Thursday, 13 March 2014

Type Session with Graham Tansley

The basic rules of typography:

- We are going to learn the basic rules so that we can break them
- Kerning is spacing between the letters


- The letters are equally spaced
- Using the rectangle between the letters we were shown how to calculate spacing
- It didn't work the way it should do, however it didn't affect readability
- Never negative kern
- Identify the space where there is the biggest space between letters and leave the rest of the word alone
- If you want to make something exquisite then learn to kern properly and this will make a huge difference when creating a brand

Experimenting with my name:

This is actually proving to be very challenging and has made me look at typography in another way. I am interested in learning more about kerning so that I can apply it to my work in the most accurate way possible.

After having looked at everyone else's work I realised that I had kerned mine incorrectly. I had increased the space in between the L and the A which I shouldn't have done.

How do you break a sentence into two lines?

This exercise involved looking at the typography and deciding the 'correct' way in which we should split it up into two lines. We came to the conclusion that the last one is the correct one because it resembles the way we say it. It is easier to work with type if we say it out loud. This is something that can be used as a practice when creating a sub heading with information below it. This touch of detail allows us to be accurate and produce a piece of work with the important and necessary detail.

We then carried out an exercise looking at a newspaper and then identified by closing our eyes and then briefly opening them for a minute, long enough to see something from the page. It turned out that most of us looked and the text in the centre, then the text at the bottom of the page, followed by the images at the top of the page. This is unusual because it goes against how we would normally read from left to right.

When talking to a client hierarchy is essential to give the information in the right order. This means that we will be able to come away from meetings having given the relevant information.


We were then asked to type out the words one, two three and four back to front but so that the reader would read it in the correct order. We realised that this is all down to the negative space around the lettering. We are drawn to words with negative space around it, such as the word 'two'.

Below is the solution I came up with, however it could have been much more successful than this, as most people read the word 'two' over all of the other ones.

Using the blink test we can always test our work to discover the order we read things in. This is important as it has an impact on how successful our work actually is.

Further 1-4 experiment

We were then asked to experiment further and try to do it again but keep the text in the same size and at the same weight. This was really challenging. I tried to do this in my example below, interpreting the words in the way that we would say it. So, 'one, two' and then pause 'three, four'. Although this wasn't exactly the correct thing to do.

In the example we were shown, the words were placed on different angles, some of which were vertical and meant that we had to really think about the order we read the words in.

To conclude the session we were asked to open up a text document and put it in one column, two, three and then four. We were asked to fill the page with text, so we had to increase the text size. Below is what my page looked like:

We then had a discussion about ways of maximising impact and our chance to play with type. If we choose a typeface with a small x height it gives us more space. It also gives the appearance that there is more leading. A typeface with a small x height is Bembo:

When placing text in this way it is important that we have only 10-12 words per line. This is because once you have read a really long line and then try to read the next one, it can get confusing. The eye follows the white space. If we take it down a point size and increase the leading, in theory this should help. Already when we do this it looks like there isn't as much text on the page. This is the difference being a designer, as we can notice and value these tricks of the eye. 

When we put the same text in two columns it is easier to read as opposed to everything being in the same column. When we look at four columns it looks as though it is the least intelligent because there aren't as many words to a line. A book is something that has been worked on for a matter of years, whereas a newspaper hasn't and neither has a magazine layout. Not one of them is the most intelligent as they are all the same. However, we can convince ourselves that some are more intelligent than others. This is something we can play around with as we can easily convince others about layout.

If we want to try and make text fill a page we have lots of options:
  • Kerning
  • Leading
  • Typeface
  • Gutter
  • Margin
If you increase the point size it could be seen as slightly patronise as it suggests that they aren't as intelligent. By creating more white space on the page we create impact. If we indent the paragraphs rather than leaving a space then we instantly have 20% more space to work with. At the moment the spaces imply that there is a huge pause in between each paragraph. Therefore to indent and change the white space it instantly looks like there is less text. 

If we go to paragraph and then alter the indents we can experiment with this spacing issue. It instantly looks much more intelligent and is important to understand when designing books. This is something we should know if we are interested in typography. 

We can have text which is left aligned and then we can try and justify it. If we centralise it then there is too much white space around the text and it is an uneven amount of white space. If we go back to the left alignment and justify the text it means that we add another few lines of text. The computer does this by increasing the space between the words. This works fine on lines which have 10-12 words. All novels are justified. 

The problem starts emerging when we justify three columns. This is because there aren't 10-12 words to a line. If we draw a line in between the columns it actually does stop the reader from reading straight across, however it does actually do what it is supposed to do. This is a way of getting a lot of text on one page. Although it doesn't always work visually

If we do this with four columns and justify them, it really doesn't work. In this position it is better to align the text to the left. The minimum number of words to have on a line is normally 6 words. This is why this doesn't look right. In essence you should always use 6-12 words. Never centre anything.

It is important to always decrease the point size and increase the leading. Never negative lead. With leading it makes the read a bit more relaxed and not as rushed and intense. This subtly adds a difference. 

Another way of showing another paragraph is by leaving a longer space in between text. In terms of printing a book this saves about 5% of the overall cost of printing. 


Talk out loud as it helps with typography! 

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