Archive for January, 2011

Blog Post Week 3: Typography

As you begin to work on your own resumes, it helps to be aware of successful wordmarks around you. This week, please find an example of a wordmark and give 3 reasons why it is successful or unsuccessful.

Remember what we talked about in class: pay attention to type of font, color, word selection, branding, and the overall feel of the mark. Does it convey an essence of the company?  Did they play on the words well?  What could they do differently?

Upload as a JPEG (use the icon next to upload/insert). Here is an in-depth tutorial that explains how to insert an image in your post.

If you have any issues doing this please e-mail me. I am very willing to help, however, there is only so much I can do if you wait until the last minute to post!

Just a reminder: post is due at 11:59 p.m. on Friday (2/4), and 2 comments will be due at 11:59 p.m. Sunday (2/6).

First I have to say that typographers have the coolest names I have ever heard.  From the 15th century Aldus Manutius to 19th century Giambattista Bodoni to 20th century Adrian Frutiger, it’s no wonder typefaces are named after the people who created them.

I never took for granted that type changes the way we perceive businesses, restaurants, etc.  Signs and logos absolutely must embody and reinforce the standards of a company and the wrong typeface could easliy mislead potential clients and customers.  But I used to think of typography as just the “big stuff.”  Just major advertisements on tv or plastered on the sides of buildings.  Now I am even more respectful toward the effort that is put into designing the “smaller things:” coffee mugs, calendars, DVD covers…Behind every product there is a graphic designer who tries to market the product to a customer who doesn’t even realize why they were attracted to the product in the first place.  It’s like Graphic Designer 007.

I was also awakened to the fact that typographers and graphic designers must be meticulously detail oriented.  All these minute variations of seriphs and x-heights have a subconscious effect on the reader, but must be in the foreground of a typographer’s mind.

Lupton’s “Letter”

For most of my life I had never given much thought to typefaces because I was strictly limited to the likes of Times New Roman. That’s all I really ever knew.

I find it interesting the story behind typefaces and how they were created. The names for fonts, such as Garamond (pg. 15), are named after the makers (usually printers) themselves. I honestly thought people just came up with names. Italics, thought to by somewhat fancier, are actually meant to be more “casual” (pg. 15). As time went on, printers began to extend the fonts to incorporate new styles within the same font family.

I think this chapter has made me really aware of different fonts and the thought and process behind them. Some of these took a lot of time to create (especially the ones before the digital age), and it gives you a new appreciation for the creators behind them.


The chapter “letter” in Thinking with Type by Ellen Lupton discusses several interesting aspects of modern type and how they originated. The brief explanation regarding the history of italics and how it was used as a “more informal and casual” type of font is ironic because in modern texts, italics are generally used to emphasize or stylize a particular word or phrase. Additionally, the cursive style which is currently used in a very elegant and regal fashion was seen as an space-efficient way to write an article or text.

Another interesting aspect of type is how it has been utilized by many web-designers to enhance the image of their sites. It is fascinating to see how a design technique as historic and simple as a type face has been made available by way of servers to the entire internet community. This ability to assimilate modern day technology with the historic design element such as type-face, has shown the potential technology has in enhancing basic design principles and their accessibility.

I never realized how much time, effort and thought went into designing a specific typeface in order to evoke a feeling or image about the brand or company. The decisions of whether to use a serif or san-serif font, or whether to have this letters capitalized or lowercase are important style techniques which can all create a feeling about the brand. For example, the “Starbucks” coffee logo uses san-serif letters in a bold, block-like form. This style creates a strong, bold, and confident feeling, all positive attributes describing this brand. Other aspects such as shape, color and size affect the way a logo is born and recognized.

I think the most interesting aspect from this reading was the fact that each and every typeface has its own history and story of how it developed as a font. I thought it was interesting that once the art of typography developed, the relationship between the different letters and how they looked as a whole became more important than the individual letter. I never expected a typeface to be something that has so much thought put into it. Each curve, stroke, and line has a reason as to how it looks, which is something I never knew. I have never been one to pay attention to how each letter in a typed sentence looks, I would always just choose a font that looked cool! It is fascinating that each typeface has a deeper meaning than most expect.

Another interesting section of the chapter, is that some designers in the early 1900’s despised of the distortion of the look of the alphabet. They thought it was gross and immoral, which seems so silly to me. Something so simple as the letters of the alphabet meant much more to designers back then than to most people. They even sent warnings to those who were thinking of “exaggerating” the letters of the alphabet. It’s weird to think that they were so strict about it, when today we change the way the alphabet looks whenever we please. I loved learning the anatomy of a letter as well. Who knew each curve and line had a different name? I also was intrigued to know the difference between typeface and font, since before this class I had no idea how important the word “typeface” would be to me, since I am a Graphic Design major.  It’s interesting to know that certain fonts are copyrighted, since before I was under the assumption that anyone could use them.

Overall, I feel that this reading will definitely make me look at different typefaces and fonts differently than before. I think this was a really important reading because it shows me what I will be getting into later as a Graphic designer. It had many surprising facts and I was interested to learn the history of different typefaces!

Lupton (Letter CH)

So basically before this reading/attending class I realized that there were a bunch of different type faces but I failed to see how each one tells a particular story from a particular time period.  I thought it was very interesting how on page 15 the author tells us about Italicized letters and how they were created in the 15th century for a more casual type face.  Now italics are used more formally for things like tittles of novels. They can also be used to contrast other type faces.

On page 23 there is a poster from 1875 and I really find it intriguing the amounts of fonts used to create the ad.  There are fourteen different fonts on fifteen lines and I feel as though something like this during this time period would really attract readers.  Today it is also very important to include fonts that will attract the audience that you are trying to attract.  Hopefully by the end of the semester I will have a better understanding of what fonts appeal to different audiences today.

I thought it was kind of cool how when fonts started they had to be drawn out.  This had to be very time consuming.  I would love to attempt to create my own font at some point.  As we learned in class, different type faces show us different personalities.  I am very curious to get a better understanding of the type faces we use every day.  Some typefaces seem heavier than others.  Some show are elongated  and others simply wider.  On page 45 the author tells us how bold type fonts are used to show emphasis.  I am using some different techniques in my own resume to show a couple of these different effects.

Reading Response, Lupton

It’s incredible how much thought and time was put into the text that our generation has taken for granted.  Structural attributes for letters were once seen as an indication of a new world of industrialization.  From the reading, I learned a lot about the beginnings of different typefaces and how they were strategically designed for different purposes.  One section I thought was particularly interesting was the page on scaling text.  Something as simple as changing the size of one word, can change the way that you read the text.  I like that the book focuses on how to use typefaces and compares fonts to steel for an architect.

I’ve never consciously considered how a certain font  projects the image of a restaurant or store.  It’s incredible how once you start to think about typefaces in this way, you see messages in everything from the fonts used for restaurant signs to those found on everyday items.  I think this knowledge is still relevant and valuable today, even though different text styles have become second nature to us.  Understanding the purpose and function of different typefaces gives us the power as designers to control the messages we send out.  Also, after reading through all of this information I definitely won’t look at a dinner menu the same way.


“Letter” Reaction

Upon reading the first few paragraphs of the first chapter of Lupton’s Thinking With Type, I immediately reacted to the analogy that typeface to a graphic designer is like stone to an architect. I have never thought about typeface, or what I previously called “font,” in this way before. I never considered the origin of where these different styles came from. I simply took for granted what my computer programs had to offer me.

Today, we have such a wide variety of typefaces to choose from and we have ancient ancestors to thank. I was surprised at the great lengths people in the 1500/1600’s went to create typefaces. There were committees appointed solely for the purpose of creating type. They used grids and wooden diagrams as molds which surely took painfully long to use. And it is also interesting how important typeface was to people at the time. Today we worry about the latest in technology (iPhones, Twitter, etcetera) but back then the talk of the town was typeface. One statement that stuck out to me was on page 46, when the “transitional” typeface was introduced people were actually shocked by the “sharp forms and high contrast.” I could not believe that something so, what I would now consider frivolous, was so important to the public in those days.

I am glad I get to read this book because it is very enlightening. I feel that reading this can give our generation, in which technology is merely second nature, a grounding experience. I now have a great appreciation for our ancestors who went to great measures to build the foundations for technology. We would never have the pleasure of enjoying this technology without them.

My thoughts on “Letter”

Upon reading “Letter” the first chapter of Thinking With Type I can safely say that I had little knowledge of what essentially is a form of art. I found it amazing how something that I took for granted has such a vast history and variation of categories and typefaces.

I found it interesting how typefaces are classified according to the different art and literature eras. For instance on page 46, Lupton says that the classifications humanist, transitional, and modern are closely related to and correspond to the Renaissance, Baroque, and Enlightenment periods in the art and literature. To me, what I only referred to as fonts, was only different types of letters formed to have variation of text. However, after reading this chapter I know understand that it indeed is a complex process that consists of height, weight, slanting, design and creativity.

Its funny how when you take things for granted you only use a typeface that is appealing to you or that is required. For instance, when I was younger for e-mails and messaging I would choose the typeface that I liked the most. For school I was always required to use the Times New Roman Font. I am excited for this course because I can develop a more concrete understanding of typefaces and fonts. I want to look at a font and understand why it is like that. Rather than choosing a typeface because of how it looks I would like to now choose a typeface because of how it works and why it works.

I was amazed at how Professor Taylor has such a vast knowledge of typefaces, I wish I could develop some sort of knowledge like that. Therefore if I do I can begin to analyze and critique how Menu’s, signs, websites, and other things have worked with typefaces. One final thought, I have always wondered about those “weird” typefaces that now I know are ornaments, but although they are visually appealing I don’t see why or when someone would use them.

Response to Lupton’s “Letter”

When reading the “Letter” chapter in Lupton’s Thinking With Type, my eyes opened up to an entirely new view of type faces and the thought behind it. Previously, when choosing a typeface, the thought that it was somewhat revolutionary or even as Lupton exclaims, “gross and immoral” (27) never came to mind. To me, typefaces, or what I naively called fonts, were just a bunch of handwritings people were hired to create in order to make text more interesting or personal.

What I really found intriguing was how Lupton compared combining typefaces to making a salad (54). Besides the standard school project, the “ever-so-difficult” e-mail sign off or instant messaging font, the most I struggled on choosing a typeface was for my AP Photo Portfolio. Never did I imagine it being such a tedious process, do I really need “sweet, crunchy, and shocking” all in one sentence?

Secondly, when previously questioning the history and evolution of typefaces, I would assume it simply went along with the ecolution of technology. Yes that obviously does have an influence, however I never would have thought that something like advertising or even the anatomy of man would change, influence, and expand typefaces forever.

After reading and examining a mere eighty-three pages of different typefaces and an education behind it (who knew there could be that much to sy and show about a seemingly simple concept), I have a new appreciation for the typefaces used in magazines, dinner menus, and even street signs. The thought behind not only choosing the typefaces but behind a typefaces itself is way more than the average person would ever expect to be.