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An ode to typography // For the designer who wants to help make the world a little less ugly.

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TYPOGRAPHY // SURVIVAL GUIDE Christopher Dean Loock Moorpark College Publication Design // Spring 2015 The text for this book was compiled from the following sources: Thinking with Type by Ellen Lupton, and www. . This book is not to be sold to the public and to only be used by the designer for their reference and student design portfolio.

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What is Typography?

Anatomy of Type


Five Classes of Type


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06 Quotes to live by

History of Type

Glossary of Terms

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Legibility vs Readability


Rules of type





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WHAT IS TYPOGRAPHY? Have you ever stared at a book cover, a movie poster or a menu at a restaurant and felt some sort unexplainable enthusiasm for the way it made you feel? The way it seemed to look so pleasing to the eye, the way it communicated and told a story, almost evoking a certain emotional connection within you that had you staring into space, making you ask yourself, how? If not, then perhaps after reading this Designer manual you may find a new found appreciation for Typography and the power it has to emotionally connect with you. Typography in the Oxford Dictionary is simply defined as ”the style and appearance of printed matter” which it is by definition, but it is also so much more than that. It is the art and technique of arranging and stylizing type, the very foundation by which designers communicate. When Typography is done well, when it is really executed with reason and purpose it can create an impact that will leave the viewer with more than an image of communication, but a memory. You see Typography is more than making type legible and more than just choosing a pretty font. It is made of many elements that create a harmony and balance when put together. These elements each have a purpose that helps create a successful arrangement of type. Elements such as Leading, the vertical space between lines, which can have a big impact on how each specific line of text is read. Kerning, the space between each letter can have a strong visual impact on the visual identity of a word, and create a sense of harmony between letters, which can help make a word look more professional or playful. Measure, which helps the legibility of a block of text can change the way the reader interprets the message. Then probably the most important element to consider, is Hierarchy and Scale. When used badly together these two elements can create chaos and frustration, but if used effectively they can be the defining factor of a great design. Together all these elements can create the certain harmony that we designers crave and consider a successful design, but if used in the wrong hands they can be extremely dangerous and lead to what some might call “design pollution.” One thing to remember is that when working with typography and fonts, the designer must always ask how and why. How is this going to make the reader feel, and why do I want to make them feel this way. Each font carries a different impact and message. The emotional connection that Typography carries with it can change the way the viewer feels about a product, a place or even a person. Typography has the power to make a joyous theme look sad and lonely, and serious theme look playful and naïve. ¬¬It all depends on the designer and the choices they make, so take your time choose wisely, but remember that when in doubt, make it simple, but significant.

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Typeface anatomy describes the graphic elements that make up printed letters in a typeface. The strokes of a letter are the lines that make it up. Strokes may be straight, as in k l v w x z, or curved, as in c o s. If straight, they may be horizontal, vertical, or diagonal; if curved, open or closed. Typographers also speak of an instroke, where one starts writing the letter, as at the top of a c f, and an outstroke, where the pen leaves off, as at the bottom of c e j k t y. A main vertical stroke is called a stem. The letter m has three, the left, middle, and right stems. The central stroke of an s is called the spine. A stroke, usually a stem, which rises above the height of an x (called the x height) is called an ascender; letters with ascenders are b d f h k l. A stroke which drops below the baseline is a descender. Letters with descenders are g j p q y. An arching stroke is called a shoulder or sometimes just an arch, as in h n m. A closed curved stroke is called a bowl in b d o p q D O P Q R; B has two bowls. A trailing outstroke, as in j k y J K Q R is called a tail. A short horizontal stroke, as in the center of e f t A and the middle stroke of E F, is called a bar. A longer horizontal stroke at the top or bottom, as in E F L T, is called an arm. The bottom of the two-story g is called a loop; the very short stroke at the top is called the ear. i j each have a dot or tittle. Angles of strokes are called apices if at the top and vertices if at the bottom. w has one apex and two vertices; v has one vertex. The terminals (ends) of instrokes and outstrokes often end in serifs in a serif font. A serifed or unserifed terminal may be described as a wedge, bulbous, teardrop, etc., depending on the design of the type. Some designs also have spurs, which are smaller than serifs and appear on angles rather than at a terminal, as on e or G.

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Old Style (15th-17th century) Caslon The concept of adhering to manuscript models was the basis of the first 300 years of type design, and typefaces designed during this period are referred to as Old Style.

TRANSITIONAL Transitional. Baskerville The typefaces of this period are called Transitional, as they represent the initial departure from centuries of Old Style tradition and immediately predate the Modern period.

MODERN Modern. Bodoni These types are classified as Modern because they represent the last phase of character evolution from the pen-inspired Old Style types as well as the first effort to use the design of type to establish a contemporary visual style in written communication.

SLAB SERIF Slab Serif. Clarendon Manufacturing and mass production of consumer goods had two major effects on print communication: the creation of new kinds of print media and the emergence of more functional type designs for commercial purposes.

SANS SERIF Sans Serif. Helvetica The early 20th century saw continued technological advancement in printing and typesetting, flourishing of advertising and print journalism, and a contemporary movement in type design, influenced by the European Bauhaus and De Stijl design movements. // 07



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In essence, a good font should be left alone. It can be made bigger or smaller to accommodate the space it occupies, but it should always retain its original ratio. It should not be stretched, compressed, skewed, or any other applicable distortion. As a rule of thumb, if the font looks pixelated, something is wrong. Overall, type should look crisp and harmonious, not tweaked into oblivion. NOT STRETCHED //



DO NOT // Designers will be familiar with the term “river,” which is what happens when type is poorly justified — large unsightly gaps will appear throughout the paragraph — the end result looking like several rivers of white space are flowing throughout the text. These often appear in newspapers.


DO NOT // A good designer can always find a way to make a paragraph look relatively straight and crisp at the edges. If a paragraph has lines sticking out and the margins are uneven (most margins are flushed left, meaning the rags would be sticking out to the right), it can be distracting and unsightly.


The terms are often used interchangeably, although they are not the same: an orphan is a lone word at the end of a paragraph, and a widow is a word or part of a sentence that ends at the bottom of a paragraph and carries over onto the top of the next paragraph. They are considered type-crimes because they create unaesthetic gaps in text and make it more difficult for the reader. This is a paragraph. Typically it has about 5 sentences though it may be more or less. It usually has an intro that is an attention getter, several body sentences, and a conclusion. Unfortunately for this paragraph, it has an orphan.

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05 POOR KERNING & TRACKING Kerning refers to the amount of space between letters in a word. A word may look untidy due to too much space between some letters, or not enough. Tracking is essentially kerning but applied to the entire sentence, paragraph, or body of text, and not just certain letters within the word. “Leading,� (from the literal lead bars that used to be in the press) refers to adjusting the space vertically between lines of text. Any design program worth its money will have simple commands to increase or decrease the kerning, tracking, and leading of words and sentences.

06 SIGNAL OVERKILL Signals such as: bold, underline, all caps, oblique, and italics are all uniquely different ways to add emphasis to type. Oblique is by some accounts a type-crime in and of itself; it is simply slanted type and not the actual cursive, true italic form. Signals should only be used when appropriate, and should not be overdone.

07 DROP SHADOWS There is great debate about the drop shadow. It is said that when a certain New York Times magazine printed their headline with drop shadow, hundreds of designers called in the following day to the extent that the NY Times had to disconnect their phone temporarily. While it is a way to draw emphasis to type, many are unsatisfied with its unnatural, gimmicky feel.

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08 SCRIPT IN ALL CAPS Script text is supposed to mimic handwriting. Handwriting is meant to be a smooth, flowing text - you should be able to write a word without picking up your hand. Try to write hand write in all caps, it is physically impossible, the same should be true of script typefaces.

09 BAD TYPE FACES Potentially a controversial item on the list, there are several typefaces that are widely believed by designers to be rubbish and never to be used. Examples include Comic Sans, Papyrus, Jokerman, and Hobo. Even the ubiquitous Times New Roman is frowned upon by many designers who believe it is best kept to its original purpose: newspapers. Many of these typefaces such as Papyrus (famously used in James Cameron’s Avatar) have drawn a lot of scrutiny for being misused and overused.

10 “DUMMY” QUOTES There is a difference between hatch marks and quotation marks. Hatch marks are used to denote feet and inches, and often surface in math (indicative of equal length for triangles in geometry). Hatch marks should not be used in lieu of Quotation marks. Quotation marks should also hang outside of the text. In a clean design, the Quotation marks remain outside.

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LEGIBILITY // Legibility applies to parts of the text like letters and words and paragraphs. It’s micro-typography. It’s about type’s ability to be easily read, particularly under normal reading conditions. Assuming you find some text readable at some point you’ll actually be reading it. The type shouldn’t get in the way at this point. In fact the less you actually notice the type the easier it will be to read the words. We can think of illegibility as a condition where your mind is ready for more information, but it has to wait on your eyes to make out the words trying to convey that information. Illegible type is where your mind is waiting on your eyes. Legibility is the opposite. The letters and words are so clear that your eyes have to wait on your mind to be ready for more. Reading legible type is effortless. Illegible type presents barriers to communication. Legible type fosters communication.

READABILITY // Readability applies to the overall reading experience. It’s macro-typography and it’s about making type aesthetically pleasing in order to make it more inviting to look at, and read. Imagine you land on a web page of text that’s been formatted as one very long paragraph with no headings or subheadings. It’s just one long block of text. How inviting would it be to read? Are you going to attempt to find out? Probably not. The only way to know if you want to read that block of text is to begin reading it and unless the first sentence or two is extremely compelling you’ll probably move on to another page. You skip reading it because the type design wasn’t readable. Had the type been separated into several paragraphs, had there been a main page heading and subheadings giving clues about the content, had there been images, or some bulleted lists, the text would have been much more inviting to read, and keep ones attention. That’s readability. You design your type so it looks more interesting. You make certain parts of the type stand out to attract attention to them and let those parts provide a way into the full body of the text.

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HISTORY OF TYPE // Gutenberg (ca. 1450-1480) & The Impact of Printing Before the printing press, books were produced by scribes (at first, primarily based in monasteries, although by the 12th century there were many lay copiers serving the university market). The process of writing out an entire book by hand was as labor-intensive as it sounds (try it some time): so much so that a dozen volumes constituted a library, and a hundred books was an awe- inspiring collection. This remained true until the invention of movable type, the perfection of which is attributed to Johannes Gutenberg (although the Chinese had it several centuries earlier, and a Dutch fellow named Coster may have had some crude form a decade earlier). Gutenberg, although a man of vision, did not personally profit from his invention. He worked for over a decade with borrowed capital, and his business was repossessed by his investors before the first mass-produced book was successfully printed---the Gutenberg Bible of 1454, printed in Mainz by Fust and Schoeffer. Gutenberg’s basic process remained unchanged for centuries. A punch made of steel, with a mirror image of the letter is struck into a piece of softer metal. Molten metal is poured into this, and you get type. The type is put into a matrix to form the page of text, inked, then pressed into paper. Within several decades typesetting technology spread across Europe. The speed with which it did so is impressive: within the first fifty years, there were over a thousand printers who set up shops in over two hundred European cities. Typical print runs for early books were in the neighborhood of two hundred to a thousand books. Some of these first printers were artisans, while others were just people who saw an opportunity for a quick lira/franc/pound. The modern view of a classical era in which craftsmanship predominated appears unjustified to scholars: there has always been fine craft, crass commercialism, and work that combines both. To those who have grown up with television, radio, magazines, books, movies, faxes and networked computer communications it is difficult to describe just how much of a revolution printing was. It was the first mass medium, and allowed for the free spread of ideas in a completely unprecedented fashion. The Protestant Reformation might not have occurred, or might have been crushed, without the ability to quickly create thousands of copies of Luther’s Theses for distribution.

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GLOSSARY // Alignment: Precise arrangement of letterforms upon an imaginary horizontal or vertical line. Type can be set one of four ways: Justified type is vertically aligned on the right and left side. Centered type aligns through an imaginary central line. Flush left/ragged right type aligns only on the left side. Flush right/ragged left type aligns only on the right side. Ascender: The part of certain lowercase letters that extends above the x-height of a font. Ascender Line: A line marking the topmost point of the cap line. Base Line: The line along which the bases of all capital letters (and most lowercase letters) are positioned. Boldface Type: A thick, heavy variety of type, often used for emphasis. Cap Height: The height of the uppercase letters within a font. Cap Line: A line marking the height of uppercase letters within a font. Character: Individual letters, figures and punctuation marks of an alphabet. Condensed Type: Type that is narrow in width proportionate to its height. Descender: The part of certain lowercase letters that extends below the base line of the letter. Descender Line: A line marking the lowest point of the descenders within a font. Display Type: Type intended to catch the eye, usually of a large size and distinctive typeface. Em: A unit of measurement equal to the current type size, e.g., an em in 12-point type is equal to 12 points. Originally derived from the width of the upper-case M. En: A unit of measurement equal to half of one em. Expanded Type: Type that is elongated in width proportionate to its height. Extended Type: See expanded type. Flush: Aligned to the margin, i.e., with no indention. CONTINUED ON PG 20 // // 19

GLOSSARY CONTINUED // Folio: A page number. Font: Traditionally, a complete set of characters for one typeface at one particular type size. Often used more loosely as a synonym for “typeface”. Footer: An identifying line, such as a page number and/or a chapter title, appearing in the bottom margin of a document. Footers repeated throughout a document are called running footers or running feet. Full Measure: Type that extends across the full width of the page or column, without indention. Gutter: The inner margin of a page, closest to the binding. Hanging Indention: Type set with the first line of the paragraph flush left, and the subsequent lines indented. Indention: The amount by which a line of type is set less than a full measure, as when the first line of a paragraph is begun with a blank space of some fixed width. Italic: A slanted variety of typeface, often substituted for underlining. Justification: Slight adjustments made to the space bands within a line of type so that it fully extends to a particular line length. Kerning: In typesetting, kerning refers to the process of subtracting space between specific pairs of characters so that the overall letterspacing appears to be even. Leaders: Strings of a character, usually periods or dashes, to lead the eye across the space between items in adjacent columns. Usually found in tables, such as tables of contents. Leading: (Pronounced “ledding”) The amount of vertical space between lines of type. Letterspacing: Extra space inserted between letters in a word. Ligature: A special double character in a font representing two letters as one.In modern typography, the most common ligatures are: fi, fl, ffi, ffl,and sometimes ff. Others include the vowel pairs ae and oe, and morerarely, ct, st, and sp.

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GLOSSARY CONTINUED // Margins: The blank areas beyond the edges of the type page. Matrix: The mold used to cast a letter of type in hot-metal composition. pl. Pica: Typographic unit of measurement: 12 points equal 1 pica.6 picas equal approximately one inch. Line lengths and column widths are measured in picas. Point: A measure of size used principally in typesetting. One point is equal to 1/12 of a pica, or approximately 1/72 of an inch. It is most often used to indicate the size of type or amount of leading added between lines. Recto Pages: The odd numbered, right-hand pages of a book. Rule: A line added to a page for emphasis or decoration. Running Foot: Material, such as book title, chapter title, author’s name, or folio, printed below the main text of a page. Running Head: Material, such as book title, chapter title, author’s name, or folio, printed above the main text of a page. San-Serif Type: Text using typefaces that have no serifs, such as Helvetica, Optima, or Futura. Serif: A small cross stroke accentuating the end of the main stroke of a letter in some typefaces. Serif Type: Text using typefaces that have serifs, such as Times, Baskerville, or Courier. Also called “roman,” although “roman” is also used to describe type that is neither italic nor bold. Swash Letters: Elaborate italic letters used for decorative initials and headings. Tracking: The overall tightness or looseness of the spacing between all characters in a line or block of text. Sometimes used interchangeably with kerning, which more precisely is the reduction in spacing between a specific pair of letters. Type family: The complete range of variations of a typeface design, including roman, italic, bold, expanded, condensed, and other versions. Typeface: The design of alphabetical and numerical characters unified by consistent visual properties.

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If you do it right, it will last forever.

Typography Survival Guide  

A designers Typography handbook covering everything from the History of Type to the Rules of Type.

Typography Survival Guide  

A designers Typography handbook covering everything from the History of Type to the Rules of Type.