz, “Ampersand” by Louise Fili, “The Loop” by Paul Shaw, “Swash” by Jessica Hische, and “Ligature” by David Carson, will be consistent through every issue of Command Shift. Each one supplies a short essay on a particular topic applying to typography. The names apply to the topic, for example “Ampersand” is educating typographers on how to connect with people, and “The Loop” is keeping up-to-date with popular typefaces. Also, since this magazine is a kind of “behind the scenes” theme, most of the images are from typography sketche books that show the process of building and creating typefaces.
ypography is a mystery to everyone, whether you’re a design student or you have nothing to do with design. It is incorporated into everything around us, yet most people don’t even realize. Even as a design student, I failed to notice it’s impact on our way of life, not just in my culture, but across the world.
The articles, “Type Casting”, “Back to the Basics”, and “Grooming the Font”, in Issue 1 are all written by seasoned typographers.Topics and stories ranging from a humorous typographer’s journey, to the more technical side of the written word. All the articles are filled with the do’s, don’ts, and most importantly the whys of the typographical world. The last article is about applying typography to the world in the form
Whether you are a designer or someone just wanting to look at beautiful pictures of typography, this magazine’s goal is to unlock the secrets of typography. - Abbey O
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December 1, 2014 Issue 1 56 pages
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Photography credits: Typography Sketch Books by Heller & Talarico Stephan Sagmeister Jessica Hische David Carson
DECEMBER 2014 ISSUE 1
Type Casting - Grooming the Font - Back to Basics - Types of Cotton Ball of yarn used in the process of installation project found in article 4. Photo credit | Abbey Osley
GROOMING THE FONT
BACK TO BASICS
TYPES OF COTTON | featured pg. 48 |
BASELINE | Christian Schwartz
Tutorials on learning the fundamentals
24 AMPERSAND | Lousie Fili
TYPE CASTING | Steven Brower The journey of typographic maturity
How to connect people and typography
BACK TO BASICS | John D. Berry
Stopping sloppy typography
THE LOOP | Paul Shaw
Typefaces to look for
40 SWASH | Jessica Hische
GROOMING THE FONT | Robert Bringhurst The technical side of language
Inspiration to stay creative
48 LIGATURE | David Carson
Using typography in everyday life
| featured |
TYPES OF COTTON | Abbey Osley Large-scale typography installation
BASELINE TUTORIALS ON LEARNING THE FUNDAMENTALS WRITTEN BY CHRISTIAN SCHWARTZ
belong to the first generation of designers to whom personal computers have always been around. However I still think it is important to be able to draw by hand – or to know how the old technologies worked. I did some letterpress work in college, and did a bit of old-fashioned paste-up work, with a waxer, blue pencil, and a light table at my job in high school, so I have some vague familiarity with the old technologies. I don’t really think it’s necessary to do beautiful drawings by hand to be a good type designer. I think my own sketches are incredibly ugly, but they help me to quickly develop ideas, which is the important thing. The only potential issue I see with working 100% on the computer is that even the earliest proofs are seductively clean and crisp, so you have to be very careful to keep your critical eye sharp and not decide prematurely that the
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work is finished. Drawing type is a real craft. I’ve learned it by doing it and by getting a lot of really terrible work out of my system early. Self-editing is the hardest thing to learn. The software is fairly easy to learn, although I still get confused at times in FontLab Studio. I learned some good habits at Font Bureau, and have slowly developed a production process that works for me. The most important thing I did to help my development as a type designer was probably to look at a whole lot of existing typefaces, to analyze what really made them work (or not) – everything from Franklin Gothic to ITC Charter. Tobias Frere-Jones encouraged me to do this when I was an intern at Font Bureau during the summer of 1996, working under his direction. He taught me the essentials of drawing type – the rest has just been practice. David Berlow taught me about spacing during that same summer.
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The only potential issue I see with working 100% on the computer...
...is that even the earliest proofs are seductively clean and crisp.
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AMPERSAND HOW TO CONNECT PEOPLE AND TYPOGRAPHY WRITTEN BY LOUISE FILI
s it important to you to be part of a creative community of people? Of course. Absolutely. Going back to my art directing days, being able to work with great illustrators, photographers, and retouchers was so important and that’s the wonderful thing about being in New York. Are your friends mostly involved in the creative industry? Yes, because that’s the only language that I speak. I have friends who are outside of design, but it’s much easier to associate with people who understand and appreciate what designers do. What advice would you give to a young designer starting out? Follow your heart. You have to combine design with passion, otherwise, there’s no reason to be a designer. It’s not a way to get rich—at least I’ve not found it to be. But doing it is what makes me happy. At this point, my work and my
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life are totally, inextricably combined— you can’t separate one from the other and that’s just the way I like it. Do you feel a responsibility to contribute to something bigger than yourself? One thing that was very unfortunate for me when I was in school and just starting out, as a designer in New York was that I had no role models. I couldn’t find any women working in the field of graphic design—and I tried very hard to find them. Today, it’s really, really important to me to be a role model in any way I can. I’ve been teaching at the School of Visual Arts for over 30 years, where most of my students are female. Many of the employees I hire are women as well. What kind of legacy do you hope to leave? I think it goes back to what I was saying before about role models. If I’ve been able to inspire one young female designer, I will be satisfied.
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Follow your heart. You have to combine design with passion...
...otherwise, thereâ€™s no reason to be a designer.
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THE LOOP TYPEFACES TO LOOK FOR
WRITTEN BY PAUL SHAW
he end of the year / beginning of the year list-making spirit is still with me and so here I go with another typeface list. This one is devoted to typefaces that have been overlooked and/or underappreciated. There are two parts to the list: 1. typefaces available digitally that are not used as much as they deserve, and 2. typefaces not available digitally that should be. Imprint readers feel free to comment on my choices but also to send in your choices for other fonts deserving of more attention. The typefaces are listed in chronological order of their design. Walbaum by Justus Erich Walbaum c. 1800. Schadow by Georg Trump (19381952). Trump Medieval by Georg Trump (1954-1960). Trump Gravur by Georg Trump (1960). Marconi by Hermann Zapf (1973). Icone by Adrian Frutiger (1980). Hollander by Gerard Unger (1983). Utopia by Robert Slimbach (1989). Dorian by Elmo van Slingerland (1996).
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Koch Antiqua by Rudolf Koch (1922). Semplicita by Alessandro Butti (1930). Pegasus by Berthold Wolpe (1937). Fonts that I thought were not available digitally turned out to be once I did a check or double-check. But some were only partially available. I ended up changing my original list and weighted it more on the first group than I had wanted to do. This is probably an exercise worth doing every ten years or so. There are other typefaces besides these eleven that I could have included if I had more time. I am sure that some of them will be nominated by Imprint readers. If not, I will have fodder for a follow-up column. I would really be excited if people would suggest other overlooked typefaces (with some comments about what makes those typefaces worth rediscovering). Letâ€™s work together to get designers to look beyond such overused fonts as Helvetica, Gotham, TheSans, Myriad, Futura, Adobe Garamond, Bodoni Book, Mrs. Eaves, Gill Sans, Frutiger, Times Roman and on and on.
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So here I go with another typeface list. This one is devoted...
...to typefaces that have been overlooked and/or underappreciated.
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SWASH INSPIRATION TO STAY CREATIVE WRITTEN BY JESSICA HISCHE
ettering is essentially illustrations of letters, words, and phrases. As a letterer, when I’m hired to draw the word “holiday” I don’t first draw the entire alphabet in the style I wish, then position the letters to spell out the word. I draw the word as a unique image. This means that in a lot of lettering, if you rearrange the letters it would look pretty crappy—it’s meant to be seen and used in that configuration and that configuration only. Typeface designers work very differently. They have to create a system of letters that can be endlessly rearranged and work together. Display typefaces are usually less elaborate than text typefaces (though they look more elaborate, by and large text typefaces are much more difficult to make). Type designers have to make typefaces that even the least design-savvy person can work with and set beautifully. They create software that
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you can essentially own forever without updating. I try to advocate for typeface designers as much as I can because most designers don’t stop to think about the work that goes into making fonts. They make what I do seem easy! When I was in college, I was too broke to buy decent fonts. I knew that I could either approach every project with my limited number of typefaces, spend days digging through terrible free font websites to find anything even remotely acceptable, or “draw my own fonts” (I say this in quotes because it’s a complete misuse of the word font—a mistake I made all the time when I was younger). I noticed that the more I “drew fonts” for my own projects, the more I lettered titles and logotypes and headlines for fake magazines, the more my work started to stand out from my classmates. Everything felt more personal and more cohesive.
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I could either approach every project with my limited number of typefaces...
...spending days digging, or I could draw my own fonts.
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LIGATURE USING TYPOGRAPHY IN EVERYDAY LIFE WRITTEN BY DAVID CARSON
ood photography is like design; it’s all about the “eye.” You either have it or you don’t, and if not I don’t think it can be taught. I know I helped launch some photo careers by my unusual cropping, which made the photos more compelling. Surfers are a surpassingly conservative group, especially out of the water. The same people who appreciate those taking the most chances in their surfing, trying new things, experimenting, well, these people for the most part do not appreciate the same kind of attitude in anything else—like graphic design. But it’s funny, how things go from radical to acceptable. I always thought, as a designer, if you’re representing a sport like surfing, or skating or WHATEVER, you need to show the emotion of that thing. It needs to FEEL like the subject matter. Even if this goes
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against what was I was just saying about surfers being conservative, the sport has always been perceived as rebellious, and anti-whatever, which to me made it a perfect vehicle to experiment and try new things in the design. It felt like I was being true to the sport. Or true to the sport when it was at its very best. This is what I hated about SURFER before I took over: you could switch out the photos with about any other sport or subject, and it would still have worked. There was nothing unique about it. It was the same as everything else out there; organized, easy to read, boring and forgettable. I recall a study at MIT, which made the point that people remember things better if they have to spend a little more time reading it. USA Today picked up on that study, and said of my work, “it might actually get young people reading again, because they find it visually interesting.”
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It’s all about the “eye”. You either have it or you don’t...
... and if not, I don’t think it can be taught.
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The journey of typographic maturity By Steven Brower Graphic designer, writer, and educator Former creative director/art director of Print
y first job in book design was at New American Library, a publisher of mass-market books. I was thrilled to be hired. It was exactly where I wanted to be. I loved the written word, and viewed this as my entrance into a world I wanted to participate in. Little did I suspect at the time that mass-market books, also known as “pocket” books 9they measure approximately 4” x 7”, although I have yet to wear a pocket they fit comfortably into), were viewed in the design world as the tawdry stepchild of true literature and design, gaudy and unsophisticated. I came to understand that this was due to the fact that mass-market books, sold extensively in supermarkets and convenience stores, had more in common with soap detergent and cereal boxes than with their much more dignified older brother, the hardcover first edition book. Indeed, the level of design of paperbacks was as slow to evolve as a box of Cheerios. On the other hand, hardcover books, as if dressed in evening attire, wore elegant and sophisticated jackets. Next in line in terms of standing, in both the literary and design worlds, was the trade paper edition, a misnomer that does not refer to a specific audience within an area of work, but, rather, to the second edition of the hardcover, or first edition, that sports a paperbound cover. Trade paperbacks usually utilize the same interior printing as the hardcover, and are
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roughly the same size (generally, 6” x 9”). Mass-market books were not so lucky. The interior pages of the original edition were shrunk down, with no regard for the final type size or the eyes of the viewer. The interiors tended to be printed on cheap paper stock, prone to yellowing over time. The edges were often dyed to mask the different grades of paper used. The covers were usually quite loud, treated with a myriad of special effects (i.e., gold or silver foil, embossing and de-bossing, spot lamination, die cuts, metallic and Day-Glo pantone colors, thermography, and even holography), all designed to jump out at you and into your shopping cart as you walk down the aisle. The tradition of mass-market covers had more in common with, and, perhaps, for the most part is the descendant of, pulp magazine covers of earlier decades, with their colorful titles and over-the-top illustrations, than that of its more stylish, larger, and more expensive cousins.
WHAT I LEARNED So, when I made my entry into the elite world of literature, I began in the “bullpen” of a massmarket house. I believed I would be afforded a good opportunity to learn something about type and image. Indeed, in my short tenure there, I employed more display typefaces in a year and a half than I will in the rest of my lifetime. And, I abused type more than I ever dreamed possible.
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here, type was always condensed or stretched so the height would be greater in a small format. The problem was that the face itself became distorted, as if it was put on the inquisitionist rack, with the horizontals remaining “thick” and the verticals thinning out. Back then, when type was “spec’d” and sent out to a typesetter, there was a standing order at the type house to condense all type for our company 20 percent. Sometimes, we would cut the type and extend it by hand, which created less distortion but still odd-looking faces. Once, I was instructed by the art director to cut the serifs off a face, to suit his whim. It’s a good thing there is no criminal prosecution for type abuse. The art director usually commissioned the art for these titles. Therefore, the job of the designers was to find the “appropriate” type solution that worked with these illustrations to create the package. It was here that I learned my earliest lessons in the clichés of typography. Mass-market paperbacks are divided into different genres, distinct categories that define their audience and subject matter. Though they were unspoken rules, handed down from generation to generation, here is what I learned about type during my employ:
cursive type, but I would use better script and cursive type, so distinctive, elegant, and beautiful that I, or anyone else, would recognize the difference immediately. (When, six months after I left the job, I went to view my achievements at the local K-Mart, I could not pick out any of my designs from all the rest on the bookracks.) Soon after, I graduated to art director of a small publishing house. The problem was, I still knew little of and had little confidence in, typography. However, by this time, I knew I knew little about typography. My solution, therefore, was to create images that contained the type as an integral part of the image, in a play on vernacular design, thereby avoiding the issue entirely. Thus began a series of collaborations with talented illustrators and photographers, in which the typography of the jacket was incorporated as part of the illustration. Mystery books especially lent themselves well to this endeavor. A nice thing about this approach is that it has a certain informality and familiarity with the audience. It also made my job easier, because I did not have to paste up much type for the cover (as one had to do back in the days of t-squares and wax), since it was, for the most part, self-contained within the illustration. This may seem like laziness on my part, but hey, I was busy. Eventually, my eye began to develop, and my awareness and appreciate of good typography increased. I soon learned the pitfalls that most novice designers fall into, like utilizing a quirky novelty face does not equal creativity and usually calls attention to the wrong aspects of the solution. The importance of good letterspacing became paramount. Finding the right combination of a serif and sans serif face to evoke the mood of the material within was now my primary concern. The beauty of a classically rendered letterform now moved me, to quote Eric Gill, as much “as any sculpture or painted picture.” I developed an appreciation for the rules of typography.
THE RULES And so it went. Every month, we were given five to six titles we were responsible for, and every month, new variations on old themes hung up on the wall. For a brief period I was assigned all romance titles, which, themselves, were divided into subgenres (historical, regency, contemporary, etc). I made the conscious decision to create the very best romance covers around. Sure, I would use script and
As I’ve said, it is a common mistake among young designers to think a quirky novelty face equals creativity. Of course, this couldn’t be farther from the truth. If anything, for the viewer, it has the opposite of the intended effect. Rather than being the total sum of individual expression, it simply calls attention to itself, detracting from, rather than adding to, the content of the piece. It is no substitute for a well-reasoned conceptual solution to the design problem at hand.
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The beauty of a classically rendered letterform now, moved me
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As a general rule, no more than two faces should be utilized in any given design, usually the combination of a serif face and a sans serif face. There are thousands to choose from, but I find I have reduced the list to five or six in each category that I have used as a body text throughout my career:
care should be given to letterspacing the characters of each word. This is not as simple as it seems. The computer settings for type are rife with inconsistencies that need to be corrected optically. Certain combinations of letterforms are more difficult to adjust than others. It is paramount that even optical (as opposed to actual) spacing is achieved, regardless of the openness or closeness of the kerning. It helps if you view the setting upside down, or backwards on a light box or sun-filled window, or squint at the copy to achieve satisfactory spacing. I would caution you in the judicious use of drop shadows. Shadows these days can be rendered easily in programs such as Adobe’s Photoshop and Illustrator, and convincingly, too. The problem is, it is so easily done that it is overdone. Thus, the wholesale usage of soft drop shadows has become the typographic equivalent of clip art. Viewers know they have seen it before. Rather than being evocative, it mainly evokes the program it was created in.
You should never condense or extend type. As I stated, this leads to unwanted distortions. Much care and consideration went into the design of these faces, and they should be treated with respect. There are thousands of condensed faces to choose from without resorting to the horizontal and vertical scale functions. Do not use text type as display. Even though the computer will enlarge the top beyond the type designer’s intentions, this may result in distortions. Do not use display type as text. Often, display type that looks great large can be difficult to read when small. Do not stack type. The result is odd-looking spacing that looks as if it is about to tumble on top of itself. The thinness of the letter I is no match for the heft of an O sitting on top of it. As always, there are ways to achieve stacking successfully, but this requires care. Also, as I noted, much
Hard drop shadows, ones that are 100 percent of a color, are easily achieved in Quark and placed behind the main text. This method is generally employed when the main text is not reading against the background, because of the neutral tone or an image that varies in tone from dark to light. The handeddown wisdom is: If you need a drop shadow to make it read, the piece isn’t working. These solid drop shadows always look artificial, since, in reality, there is no such thing as a solid drop shadow. There should be a better solution to readability. Perhaps the type should be paneled or outlined. There are an infinite number of possible variations. If you must use a solid drop shadow, it should never be a color. Have you ever seen a shadow in life that is blue, yellow, or green? It should certainly never be white. Why would a shadow be 100 percent lighter than what is, in theory, casting a shadow? White shadows create a hole in the background, and draw the eye to the shadow, and not where you want it to go: the text.
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ustified text looks more formal than flush left, rag right. Most books are set justified, while magazines are often flush left, rag right. Centered copy will appear more relaxed than asymmetrical copy. Large blocks of centered type can create oddlooking shapes that detract from the copy contained within. Another thing to consider is the point size and width of body copy. The tendency in recent times is to make type smaller and smaller, regardless of the intended audience. However, the whole purpose of text is that it be read. A magazine covering contemporary music is different from the magazine for The American Association of Retired Persons. It is also common today to see very wide columns of text, with the copy set at a small point size. The problem is that a very wide column is hard to read because it forces the eye to move back and forth, tiring the reader. On the other hand, a very narrow measure also is objectionable, because the phrases and words are too cut up, with the eye jumping from line to line. We, as readers, do not read letter by letter, or even word by word, but, rather, phrase by phrase. A consensus favors an average of ten to twelve words per line.1
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Lastly, too much leading between lines also makes the reader work too hard jumping from line to line, while too little leading makes it hard for the reader to discern where one line ends and another begins. The audience should always be paramount in the designer’s approach, and it is the audience – not the whim of the designer, or even the client – that defines the level of difficulty and ease with which a piece is read. As Eric Gill said in 1931, “A book is primarily a thing to be read.”2 A final consideration is the size of type. As a rule of thumb, mass-market books tend to be 8 point for reasons of space. A clothbound book, magazine, or newspaper usually falls into the 9.5 point to 12 point range. Oversized art books employ larger sizes – generally, 14 point to 18 point or more. Choosing the right typeface for your design can be time-consuming. There are thousands to choose from. Questions about. Is the face legible at the setting I want? Does it evoke what I want it to evoke? Is it appropriate to the subject matter? There are no easy answers. When a student of mine used Clarendon in a self-promotion piece, I questioned why he chose a face that has 1950s connotations, mainly in connection with Reid Miles’ Blue note album covers. He
answered, “Because I thought it was cool.” I lectured him profusely on selecting type simple based on its “coolness”. Later, I relayed the incident to Seymour Chwast, of the legendary Pushpin Group (formerly Pushpin Studios). He observed that Clarendon is actually a Victorian face, which he and his peers revived as young designers in the 1950s. When I asked him why they chose to bring this arcane face back to life, he replied, “Because we thought it was cool.”
BREAKING THE RULES Of course, there are always exceptions to the rules. An infinite number of faces can be used within one design, particularly when you employ a broadsidestyle type solution, a style that developed with the woodtype settings of the nineteenth century. Another style, utilizing a myriad of faces, is that influenced by the Futurist and Dada movements of the early twentieth century. As Robert N. Jones stated in an article in the May 1960 issue of Print magazine: “It is my belief that there has never been a typeface that is so badly designed that it could not be handsomely and effectively used in the ads of the right…designer.”3 Of course, this was before the novelty type explosion
that took place later that decade, and, again, after the advent of the Macintosh computer. Still, Jeffery Keedy, a contemporary type designer whose work appears regularly in Emigre, concurs: “Good designers can make use of almost anything. The typeface is the point of departure, not the destination.” Note the caveat “almost.” Still, bad use of the good type is much less desirable than good use of bad type. When I first began publishing, a coworker decided to let me in on the “secrets” of picking the appropriate face. “If you get a book on Lincoln to design”, he advised, “look up an appropriate typeface in the index of the type specimen book.” He proceeded to do so. “Ah, here we go – ‘Log Cabin!’” While, on the extremely rare occasion, I have found this to be a useful method, it’s a good general rule of what not to do. Notes 1. Eric Gill, “An Essay on Typography” (Sheed and Ward, 1931), p. 136; (Godine, 1988). 2 and 3. Richard Hendel, On Book Design (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1998). Adapted from Publication Design (Delmar Learning, 2004).
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Back to the Basics Stopping sloppy typography By John D. Berry Editor and Typographer Honorary President of ATypI (Association Typographique Internationale) and the former editor and publisher of U&lc (Upper & lower case)
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here’s billboard along the freeway in San Francisco that’s entirely typographic, and very simple. Against a bright blue background, white letters spell out a single short line, set in quotation marks: “Are you lookin’ at me?” The style of the letters is traditional, with serifs; it looks like a line of dialogue, which is exactly what it’s supposed to look like. Since this is a billboard, and that text is the entire message of the billboard, it’s a witty comment on the fact that you are looking at “me” – that is, the message on the billboard – as you drive past. But, as my partner and I drove past and spotted this billboard for the first time, we both simultaneously voiced the same response: “No, I’, looking at your apostrophe!” The quotation marks around the sentence are real quotation marks, which blend in with the style of the lettering – “typographers’ quotes,” as they’re sometimes called – but the apostrophe at the end of “lookin’” is, disconcertingly, a single “typewriter quote”, a straight up-and-down line with a rounded top and teardrop tail at the bottom. To anyone with any sensitivity to the shapes of letters, whether they know the terms of typesetting or not, this straight apostrophe is like a fart in a symphony – boorish, crude, out of place, and distracting. The normal quotation marks at the beginning and end of the sentence just serve to make the loud “blat!” of the apostrophe stand out. If that had been the purpose of the billboard, it would have been very effective. But unless the billboards along Highway 101 have become scene of an exercise in typographic irony, it’s just a big ol’ mistake. Really big, and right out there in plain sight.
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THE DEVIL IS IN THE DETAILS This may be a particularly large-scale example, but it’s not unusual. Too much of the signage and printed matter that we read – and that we, if we’re designers or typographers, create – is riddled with mistakes like this. It seems that an amazing number of people responsible for creating graphic matter are incapable of noticing when they get the type wrong. This should not be so. These fine points ought to be covered in every basic class in typography, and basic typography ought to be part of the education of every graphic designer. But clearly, this isn’t the case – or else a lot of designers skipped that part of the class, or have simple forgotten what they once learned about type. Or, they naively believe the software they use will do the job for them. Maybe it’s time for a nationwide – no, worldwide – program of remedial courses in using type.
AUTOMATED ERRORS As my own small gesture toward improvement, I’ll point out a couple of the more obvious problems – in the hope that maybe, maybe, they’ll become slightly less commonplace, at least for awhile. Typewriter quotes and straight apostrophes are actually on the wane, thanks to word-processing programs and page-layout programs that offer the option of automatically changing them to typographers’ quotes on they fly. (I’, not sure what has made the phenomenon I spotted on that billboard so common, but I’ve
noticed a lot of examples recently of text where the double quotation marks are correct but the apostrophes are straight.) But those same automatic typesetting routines have created another almost universal mistake: where an apostrophe at the beginning of a word appears backwards, as a single open quotation mark. You see this in abbreviated dates (‘99, ‘01) and in colloquial spellings, like ‘em for them. The program can turn straight quotes into typographers’ quotes automatically, making any quotation mark at the start of a word into an open quote, and any quotation mark at the end of a word into a closed quote, but it has no way of telling that they apostrophe at the beginning of ‘em isn’t supposed to be a single open quote, so it changes it into one. The only way to catch this is to make the correction by hand – every time.
ANEMIC TYPE The other rude noise that has become common in the symphony hall is fake small caps. Small caps are a wonderful thing, very useful and sometimes elegant; fake small caps are a distraction and an abomination. Fake caps are what you get when you use a program’s “small caps” command. The software just shrinks the full-size capital letters down by a predetermined percentage – which gives you a bunch of small, spindly-looking caps all huddled together in the middle of the text. If the design calls for caps and small caps – that is, small caps for the word but a full cap for the first letter – it’s even worse, since the fullsize caps draw attention to themselves because they look so much heavier than the smaller caps next to them. (If you’re using caps and small caps to spell out an acronym, this might make sense; in that case, you might want the initial caps to stand out. Otherwise, it’s silly. (And – here comes that word again – distracting.)
“small caps” command – forget it ever existed, and never, ever, touch it again. (The exception is Adobe InDesign, which is smart enough to find the real small caps in an OpenType font that includes them, and use them when the “small caps” command is invoked. Unfortunately, InDesign isn’t smart enough, or independent enough, to say, “No, thanks,” when you invoke “small caps” in a font that doesn’t actually have any. It just goes ahead and makes those familiar old fake small caps.) You don’t really need small caps at all, in most typesetting situations; small caps are a typographic refinement, not a crutch. If you’re going to use them, use a real small caps: properly designed letters with the form of caps, but usually a little wider, only as tall as the x-height or a little taller, and with stroke weights that match the weight of the lowercase and the full caps of the same typeface. Make sure you’re using a typeface that has true small caps, if you want small caps. Letterspace them a little, and set them slightly loose, the same way you would (or at least should) with a word in all caps; it makes the word much more readable.
PAY ATTENTION, NOW There are plenty of other bits of remedial typesetting that we ought to study, but those will do for now. The obvious corollary to all this is, to produce well-typeset words, whether in a single phrase on a billboard or several pages of text, you have to pay attention. Proofread. Proofread again. Don’t trust the defaults of any program you use. Look at good typesetting and figure out how it was done, then do it yourself. Don’t be sloppy. Aim for the best. Words to live by, I suppose. And, certainly, words to set type by.
If it weren’t for a single exception, I’d advise everyone to just forget about the
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basic typography ought to be part of the education of every graphic designer.
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THE TECHNICAL SIDE OF LANGUAGE By Robert Bringhurst
Canadian poet, typographer and author
r i ti n g begins with the making of meaningful marks. That is to say, leaving the traces of meaningful gestures. Typography begins with arranging meaningful marks that are already made. In that respect, the practice of typography is like playing the piano – an instrument quite different from the human voice. On the piano, the notes are already fixed, although their order, duration and amplitude are not. The notes are fixed but they can be endlessly rearranged, into meaningful music or meaningless noise. Pianos, however, need to be tuned. The same is true of fonts. To put this in more literary terms, fonts need to be edited just as carefully as texts do – and may need to be re-edited, like texts, when their circumstances change. The editing of fonts, like the editing of texts, begins before their birth and never ends. You may prefer to entrust the editing of your fonts, like the tuning of your piano, to a professional. If you are the editor of a magazine or the manager of a publishing house, that is probably the best way to
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proceed. But devoted typographers, like lutenists and guitarists, often feel that they themselves must tune the instruments they play.
LEGAL CONSIDERATIONS Check the license before tuning a digital font. Digital fonts are usually licensed to the user, not sold outright, and the license terms vary. Some manufacturers claim to believe that improving a font produced by them is an infringement of their rights. No one believes that tuning a piano or pumping up the tires of a car infringes on the rights of the manufacturer – and this is true no matter whether the car or the piano has been rented, leased or purchased. Printing type was treated the same way from Bí Shēng’s time until the 1980s. Generally speaking, metal type and phototype are treated that way still. In the digital realm, where the font is wholly intangible, those older notions of ownership are under pressure to change.
The Linotype Library’s standard font license says that “You may modify the Font-Software to satisfy your design requirements.” FontShop’s standard license has a similar provision: “You do have the right to modify and alter Font Software for your customary personal and business use, but not for resale or further distribution.” Adobe’s and Agfa Monotype’s licenses contain no such provision. Monotype’s says instead that “You may not alter Font Software for the purpose of adding any functionality…You agree not to adapt, modify, alter, translate, convert, or otherwise change the Font Software….”
font itself, you will never need to make them again. They are done for good.
If your license forbids improving the font itself, the only legal way to tune it is through a software override. For example, you can use an external kerning editor to override the kerning table built into the font. This is the least elegant way to do it, but a multitude of errors in fitting and kerning can be masked, if need be, by this means.
Keep on fixing.
Respect the text first of all, the letterforms second, the type designer third, the foundry fourth. The needs of the text should take precedence over the layout of the font, the integrity of the letterforms over the ego of the designer, the artistic sensibility of the designer over the foundry’s desire for profit, and the founder’s craft over a good deal else. Check every text you set to see where improvements can be made. Then return to the font and make them. Little by little, you and the instrument – the font, that is – will fuse, and the type you set will start to sing. Remember, though, this process never ends. There is no such thing as the perfect font.
ETHICAL & AESTHETIC CONSIDERATIONS If it ain’t broke…
HONING THE CHARACTER SET
Any part of the font can be tuned – lettershapes, character set, character encoding, fitting and sidebearings, kerning table, hinting, and, in an OpenType font, rules governing character substitution. What doesn’t need tuning or fixing shouldn’t be touched. If you want to revise the font just for the sake of revising it, you might do better to design your own instead. And if you hack up someone else’s font for practice, like a biology student cutting up at frog, you might cremate or bury the results.
If there are defective glyphs, mend them.
If the font is out of tune, fix it once and for all.
One way to refine the typography of a text to work your way through it line by line, putting space in here, removing it there, and repositioning errant characters one by one. But if these refinements are made to the
If the basic lettershapes of your font are poorly drawn, it is probably better to abandon it rather than edit it. But many fonts combine superb basic letterforms with alien or sloppy supplementary characters. Where this is the case, you can usually rest assured that the basic letterforms are the work of a real designer, whose craftsmanship merits respect, and that the supplementary characters were added by an inattentive foundry employee. The latter’s errors should be remedied at once. You may find for example that analphabetic characters such as @ + ± × = . - - © are too big or too small, too light or too dark, too high or too low, or are otherwise out of tune with the basic alphabet. You may also
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find that diacritics in glyphs such as å ç é ñ ô ü are poorly drawn, poorly positioned, or out of scale with the letterforms.
I+2=3 <9> 6±I•2×4 a + b = c • a@b • © 2007 I+2=3 <9> 6±I•2×4 a + b = c • a@b • © 2007 José Mendoza y Almeida’s Photina is an excellent piece of design, but in every weight and style of Monotype digital Photina, as issued by the foundry, arithmetical signs and other analphabetics are out of scale and out of position, and the copyright symbol and at sign are alien to the font. The raw versions are shown in grey, corrected versions in black.
éùôã → éùôã Frederic Goudy’s Kennerley is a homely but quite pleasant type, useful for many purposes, but in Lanston’s digital version, the letterforms are burdened with some preposterous diacritics. Above left: four accented sorts are issued by the foundry. Above right: corrected versions. All fonts are candidates for similar improvement. Below left: four accented sorts from Robert Slimbach’s carefully honed Minion, as originally issued by Adobe in 1989. Below right: the same glyphs revised by Slimbach ten years later, while preparing the OpenType version of the face.
áèïû → áèïû If text figures, ligatures or other glyphs you need on a regular basis don’t reside on the base font, move them. For readable text, you almost always need text figures, but most digital fonts are sold with titling figures instead. Most digital fonts also include the ligatures fi and fl but not ff, ffi, fj or ffj. You may find at least some of the missing glyphs on a supplementary font (an ‘expert font’), but that is not enough. Put all the basic glyphs together on the base font. If, like a good Renaissance typographer, you use only upright parentheses and brackets (see §5.3.2), copy the upright forms from the roman to the italic font. Only then can they be kerned and spaced correctly without fuss. If glyphs you need are missing altogether, make them. Standard ISO digital text fonts (PostScript or TrueType) have 256 slots and carry a basic set of Western European characters. Eastern European characters such as ą ć đ ė ğ ħ ī ň ő ŗ ș ť ů are usually missing. So are the Welsh sorts ŵ and ŷ, and host of characters needed for African, Asian and Native American languages. The components required to make these characters may be present on the font, and assembling the pieces is not hard, but you need a place to put whatever characters you make. If you need only a few and do not care about system compatibility, you can place them in wasted slots – e.g. the ^ < > \ | ~ ` positions, which are accessible directly from the keyboard, or slots such as ¢ ÷123 ™ 0/00 1/1, which can be reached through insertion utilities or by typing character codes or by customizing the keyboard. If you need to add many such characters, you will need to make a supplementary font or, better yet, an enlarged font (TrueType or OpenType). If these are for your own use only, the extra characters can be placed wherever you wish. If the fonts are to be shared, every new glyph should be labeled with its PostScript name and Unicode number. Check and correct the sidebearings. The spacing of letters is part of the essence of their design. A well-
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made font should need little adjustment, except for refining the kerning. Remember, however, that kerning tables exist for the sake of problematical sequences such as f*, gy, “A, To, Va and 74. If you find that simple pairs such as oo or oe require kerning, this is a sign that the letters are poorly fitted. It is better to correct the sidebearings than to write a bloated kerning table. The spacing of many analphabetics, however, has as much to do with editorial style as with typographic design. Unless your fonts are custom made, neither the type designer nor the founder can know what you need to prefer. I habitually increase the left sidebearing of semicolon, colon, question and exclamation marks, and the inner bearings of guillemets and parentheses, in search of a kind of Channel Island compromise: neither the tight fitting preferred by most Anglophone editors nor the wide-open spacing customary in France. If I worked in French all the time, I might increase these sidebearings further. abc: def; ghx? klm! <<non>> abc: def; ghx? klm! <<hmm>> abç: déf; ghx? klm! <<oui>> Three options for the spacing of basic analphabetics in Monotype digital Centaur: foundry issue (top); French spacing (bottom); and something in between. Making such adjustments one by one by the insertion of fixed spaces can be tedious. It is easier by far, if you know what you want and you want it consistently, to incorporate your preferences into the font. Refine the kerning table. Digital type can be printed in three dimensions, suing zinc or polymer plates, and metal type can be printed flat, from photos or scans of the letterpress proofs. Usually, however, metal type is printed in three dimensions and digital type is printed in two. Two-dimensional type can be printed more cleanly and sharply than three-dimensional type, but the gain in sharpness rarely equals what is lost in depth and texture. A digital page is therefore apt to look aenemic next to a page printed directly from handset metal. This imbalance can be addressed by going deeper into two dimensions. Digital type is capable of refinements of spacing and kerning beyond those attainable in metal, and the primary means of achieving this refinement is the kerning table. Always check the sidebearings of figures and letters before you edit the kerning table. Sidebearings can be checked quickly for errors by disabling kerning and setting characters, at ample size, in pairs: 11223344… qqwweerrttyy…. If the spacing within the pairs appears to vary, or if it appears consistently cramped or loose, the sidebearings probably need to be changed. The function of a kerning table s to achieve what perfect sidebearings cannot. A thorough check of the kerning table therefore involves checking all feasible permutations of characters: 1213141516 … qwqeqrqtqyquqiqoqpq … (a(s(d(f(g(h)j)k)l … )a)s)d)f)g … -1-2-3-4-5 … TqTwTeTrTtTyTuTiToTp … and so on. This will take several hours for a standard ISO font. For a full pan-European font, it will take several days. Class-based kerning (now a standard capability of font editing software) can be used to speed the process. In class-based kerning, similar letters, such as a á â ä à å ā ă ä ą, are treated as one and kerned alike. This is an excellent way to begin when you are kerning a large font, but not a way to finish. The combinations Ta and Tä, Ti and T ï, il and íl, i) and ï), are likely to require different treatment.
...CHECK AND CORRECT...
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erning sequences such as Tp, Tt and f( may seem to you absurd, but they can and do occur in legitimate text. (Tpig is the name of a town in the mountains of Dagestan, near the southern tip of the Russian Federation; Ttanuu is an important historical site on the British Columbia coast; sequences such as y = f(x) occur routinely in mathematics.) If you know what texts you wish to set with a given font, and know that combinations such as these will never occur, you can certainly omit them from the table. But if you are preparing a font for general use, even in a single language, remember that it should accommodate the occasional foreign phrase and the names of real and fictional people, places and things. These can involve some unusual combinations. (A few additional examples: McTavish, FitzWilliam, O’Quinn, dogfish, jack o’lantern, Hallowe’en.) It is also wise to check the font by running a test file – a specially written text designed to hunt out missing or malformed characters and kerning pairs that are either too tight or too loose. On pages 204 – 205 is a short example of such a test file, showing the difference between an ungroomed font and a groomed one. It is nothing unusual for a well-groomed ISO font (which might contain around two hundred working characters) to have a kerning table listing a thousands pairs. Kerning instructions for large OpenType fonts are usually stored in a different form, but if converted to tabular form, the kerning data for a pan-European Latin font may easily reach 30,000 pairs. For a wellgroomed Latin-Greek-Cyrillic font, decompiling the kerning instructions can generate a table of 150,000 pairs. Remember, though, that the number isn’t what counts. What matters is the intelligence and style of kerning. Remember too that there is no such thing as a font whose kerning cannot be improved. Check the kerning of the word space. The word space – that invisible blank box – is the most common character in almost every text. It is normally kerned against sloping and undercut glyphs: quotation marks, apostrophe, the letters A, T, V, W, Y, and often to the numerals 1, 3, 5. It is not, however, normally kerned more than a half either to or away from a preceding lowercase f in either roman or italic. A cautionary example. Most of the Monotype digital revivals I have tested over the years have serious flaws in the kerning tables. One problem in particular recurs in Monotype Baskerville, Centaur & Arrighi, Dante, Fournier, Gill Sans, Poliphilus & Blado, Van Dijck and other masterworks in the Monotype collection. These are well-tired faces of superb design – yet in defiance of tradition, the maker’s kerning tables call for a large space (as much as M/4) to be added whenever the f is followed by a word space. The result is a large white blotch after every word ending in f unless a mark of punctuation intervenes.
Is it east of the sun and west of the moon – or is it west of the moon and east of the sun? Monotype digital Van Dijck, before and after editing the kerning table. As issued, the kerning table adds 127 units (thousandths of an em) in the roman, and 228 in the italic, between the letter f and the word space. The corrected table adds 6 units in the roman, none in the italic. Other, less drastic refinements have also been made to the kerning table used in the second two lines. Professional typographers may argue about whether the added space should
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be zero, or ten, or even 25 thousandths of an em. But there is no professional dispute about whether it should be on the order of an eighth of a quarter of an em. An extra space that large is a prefabricated typographic error – one that would bring snorts of disbelief and instantaneous correction from Stanley Morison, Bruce Rogers, Jan van Krimpen, Eric Gill and others on whose expertise and genius the Monotype heritage is built. But it is an easy error to fix for anyone equipped with the requisite tool: a digital font editor.
HINTING If the font looks poor at low resolutions, check the hinting. Digital hints are important chiefly for the sake of how the type will look on screen. Broadly speaking, hints are of two kinds: generic hints that apply to the font as a whole and specific hints applicable only to individual characters. Many fonts are sold unhinted, and few fonts indeed are sold with hints that cannot be improved. Manual hinting is tedious in the extreme but any good font editor of recent vintage will include routines for automated hinting. These routines are usually enough to make a poorly hinted text font more legible on screen. (In the long run, the solution is high-resolution screens, making the hinting of fonts irrelevant except at tiny sizes.)
NAMING CONVENTIONS The presumption of common law is that inherited designs, like inherited texts, belong in the public domain. New designs (or in the USA, the software in which they are enshrined) are protected for a certain term by copyright; the names of the designs are also normally protected by trademark legislation. The names are often better protected, in fact, because infringements on the rights conferred by a trademark are often much easier to prove than infringements of copyright. Nevertheless there are times when a typographer must tinker with the names manufacturers give to their digital fonts. Text fonts are generally sold in families, which may include a smorgasbord of weights and variations. Most editing and typesetting software takes a narrower, more stereotypical view. It recognizes only the nuclear family of roman, italic, bold, and bold italic. Keyboard shortcuts make it easy to switch from one to another of these, and switch codes employed are generic. Instead of saying “Switch to such and such a font at such and such a size,” they say, for instance, “Switch to this font’s italic counterpart, whatever that may be.” This convention makes the instructions transferable. You can change the face and size of a whole paragraph or file and the roman, italic and bold should all convert correctly. The slightest inconsistency in font names can prevent this trick from working – and not all manufacturers name their fonts according to the same conventions. For the fonts to be linked, their family names must be identical and the font names must abide by rules known to the operating system and software in use. If, for example, you install Martin Majoor’s Scala or Scala Sans (issued by FontShop) on a PC, you will find that the italic and the roman are unlinked. These are superbly designed fonts, handsomely kerned and fully equipped with the requisite text figures and small caps – almost everything a digital font should be – but the PC versions must be placed in a font editor and renamed in order to make them work as expected
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Types of Cotton Large-scale Typography Installation By Abbey Osley Graphic Design student with a love for typography
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ince the beginning of the Gutenberg press, typography has become abundant everywhere in the world, not just St. Augustine. Typography has shaped history and will continue to surround us in the present and in the future. Our world is rich with information, and typography is how we display that. It influences our interpretation of every piece of written information. However since it is so readily available, people take it for granted and over look its influence. My group chose the word, “abundant”, to encourage people to open their eyes and see the typography all around them, in hopes that they will appreciate and realize its value. Research began with an extensive search through the meaning of typography, understanding its purpose, and learning its role in the history of St. Augustine. I had a variety of different resources. I did web research for literal definitions, quotes and opinions from famous artists. Then I checked out books from the library for historical references and pictures. My last resource came from St. Augustine itself. I took many walks around the town and photographed examples of typography. The research helped me to gain a better understanding of typography in general. I’ve always known how important it is, however, through research I was able to further understand it as a tool for communication and it’s ultimate purpose. Typography surrounds us: it educates us; captivates us. The typography that is a fundamental part of our lives today is the culmination of information, as it is displayed in innovative ways. When deciding a word, one of the examples was “overlooked”. I knew that I wanted to convey the same theme of something being present, yet not recognized everyday. I read hundreds of definitions in
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the dictionary and presented a list to my group. After much weeding out we decided on “abundant”. Next came the process of choosing a pixel. To go with the word, we needed an object that was universally used and came in large quantities. We settled on many ideas, but I was always dissatisfied with the result. It was good, but not great. I didn’t have my “Ah-Ha” moment. Then after seeing examples from Stefan Sagmeister, I came up with the idea to use cotton balls and string.
RESEARCH The first step of my research was to learn the history of typography and how it has developed over the centuries across the world. It started with the Roman Empire and the Middle Ages, then moved to the Renaissance, and ended with Colonization and Industrialization. Taking the time to study the history of typography gave me a further appreciation for it, and honestly made me fall in love. It was remarkable to see the changes and adaptations made between the regions, the situations, and the expanse of time. It shaped history in every way. Type’s key role in communication means that it can often be tied to a specific event in history or cultural epoch. Type occupies a formal role in the recording of history. The permanence of the carved word and the value of the printed item are the inseparable from our cultural heritage as type helps us to record, celebrate, and remember. Taking what I then knew about typography across the world, I honed my focus to just St. Augustine. I dug through thousands of photographs spanning from the 1700s to the 1990s. Using the chapters of my textbook, I analyzed each typeface and compared it as closely as possible to an appropriate typeface of that time period. I found 5 examples that I believe truly show the growth of typography in St. Augustine.
Typography has shaped history and will continue to surround us in the present and in the future
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postcard from 1870. The St. Augustine City Gates were constructed around the early 1700s and are still standing today. In the 1800’s there was a sign posted: “$10 fine for driving or riding through the gates faster than a walk”. The type used is a slab serif typeface, cut from wood and most popularly used in advertising. It originates from the 1820s phase woodcut phase started by Darius Wells. The St. Augustine Evening Record was a newspaper published in St. Augustine in 1899. It advertises the amount of its use in the booming hotel and railroad industry. There are several different typefaces used but all are serif typefaces. They all resemble William Morris’ Golden typeface. The 1908 poster advertises the Annual Ponce de Leon Celebration that began in 1883. This day stands to celebrate the founding of the oldest city in the U.S. The poster uses serif typefaces and was probably inspired by Frederic Goudy’s work that became popular for American printers. A photograph of working class men in 1915 standing in front of their store. Family owned stores, like Harris’ Studio, enriched the whole city. The buildings always stayed, but the occupations would often change, showing the city’s growth and versatility of the people. This store sign uses several different typefaces, mostly all decorative san serifs. All of these were popular among advertising, and originated from William Caslon’s unpopular typeface: Grotesque. The tourism was booming in 1945. Here is a postcard from the St. Augustine Fountain of Youth, one of the biggest attractions. This advertising shows the propaganda created for tourists to encourage them to visit. The photograph of the postcard was found in the book, “Journal of Decorative and Propaganda: The Florida Issue”. This postcard uses a san serif typeface that originates from Edward Johnston’s Kabel Book typeface; very simple and streamline. Looking at typography in St. Augustine today, it is apparent that type is everywhere. It is on the road bricks; maps; store signs; newspapers. There are many typeface varieties and each possesses a distinct personality. Some typefaces are fluid and convey elegance and creativity, while others are bold and communicate stability and precision. Typeface usage can therefore tell a reader the tone of the information being displayed. The word “abundant” means “existing or available in large quantities”. Abundant is a conceptual large-scale typography installation that gives voice to how people’s ignorance may affect their ability to notice typography – in an indirect but surprising way. The first round of ideas produced the idea of using straws. We ran with this idea for a while. We would use 2 or 3 straws to make a geometric pixel and glue them to a board cut out of the typeface. It also worked because we would place the installation on Aviles Street, which has a lot of restaurants. However as we dug more into the details, I realized it wasn’t going to work. We wanted a script typeface with a large geometric pixel, which meant the whole word was going to be tremendously big. We also didn’t want to settle with the typical format of gluing the pixel to a backing, and even further, another group was thinking of doing their installation on the same street. I wasn’t satisfied with the direction of the project, so I spent hours of research on current typographer’s blogs, suggested by Ryan. I really wanted to be creative with the installation and somehow create it to hang from above.
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Then in class one day I came up with the idea of cotton balls and string. Turquoise string would be tied between wooden dowels stretching 8 feet apart, from the top of the window display to the bottom. Hooks screwed into the dowels would keep the 200 strings spaced evenly across 9.75 feet. Then cotton balls would be glued onto the string to form the word. “Abundant” would be in a script typeface to evoke beauty, intrigue, and also a personal quality. I pitched the idea to my group and they loved it. The location was also changed to Antoinette’s Soap Shop where the multiple ceiling beams made it perfect to hang and kept it out of the weather. The window also has beautiful lighting at nighttime so visitors will still be able to see it when the sun goes down. Even though it was different pixels, it still used cheap, simple objects that are commonly found in abundance. From there I did a type study and found 5 unique script typefaces. I did most of my search on dafont.com. I then scaled the typefaces to the appropriate size and created 1x1 inch circles to represent the cotton balls in Adobe Illustrator. To make things easier I created a large sheet of the circles, placed them over the typeface, and then deleted anything that extended beyond the type. I made sure the circles were in precious columns so it would imitate being attached to the strings. After showing them to my group, we all decided on the script typeface called, “Lauren Script”. I then counted each and every one of the cotton balls used to form the letters and the amount of string. It came to 3,500 cotton balls and 200 pieces of string, which was a total of 1,700 feet. I printed the typeface on tiled 11x17 pages. Once I pieced it all together, the word became roughly 4 feet tall and 10 feet long. It needed to be less then 11 feet long because of the room in the window display. I went on two occasions to Antoinette’s Soap Shop to take measurements. Both times Jen, the manager, was extremely helpful and encouraged me in every way possible. The first time I took measurements of the height and length of the room, the second time I brought the wooden dowels to measure how much I would need to trim them down. The installation will be in two pieces because of the beam running down the middle of the room. We also chose our colors based on the Soap Shop. The room is pink and offers as a perfect backdrop. Among the decorations in the window was a turquoise nightstand, which inspired us to match the color of the string to. Then of course the cotton balls will be white. The installation will lead visitors on a thought-provoking journey through a popular urban site, King Street. Using cotton balls as pixels and the site as canvas, Abundant will be designed in a script style, evoking a personal quality and becomes intriguing.
3 ft. Wooden Dowels – 8 for $3 each = $24
Metal Eye Screws – 4 packs of 100 for $6 each = $24
Printing Tiles – 44 sheets - $5
Spray Paint – $8
Cotton Balls – 9 packs of 400 for $4 = $36
Balls of String – 2 rolls of 350 yds. for $3 = $6
Command Strips – 1 pack - $4
2 Glue Guns and Glue Sticks - $5
veryone in the group was on board with the idea to create a hanging installation to provide variety from the others. We chose Antoinette’s Soap Shop because of its keen location on King Street, which gets a lot of traffic during the Art Walk. Antoinette’s is also a fairly new store so they were open and eager for all ways of advertising. They encourage art students to use their location and space for projects. This way both parties profit. I have been taking photos during the whole process, and as we start to glue the cotton balls we will start with a videographer. The videographer will attend Art Walk and record people’s reaction to the installation. We also plan on passing out postcards with a brief introduction of us, typography, and the purpose of our installation.
CHALLENGES Unfortunately there were challenges with this project from the beginning. Once we battled past our concept, we were stumped with finding a big enough area to assemble the installation and keep it safe till the final day. We finally took over studio 1 in the art building, however after a couple hours of working I would have to pack it up and take it back to my room. At first the idea of rolling the dowels and string like scrolls seemed brilliant. However unrolling them proved we were wrong. It took about about 2 hours just to untangle the string, and this also required us to re-tie a lot of the string that became loose. After a few more trial-and-errors, we had mastered the requirements of our installation and were ready for transporation and installment on the final day.
EFFECTIVENESS We, as a group, were extremely proud of our end result and I think that showed, making it effective. We stood infront of the window outside and passed out cards with a short description of what we had done and why. Many people were amazed by the number of cotton balls and string, we used it as a hook to draw them in. There were a couple interesting comments, but for the most part people asked questions, talked to use for a bit, and told us what a great job we had done. Most of all, the store manager and owner loved it. They thought it brought in great business, and even let us keep it in the window for another week. I think bringing typography to the people of St. Augustine was important and a great project, however I think the project effected me the most. Maybe it was all the long hours, thought, and stress I poured into it, but either way, on the final night I couldn’t stop staring at it. When the day came for me to take the installation down, I stood alone in the window display. I brought a pair of scissors and quietly cut down each letter, ending up with a huge pile of cotton on the floor. I won’t lie to you when I say I shed a tear or two. But it made me realize that typography is meant to grow. Our installation wasn’t meant to stay up forever.
Types of Cotton - Issue 1 - Command Shift | 53
We, as a group, were extremely proud of our end result and I think that showed, making it effective.
54 | Command Shift - Issue 1 - Types of Cotton
Types of Cotton - Issue 1 - Command Shift | 55