Tuesday, 13 November 2012

OUGD404 - Design Principles: The anatomy of type part 3

Type and character

For the first part of today's exercise we got in the same groups as last week and shared what we had found about the font we chose to research. 

"Type is speech made visible" 

Print changed type - The biggest shift 
Industrialisation of communication 

Type started to spread when people learnt to read
Before we had type we had town criers 
The oral tradition changed to the written

It makes sense that we would start to look at different typefaces because it is becoming more and more popular

A letterform is an illustration of a symbol

Association develops a character within typefaces. Sometimes it is really obvious and clear but this is not always the case.

Colour can define type and there are gender differences - eg. The colour red 


Font family

Are font and typeface the same?

Typeface - a collection of characters, letters, numbers, symbols, punctuation etc. which have the same distinct design

Font - the physical means used to create a typeface, be it computer code, lithographic film, metal or woodcut

Glyphs - individual elements 

Fonts fall into a range of categories -

Block - headlines/display fonts/header fonts
Gothic - sans-serif
Roman - serif
Script- brush 

The difference between a font and typeface is that the font itself is the same weight.
Four fonts make the same typeface.

Gill sans

Ultrabold condensed 

7 fonts to make up a typeface

Exist as variations of font within a typeface.
+ - glyphs - can have fundamentally different punctuation.

Only way to tell difference between serial and Helvetica is that the full stop in Helvetica is square.

Exercise - categorise fonts into...
  • Light/italic
  • Regular/italic
  • Bold/italic
  • Ultrabold condensed
We could only categorise ours into condensed...

and regular...

Then categorise them into...
  • Gothic
  • Block
  • Roman
  • Script

What defines gothic, bold, roman, script?

Script - Change of weight

Serif - Roman

Sans-serif - Gothic

Heavy - Block

However... you can have block gothic, block roman and block script.

Legibility and readability

Understanding of spatial quality

The counter defines whether something is legible/readable

Negative space and ability to recognise it

The spaces we are leaving can define the letter

Fed Ex uses the counter to create an arrow

OGC - horizontally it is fine however not vertically

We don't always see what we are reading, the brain takes over

Because of the counters we read it as making perfect sense

Some people find serif clearer than sans serif, this links to nature/nurture

Whenever you make something bold it also extends it


Legibility is the degree to which glyphs (individual characters) in text are understandable or recognizable based on appearance.


Readability is the ease in which text can be read and understood. It is influenced by line length, primary and secondary leading, justification, typestyle, kerning, tracking, point size etc.


Leading is the space between each glyph

Primary leading

Primary leading is the space between the glyphs

Secondary leading

Secondary leading is thin pieces of lead to spread them out more


Tracking is increasing the leading, there is a danger or breaking the structure of font


Decreasing the leading

Track but do not kern with body copy as it is less legible

1 typeface - 9 fonts

No more than 3 fonts from no more than 3 typefaces

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