February 26, 2010
Posted by almahoffmann under design
, design + life
, design issues
| Tags: design
, typographic design
, typographic layout
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Inherent to layout and typographic design is the use of the paragraphs. Usually other layout elements such as headers, sub headers, captions, quotation marks, quotes, captions, margins, page numbers tend to get all the attention the designer has to spare. Sometimes this is due to the project requirements. In the case of web layouts it is due to browser support or lack thereof, and issues with legibility. A paragraph must be read. It is after all the reason paragraphs exist—to be read.
In its simplest definition a paragraph is a collection of lines placed on top of each other and neatly arranged within a certain width forming a nice looking rectangle. If you take a moment to think about it, a paragraph is either a horizontal rectangle or it is a vertical rectangle in the case of narrow columns. The importance of seeing form in a rectangle is what allows designers to create experimental layouts or even simple layouts with some anomalies that call our attention. Sometimes these anomalies are perhaps out denting the first line, changing to bold weight the first line, perhaps doing both of those things in a middle line, indenting few lines creating another rectangle in the negative space, and sometimes these rectangles can be placed in a diagonal creating interesting compositions.
A paragraph must be read. It is after all the reason paragraphs exist—to be read.
February 3, 2010
One of the advantages of teaching the basics of typography to new students is that I get to review and relearn the basics. There is always something new to learn. As students grow as designers the ability to distinguish among the visual clues to identify a typeface becomes second nature. Thus, reviewing terms, parts of the letter, type classification and others is always welcome. Among those visual clues, perhaps the most distinctive is what I like to call the “X” factor. The “X” factor is also called proportions. Simply put, the “X” factor is what determines the typeface’s proportions based on the size of the lowercase x from baseline to the meanline.
But before we go ahead and explain the concept of proportions, let’s define some terms. The baseline is the line where the letters rest horizontally. The meanline is the horizontal line created based on the size or proportions of the letter x of each typeface. This line is relative since it moves up or down according to the size of the letter x. There is also the capline, ascent line, and descent line. These lines are also relative to the typeface’s proportions based on the letter x of each typeface. In other words, the only constant line between different typefaces will be the baseline.
September 25, 2009
These were the first lines of an email I received earlier this week. For those of you who don’t know it, the abbreviation “Sra.” refers to “señora” which is the Spanish word for “Mrs.” I confess, the title sounds worse in Spanish than it does in English. My friend was being partly funny and partly serious when he sent me this email with an image he called his attempt to do typography. My friend had read my post two weeks ago titled “Well chosen words deserve well chosen letters….” Hype for Hope… and somehow it inspired him. His enthusiasm was contagious and I wished my students were that eager. I found it interesting that it moved him to go to the computer to type something up and send it to me. I admit I was conflicted about how to answer the email. Should I say “nice job” even though it was not up to par with regards to design standards or proper use or misuse of design principles? Should I say “well, it is ok but you can do better” even though he has no design education or background? Should I say “nice try” indicating that there was somehow a glimpse of understanding about size differences, placement, and meaning? But if I did say “nice try” should I offer explanations?” I agonized over this for a bit before I finally decided to simply say “nice try.”
Should I say “nice job” even though it was not up to par to design standards or proper use or misuse of design principles? Should I say “well, it is ok but you can do better” even though he has no design education or background?”