Typography Design Taking a Lead From the Essay

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Typography Design

Taking a lead from the typeface named Matisse ITC, a typography-based design was created with the broad-brushstrokes, primary colors, and dominant white space that characterized the gouche paintings and cutouts created by the artist Matisse. The central theme is of a ski hut on the night of a full moon, with evidence of children playing in the snow left over from the day, and the cold clear starlit night shining between sparsely falling snowflakes. Four distinct typefaces are used in the graphic design. The typefaces have been manipulated to increase the continuity and message of the overall design.


According to Useful Information for Web Developers and Designers, "Typography is the ultimate form of science meeting art. Space, size, type treatment/effects, contrast, color selection -- and much more -- go into every piece of design that involves the use of type."

Although children are taught in school to print on lines that divide the letters the make exactly in half, type is not designed that way. The middle line is called the x-line and it is exactly the height of a lower-case x. excluding ascenders and descenders. The bottom line is called the base line, and the top line is called the cap line. In type, the space between the x-line and the base line is denser than the space between the x-line and the cap line. That is, more of a letter is printed on the bottom part of those three parallel lines than in the top space.

The nuances of different typefaces are a great continuum of this sort of small consideration. From the exactitude of creating typeface, a graphic designer takes a huge conceptual leap, creating art through iconic application of letters.

The iconicity of typography. A wide range of powerful tools are available to those who are knowledge workers or toil in communication-heavy fields, such as politics, entertainment, publishing, marketing, and advertisement. Humans are inherently sensitive to visual imagery -- our survival has, at times, been dependent on our ability to see patterns in our environment and to identify friend from foe. The capacity to make these sorts of discriminations visually, rather than through touch or smell or hearing (which in humans requires a relatively close range) has been a distinct evolutionary advantage. Iconicity is not restricted to visual images or communication and information technology (CIT). Applying principles of design to the medium of print has some of the same capacity to elicit a range of responses from humans while effectively communicating through language as well. This exercise in typography is an example of how print can be iconic.

The printed word has power -- but there are reasons for the old adage that "a picture is worth a thousand words." Humans are able to discern many messages from visual images, some of which are subliminal. The printed word can accomplish that, too, but short of poetry, most readers take the printed word quite literally, and there is very little that seems to invade the human subconscious via the printed word. Images, however, do impose on the human subconscious -- the imagery used in horror films is testimony to that phenomenon -- becoming the stuff of bad dreams and latent anxieties.

Communication is integrally linked to the tools commonly available in a given period of time. But humans are loath to completely eliminate tools that have been employed to communicate with one another, even when they become archaic -- or because that. For example, ephemera from letterpress printers is cherished and collected like many antique items, but letterpresses are still employed by guerilla artists -- and received with great enthusiasm by their contemporary admirers (Wayzgoose, 2011). Still it seems the key drivers for choices of communication mediums are convenience, speed, accuracy, and relevance. These determinants, however, do not stand still in time. Convenience, for instance, is a highly relative term that has much to say about the cultural context in which the communication takes place. Inescapably, the influence of technology is reflected in the evolution of each key driver to its temporal context.

I think a comparison of the use of print -- in what is known in the design field as typography -- to visual imagery produced through photography or videography best exemplifies the point that…[continue]

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