Design Guy, Episode 40, Talking About Type: Let Your Voice Be Heard!
Download Episode 40 Talking About Type: Let Your Voice Be Heard! Design Guy here, welcome to the show. This is the program that explores timeless principles of design and explains them simply.And before we begin, I'd like to announce my sponsor for the coming episodes. Yes, I have a sponsor. And that's Mark Batty Publisher. Mark Batty is an independent publisher dedicated to making distinctive books on the visual art of communicating. Affordable, well designed, thoughtfully created, and produced to last, MBP books are artful products that readers want to hold onto forever.A great example of their books, and one that ties in with this episode is the title, "Dot-Font - Talking About Fonts by John D. Berry. You may know Mr. Berry from his dot-font columns at CreativePro.com, which is a site I've enjoyed for many years. Berry, who is both an editor and a designer, himself, talks critically and entertainingly about type designers, font technology, and how lettering and type are ubiquitous in our culture. I've got a copy in my hand right now - It's a beautiful, perfect bound edition, just filled with great visual examples. Again, that's Dot-Font - Talking about Fonts. You can pick it up at markbattypublisher.com or, of course, at Amazon.Well, we're talking about Type. Typography. And we kicked off the discussion last time with a refresher on the importance of Type as that central and defining element in graphic design. It's what distinguishes it from other arts because everything we do traces to a definite message. A typographic one.And type is our primary artwork. Those letterforms are the clip art, so to speak, that we reach for above all else. And that's because these characters, these visual symbols, with which we encode our communications are evocative all by themselves. Designers often skip the other visuals, like photos and illustration, altogether, because Type, all by itself, has the power to produce images and emotions, even sound in the human mind.R. Hunter Middleton, said:(quote)"Typography is the voice of the printed page. But typography is meaningless until seen by the human eye, translated into sound by the human brain, heard by the human ear, comprehended as thought, and stored as memory." (unquote).In the book, Environmental Interpretation, contributor Richard Dahn writes:(quote)"In approaching typographic choices, it's helpful to keep in mind that typography has a "visual voice" that is dependent on the typeface chosen, its sizes and organization within (your) format, and the nature of the message. Emphatic messages such as EXTREME DANGER, KEEP OUT would demand the use of a heavy bold sans serif type, while a quote by Aldo Leopold might look better in a Roman serif set with generous line spacing. The visual impact on a sign can welcome the viewer to read and reinforce the meaning and sense of the message, or it can speak in such a dull and confused voice that the viewer will totally ignore the sign, or worse, misinterpret what is being said." (unquote)And I'm going to keep rolling with one more quotation...In Alex White's, The Elements of Graphic Design, he begins a chapter titled, "Listening to Type" with a word from El Lissitzky.Lissitzky says, (quote) "Typographic arrangement should achieve for the reader what voice tone conveys for the listener." (unquote)White furthers this by saying, "What do we mean by "listening to type"? Imagine listening to a book recorded on tape. The reader's voice changes with the story, helping the listener hear the various characters and emotion. A story told on paper should do the same thing. The "characters" that typographers work with are...headlines, subheads, captions, text, and so forth. These typographic characters are our players and must be matched for both individual clarity and overall unity."(end of quotation)Now, a few episodes back, I did what felt like kind of an offbeat, standalone episode called "All the World's a Stage for Designers" - but it plays perfectly to thi