Monday, 27 January 2014

Lorum Ipsum

My text is from a magazine called The Simple Things which seems to have dissapeared from my local newsagents but has lovely simple clean lines and pretty things
I don't have any of the featured fonts. I put the body text through identifont and it came up as Gothic 725. As an alternative I chose Tempus Sans ITC for the heading which isn't condensed and doesn't look much like the original but truely is the closest I have. For the body I chose Euphemia.
I know it's not the same but I do think it has the same feel as the original - I know the colour of the heading is wrong but it stands out better in this font than the original eggshell blue.

Monday, 20 January 2014

Exercise - If the face fits

1) A short story in a women's magazine

I have four fonts that are available in regular and bold style
  • Arial
  • Eras
  • Gill sans
  • Bedoni

I'm not sure that I'm confident enough to mix typefaces so I'm sticking with these.

I mocked up all four using Lorem Ipsum as dummy text for the story
 I think Arial was the most readable. Magazine stories often have illustration within the text so I chose a drawing I did previously of a girl looking thoughtful
 and sat her behind the text
 I think she's a bit better if she's bigger and I used the airbrush tool to put some soft colour on the page.

2) An advertisement in a parish magazine asking for more helpers for the flower rota

I wanted something a bit more informal for this, something that might appeal to the target audience. My available choices were:
  • Poor Richard
  • Perpetua
  • Berlin sans
  • Modern No. 20

 I like Poor Richard best as its clean and readable.
To attract attention it needs flowers

I think both flowers looks too busy
and prefer this layout

3) A poster to advertise an after school club for boys 13-14

Lots of choices here. It's possible to use a novelty typeface but I wanted something that was easily readable as the target audience might not all be good readers. It needed punch to grab their attention.
I had a long list of typefaces that I tried, these four were the main contenders
After careful consideration I chose Gill Ultra Bold as I thought it was "shouty" enough but still easy to read.

I jiggled the words around a bit to make them more eye catching. It needs a background for the mock up. I thought of icons to lay randomly around the poster
I tried making a geometric background that had a lively feel by playing with the tools on Paint Shop
 I then overlaid the lettering. I'm not sure the words are readable enough or that it would attract the target audience

I thought of putting the words over the image of a playing field and in my research stumbled on pictures of schoolboys playing football
 I wanted a simple image that didn't distract from the text so I redrew the picture from my first drawing then traced it to try and get the main elements
 I want the club to appeal to boys who don't play football so I used just part of the image but that's not very clear so I used a negative image and overlaid the words.

It needs more colour to attract attention

The lettering is a dark red to contrast with the green (I couldn't use purple against the yellow for boys) Maybe I should try orange/blue?
Orange is a difficult colour to get on my computer but I like this one best. It would need some adjustments at the printers.

My tutor thought that this was over reliant on the image and I'd been unadventurous with the typeface  so here goes
 I've used Stencil and Lucida handwriting
 Maybe the yellow and green was wrong?
 I seem to have come back to a black background. I'm still not really happy with this though I do think it's an improvement. I'm not convinced that the fonts available to me are quite what I'm looking for......

4) A flyer for an engagement party

Ok I'm not used to nightclub fliers so I did some Internet research. There seem to be a lot of pinks, purples and blues, lots of scantilly clad girls which might not be appropriate for an engagement. I liked this and there were some good ideas at
It seems possible, indeed normal, to mix fonts, and it is an opportunity to use interesting backgrounds. Some designs have great artwork.

I started by focusing on the text and originally went for Broadway and Mistral on a gradated background
I did some doodles in my sketchbook to try and think of an alternative to the scantily clad girls and decided on a couple toasting their guests which I think would fit with the tone of the text and the jokey gregarious couple it implys
 I put them on my prepared background and played with the colour
(This one's too dull)
 I tried a lot of variations which I won't bore you with by posting here. This one (above) was one of the better ones but it's not punchy enough. I was trying to get away from pink and purple in deference to Josh. I also decided that the text was not "nightclubby" enough though I like the handwritten effect for the jokey bits. I changed to Reservoir Grunge and Segoe Print.
The colours aren't right, it's too busy (even for a nightclub flyer which is supposed to be busy) and I'm struggling to get the lettering to stand out over the gradated background. I like the figures but it's time for a new back ground. I looked again at the samples on the  internet and played again with Paintshop to produce this
Please believe me that it's a lot darker in the original
So with text you get
Below I've adjusted the brightness and contrast which has made the blues more lairy but is a little bit more like my original

Sunday, 12 January 2014

A typographic jigsaw puzzle

I struggled with the K, should I have used the < shape? it didn't look right. Also the X when I looked at a bigger version of Baskerville it looked like it had Serifs both sides of the strokes. My spacing could do with being a bit more even too.... Never mind, I haven't really traced anything since school so it was fun.

I do like Topography though I'm beginning to realise it's a much bigger subject than I ever thought. I'm starting to get a bit of an appreciation of the right font for the right subject but it would still be very easy to get it wrong. I like the Identifont website I think it would be very helpful to get ideas of similar available texts if I had something particular in mind. Understanding the construction makes it easier to search for the right typeface for the subject.

Research Point Looking at Symbols and Identifying Text

WOW I have found a new world of characters accessible from my keypad ☺ hundreds of ~û á symbols for words I don't understand and useful symbols like ² and ° I can even persuade Blogger to show the symbol & which usually won't work. If you haven't done this before put Num Lock on then hold down the ALT key whilst typing the secret code on the number keypad (ok it's not secret but there are so many number codes you need a guide like the one here which describes things in more detail)

I used the enormously addictive to look at text in Psychologies Magazine and was surprised to find that there were more than one typeface on a page. I'd always been told to pick a single typeface and stick to it.

On the front cover was Bell (Richard Austin, Monotype Staff) and either Adelle Sans (Veronique Burian and Jose Scaglione, Type Together) or Figgins Sans (Nick Shinn, Shinntype)

Inside text News Gothic (Morris Fuller Benton) - first published in 1908 and Berthold Caslon Book BQ (Gunter Gerhard Lange) or Monotype Century Expanded (Monotype Classic Fonts) I'm not completely convinced by this one as the text looks thinner.

I tried checking The Times and came up with Arhem(Fred Smeijers, Our Type) which I was also not entirely sure about so I scanned a copy and enlarged it so I could answer the questions really carefully,

and came up with Borgis Pro (Ralph M Unger, RMU Typedesign) Is this just because newsprint looses some definition on cheap paper or that I couldn't answer all the questions (there were no  $ signs and the only capital Q's were italics so I wasn't sure how that worked )? If you allow the italic as a capital Q then the font is Thorndale (Monotype Design Studio) There were other fonts suggested including Times (Stanley Morison) but I'm still not sure it's a complete match. It's a useful tool for getting an idea of fonts and fun to play with but how accurate is it? or am I just not good enough at seeing the similarities and differences?

Most fonts had double storey g and a - not surprising as this makes them more legible. I've been reading about legibility on Ralf Herrman's excellent site for an earlier Research Point. There were more serif fonts than I had expected to find and a greater variety of fonts I've never heard of in a single publication.

How much do we need lots of subtly different fonts? I guess they look very different to an expert and maybe they're working on my subconscious to differentiate products.There is a considered argument  here  The Internet means that there is more freedom to self publish I suppose designers are often looking for something quite specific to fulfil a role and more fonts make it more likely that the perfect one can be found.

Saturday, 11 January 2014

Exercise - Playing with Words

I think best with a pencil so when I cut out and repositioned the words I also doodled alternative lettering.

I then went to the computer and tried different fonts - I've written the name of the font next to the word

Some words like supine and sardonic I had to look up. Supine is difficult. I wasn't sure whether style referred to stylish or different styles so my choice of fonts is a slight blend of the two. Some of the words like squat seem so cartoonish its difficult not to choose a silly font. Informal Roman reminds me of Wacky Races Cartoons.
The choice of fonts must be heavily influenced by my past experiences, books, products, TV etc. There is a danger that someone with different cultural influences wouldn't understand my choices.

Thrirty words is a lot to get through. I'm not as comfortable in front of a computer as I am with a drawing book and I found it hard to stay focussed. I did this in several long chunks. There are a lot of fonts on my computer and even looking through them each time I was still finding ones I'd overlooked. It's a lot harder to choose subtle fonts which are suitable. I see the skill of a good designer following this exercise.

These are (in my opinion) my best attempts: