Page 1


a friendly


typeface designed by erik spiekermann


Meta was designed to be legible at all sizes


characteristics 2

1

4

3

1 The stems of the m, n, p, and q are slightly bent. This aspect adds to the friendly appearance of the font.

2 The finial of the t is angled, which is a trend seen also in the finials of the v, w, y as well as in some Meta capitals.

3 The spur of the a also bends slightly outward, as with the spur of the u, as if the letters are kicking up their heels.

4 The finial of the e is angled in a way that gives the letter an almost buck-toothed aesthetic.

3


the stems of the M are oblique the ear of the g angles upward

Meta bowls are geometric

the loop of the g is free

the junction of the M rests on the baseline


characteristics

Amazingly, few discotheques provide jukeboxes. Meta Book Roman, 21 pt.

Amazingly, few discotheques provide jukeboxes. Meta Bold Roman, 21 pt.

Amazingly, few discotheques provide jukeboxes. Meta Book Italics, 21 pt.

Amazingly, few discotheques provide jukeboxes. Meta Bold Italics, 21 pt.

Amazingly, few discotheques provide jukeboxes. Meta Book Capitals, 21 pt.

5


gill sans

meta

helvetica

Aa Bb Cc Dd Ee Ff Gg Hh Ii Jj Kk Ll Mm Nn Oo Pp Qq Rr Ss Tt Uu Vv Ww Xx Yy Zz

Aa Bb Cc Dd Ee Ff Gg Hh Ii Jj Kk Ll Mm Nn Oo Pp Qq Rr Ss Tt Uu Vv Ww Xx Yy Zz

Aa Bb Cc Dd Ee Ff Gg Hh Ii Jj Kk Ll Mm Nn Oo Pp Qq Rr Ss Tt Uu Vv Ww Xx Yy Zz

1234567890

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comparisons

1.

Meta

he quick brown fox jumped over the laz Meta Book Roman, 36 pt.

When compared to the other two typefaces, it is easy to see the highly legible, albeit highly condensed nature of Meta.

The quick brown fox jumped ove 2.

Helvetica, 36 pt.

Helvetica

Helvetica is the most visually demanding of the three typefaces due to its aggressive width and tracking. Its x-height is similar to that of Meta.

wn fox jumped over the lazy do g . 3.

Gill Sans, 36 pt.

Gill Sans

Gill Sans is a wide and short typeface and appears much more squat than Helvetica or Meta.

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1 The width and roundness of Helvetica is especially pronounced compared to the condensed frame of the Meta a. The playfulness of the spur and the bowl in the Helvetica a contrasts with Meta’s more reserved aesthetic. 2 The Gill Sans o is much more geometric and based on a consistent shape while Meta’s o, with its more rectangular counter, has a more polished and sophisticated aesthetic. The Gill Sans o is also wider than its Meta counterpart. 1

2


comparisons

The Gill Sans M is geometric and based on the square. Its junction bisects the stems. The Gill Sans m has a much smaller x height than the Meta m and has angled junctions, similar to the Meta m.

The stems of the Meta M are set at oblique, not right, angles. This gives the letter a more condensed appearance. Like the Helvetica M, however, the junction rests on the baseline.

The Helvetica M is distinct from the Gill Sans M in that its junction rests on the baseline. However its stems are right angles, unlike the Meta M. The Helvetica m is wider than the Meta m, but with smoother junctions.

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“I’m very much a word person, so that’s why typography for me is the obvious extension. It just makes my words visible.” ­—erik spiekermann, creator of meta born in 1947 in Stadthagen, Lower Saxony


creator

When it comes to the design of typefaces, Spiekermann sees himself as more of a problem solver than an artist. His process for beginning a new typeface is simple and straightforward. “Identify a problem – like space saving, bad paper, low resolution, on-screen use – then find typefaces that almost work but could be improved,” he explains. “Study them. Note the approaches and failings. Sleep on it, then start sketching without looking at anything else.”1

11


for everyo


one

Bibliography

References

Sweet, Fay. MetaDesign: Design from the Word up. New York: Watson-Guptil Publications, 1999. (A&A: VNC999.6.G4 M48 1999 and Vault)

1. Fonts.com, Available at http://www. fonts.com/AboutFonts/DesignerProfiles/ ErikSpiekermann.htm Accessed November 1, 2005

Spiekermann, Erik and Ginger, E.M. Stop Stealing Sheep & Find out how Type Works. USA: Hayden, 1993. (Vault)

2. Leland M. Hill. Revival of the Fittest: Digital Versions of Classic Typefaces (New York: RC Publications), 142-143.

Revival of the Fittest: Digital Versions of Classic Typefaces/essays by Carolyn Annand ... [et al.]; edited by Philip B. Meggs and Roy McKelvey, New York: RC Publications, c2000. (A&A: Z250 .R45 2000)

3. Ibid., 143, 144. 4. Ibid., 145.


This book was designed by Erin McLear at Washington University in St. Louis in the Fall of 2011, Typography 1. Typefaces used include the Meta family as well as Helvetica and Gill Sans for comparisons.

Meta Typeface Book  

My final project for my Typography 1 studio was to design a book about a typeface, including its origins, its characteristics, and i in comp...

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