October: talking about type
... for the 11th Annual Fall Fonts Festival
This month, DTG readers and subscribers of the Design Cafe share their reflections on typography, type and fonts.
We hope you enjoy these thoughtful comments as much as we did. BRAVO! Each of these will win a great prize from the Design Center.
Beyond the literal meaning of the words...
"There is something so sexy about the undulating curves of "w" in Wiesbaden Swing. A "c" in Bodoni is so classy. "X's" are sharp and frightening in Smack. And who wouldn't feel calm and peaceful looking at "o" in Avenir?
What I love most about typography is it's ability to connote just about any emotion, concept, mood, place--with just a letter or two. Regardless of what the text is about, the font in which it's set speaks volumes beyond the literal meaning of the words themselves. Just like a good book transports the reader to exotic locales--past or future--and evokes a myriad of emotions, so, too, can a well-lettered font.
A well-lettered font is a work of art. And words, when they come together with intention and meaning, are works of art, too. Few things are more beautiful or satisfying to see in a good communications piece than a marriage of letters and form appropriate to the message and muli-dimensional in their purpose."
[END QUOTE] Lisa self employed freelancer from Hood River, OR USA sprightdesign.com
Core essence of any design
"Typography is the core essence of any design or visual communication.
I love typography, because it is so subtle but there is so distinct difference and portrays a wide variety of character to make the designed message look and give the appropriate feel. Each font has character of its own, even though minute. I love attention to details, so I like to look at that minute but so important aspects of type.
I was called the king of type at my work place and graphic design school, because I had made it a practice to identify a typeface from looking at the printed piece. And am proud to say I was right for about 98% of the times. My best fonts are quite a few, because it is so hard to narrow down on just one from thousands out there. [ITC Stone Sans, Goudy; PMN Caecilia; ITC Officina Some Emigre Fonts like Citizen and Variex; Clarendon; Fairfield Berthold Caslon collection; Galliard; and Linoletter But if I had to top it I would say Bodoni. I like the thick and thins on it. It is a very elegant font and versatile for its usage in portraying variety of character. It could not feel dated anytime. It is a classic! I work on PowerMac G5 with Panther OS. and my favorite software is InDesign! Actually the whole Creative Suite to say."
[END QUOTE] Mehul is a design professional from Duluth, GA. USA
What common folk take for granted
"I first got interested in typography when I was approximately age 4.
My maternal grandfather was a fantastic artist and illustrator, however, he believed that he wasn't good enough to do this as a full time job. The man, in everyone elses' eyes, was as good as Michaelangelo. I would watch him for hours as he hand lettered signs and posters for clubs he belonged to. He would take out the Book of Kells as a reference tool (one that I'd flip through a million times, myself, when we'd visit him bi-weekly). He was a master of calligraphy as well as pen & ink drawings.
It wasn't until I became an adult and he had long passed away, when cleaning one of his master works of religious art, I stare at the many hours of work he had done with such precision. Beyond the Illuminated lettering, (using a magnifying glass and steady hand), I noticed that he had secretly lettered his name, my grandmother's name, my aunt's name, and my mother's name in the scroll work on this one particular piece. It was then that my love for typography deepened more than I ever thought it could.
Every time I sit in front of the computer trying to design something, I wish my grandfather would come sit by my side and rub off some of his wonderful talent on me. He inspires me every day, and I hope to eventually inherit some of his calligraphic works to hang in my own home some day. But I owe it to him, for my love of typography, and thank him for sharing his passion for it.
I am always looking at typography and realizing how common folks take it for granted. They don't know what they're missing. (Platform: PC - Favorite Programs: Photoshop - the most fun, Illustrator, Quark, and InDesign soon becoming a fave.)"
[END QUOTE] Laura design professional from Orlando, FL, USA
[Editor's Note] What a nice letter and tribute! Bravo, Laura! Folks, here are some examples of illuminated lettering.
"I get giddy when I see serif typography. There's something so official, so printerly, about it, that my first instinct is to use it for everything I do. Of course, that's boring and silly. But I have found a trick so slight that I am embarrassed to mention it. When designing logos and modifying typefaces for posters and postcards, I always look to sans serif fonts. While they are clean, they can also seem lightweight. When I find a clean san serif modern typeface that I want to use, I always bold it. Many times, I find it preserves the character of the typeface and adds much needed weight and heft to draw the eye. Like I said, it's almost too simple to mention, but it works like a charm on vintage 1930s and 1940s projects. Windows 2000, Photoshop"
[END QUOTE] Mark is a self employed freelancer from Austin, Texas violetcrownradio.com
Sculptural and architectural
" I like the sculptural and architectural aspects of fonts and type and what different designers do with ordinary font faces. Just when you begin to take an ordinary font, like Garamond, for granted, a designer enlivens it by coloring, shading, shadowing, stretching, shrinking, etc. or adding art. Then you begin to see its inner curves, the details of the ligatures etc., and how it becomes the focal point or fades into the background of a design. Just a quick look through of the wallpaper designs at Veer, I think illustrates my thoughts. Platform: Mac OSX Favorite software: Adobe Photoshop. "
[END QUOTE] Chelle is a self employed freelancer from Jacksonville, FL 32205
The spirit in which we embed our design
"Typography is one of the most overlooked aspects of graphic design, at least where I come from. Thousands and thousands of fonts hovering around the internet make designers think less and brose more when choosing the most appropriate type for a piece of their work.
But when you start homing in on some of the finer aspects of type design, and you begin to comprehend the genesis of it, then a wider array of options sprinkle your mind. Typography is not merely a representation of an alphabet; it's the spirit in which we embed our design.
Honoring the text and at the same time the origin of the typography we use, must always be our goal. That's why Letras Latinas is important for the Latinamerican community. It focuses on original, useful fonts designed by local and innovative professionals. I have a PC, though I also work on Mac, and use Illustrator, Photoshop, Quark, InDesign"
[END QUOTE] Lucas is a desktop publishing professional from Curdoba, Cba, Argentina letraslatinas.com, or this English Translation
Personality & Mood
"Typography can give a project a look all its own simply by the typeface a designer uses for the project. It can add personality and mood and change the whole appearance."
[END QUOTE] brenda is a design professional from Millersburg, PA USA
Type as images...
""Typography is to reading and writing, what brush strokes are to painting." I am an illustrator, I was able to draw complete pictures before I could read and write. I visualize fonts as images first, which then become font symbols to read. My platform Macintosh OSX Panther, Photoshop, Corel Painter."
[END QUOTE] Carol is a graphic Illustrator from Winter Haven Forida www.artmuvz.com
God bless you, Helvetica!
"I would have to say that my favorite font, due to comfort and versatility, is Helvetica. Through conversations and research, I have heard many things about the mundanity of the font but I have to disagree. I use a variety of fonts but I can always find comfort in falling back on Helvetica when nothing else works. God bless you, Helvetica!"
[END QUOTE] Andrew is a design professional from Greenville, SC, USA
Be sure to see last month's entries, also about fonts and typography.
And, that about wraps it up for this month. See'ya next month -- and don't forget to participate in another upcoming topic in the Design Center
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