Sunday, February 27, 2011

Type is a Whole 'Nother Animal


s we all know, type is its own beast we have to tame and nurture. But are you able to tame this? An interactive typographic masterpiece designed by Roberto de Vicq de Cumptich typographically illustrates animals using letterforms as his building blocks. Besides the awesome interactive website, Bembos Zoo is also a picture book for young children. Indulge your eyes:

Also, have you had enough of the grid? Well, of course not. MOMA's New Typography Movement site allows you to interact with the type and play with the grid, on screen. Enjoy!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Effektive Design

This here is a piece created by Effektive Design's Greig Anderson, which made
Behance’s Top 10 Typographic Works of 2008. It is Greig Anderson's self promotional piece, which he created to find work while on a work visa in Australia. Behance has praised it, saying, "The living proof that the best work comes out when there’s no clients involved in the process. This two color piece is a challenge to flow of information and small demonstrat[ions] that small budgets can go a long way. For the obsessive typography lovers there’s nothing better than a piece that speaks through type."

Effective design has been a fully functional and active firm which has won a decent amount of awards in the six years that is has been active. They specialize in identity & brand development, print design & production, art direction and digital design.

What really caught my eye about this piece was it's strong, yet extremely flexible, grid. He prioritizes his order of things in the pages which open in different ways, overlaps bold font and imagery, sticks to just a few effective type faces, keeps a simple color scheme, and throws in the occasional visual quote bubble graphics. There is some really smart design going on here.

Monday, February 21, 2011

50 and 50

This is an awesome project that I have been waiting on for a couple months now and it just started. Dan Cassaro decided to get 50 designers, one from each state, to illustrate their states motto. The designers take the words and illustrate them on a 625x492 pixel canvas. This is a really great project because you also get to see 50 different designers working the same color pallet and see them differ extremely still within the project guide lines. Also allowing us to see the varying style and thought processes throughout the different areas designers are from. Be sure to keep up with the project for the next 10 weeks with a new state every week day.

Friday, February 18, 2011

...Typed to Death

The intro to the HBO series Bored to Death has a combination of type, and illustration. Dean Haspiel is a comic book artist who created the introduction for this show. In an interview, Dean talks about creating this type driven comic animation. It is interesting how the artist is able to animate the type in a dynamic way that flows with the illustration.

Monday, February 14, 2011

A Different Kind of Type Face

Usually when you hear "typeface" you think of all the different ones you have to choose from when designing your next project. This, however, is a different kind of typeface-- faces that are "drawn" using type. I found this while looking for interesting uses for typography. Being a caricature artist I really think this is a whole different way to illustrate someone. Usually the illustrations I have seen made from type have been very simple, but this type puts detail into the faces of the people, making it truly look like the person. Some techniques that these artists use are fading out the text to show different tones in the face, using bigger text to cover larger areas, changing the color of the type, and typing the text on a path to show flow, such as in hair. Check it out! I also found a video of how its done.

45 Amazing Type Faces Type Portraits Stunning Typographic Portraits

Sunday, February 13, 2011

I loved it when I was a kid, and it still rules.

Donald Duck in MathMagic Land (all three parts).

Go Math!

On a completely un-related note, if you like wood type, check out this documentary!

You can check it out at Paley Library.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Regretable Ligature

When I saw this poster at Whole Foods, the first thing I thought was how nice it was to be in a grocery store that actually employs a graphic designer for promotional signage. The next thought I had was how unfortunate that the designer of this poster, who evidently has access to nice fonts, would make the careless mistake of allowing three letters to merge into a regrettable ligature. Had they simply allowed for more leading or been more creative with their copy editing, this could have easily been avoided.

Good ligatures are not something you see used very often, but can add an aesthetic which makes work look very intentional. The font Mrs. Eaves has an extensive library of special ligatures beyond the typical variations of the problematic letter 'f.'Ligatures were first used by calligraphers either to add visual interest or to create kerning pairs that fit well together. I found these examples in a Speedball Calligraphy book that was published in 1960.

The advent of typewriters, personal computers, and the Internet have all contributed to the decline of the ligature as a typographical element. However, some fonts (including the Script series from House Industries) use smart kerning pairs which not only choose the best letter based on neighbors, but also implements ligatures automatically so that you do not need to use the glyph palette. Additionally, some fonts are simply made to contain beautiful ligatures as a nod to the past.While the internet is the last place you'd expect to see them, Firefox introduced the ability to allow certain fonts to contain ligatures on the web.

Ridiculous and Time Consuming

I always have an extreme appreciation for ridiculous undertakings in art and design. Thus, while searching the various typography websites out there I came across this HUGE linocut map made up of different typefaces and words representing different parts of the city of Paris. The piece, created by Mark Andrew Webber, is 5'x6' and took two months to cut weekends included. I feel like this is a good example of type being used in a way to create an image that is more than just type on a page. I cannot imagine working on one thing for two months straight and not going crazy especially with something as delicate and precise as type carved out of a linocut.

Speaking of time consuming I found this cool kerning game called Kern in Space. Happy Kerning.

Paula Scher: Seriousness vs. Solemnity

TED is a nonprofit organization that holds conferences yearly with speakers in the areas of Technology, Entertainment and Design. The speakers are challenged to give a talk about their lives in about 20 minutes. I found Paula Scher's talk video where she discusses the difference between serious and solemn design. She confesses her hatred of the typeface Helvetica in her twenties and that her best design work was created intuitively out of "serious play" rather than her more informed "solemn" work. She shows slides of her work over her life time and discusses when a project transitioned from serious to solemn. I think that its important to learn everything you can from great designers and these TED talks are the perfect opportunity to do so.

There is also a shorter talk by Stefan Sagmeister where he talks about the things he has learned in his life and another one where he discusses "happy design."

(TED's website videos don't seem to be working on Temple's internet so if they don't work for ya here is the youtube versions.
Scher: Serious play.
Sagmeister: Things I have learned so far.
Sagmeister: Design can make you happy.)

Friday, February 4, 2011

I Wish All Fonts Were Made Like This

There are so many ways to express type these days, whether it's on the computer, by hand or spray painted on a wall. I'm always looking for creative ways of using type, so when I came across this video the other day and thought it was pretty wild. The guys at plmd "please let me design" created their new font called iQ font in a very unique way. I wish all fonts were made like this; we might have to make this our next class project.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Sans Comic Sans

On top of the list of the most hated fonts would have to be comic sans. Although Comic Sans is constantly put down upon it has enough merit for its name to be bestowed upon one of the printers in the general lab, so even if you did not want to speak of comic is probably mentioned every day at Tyler because of that.

Here, a man named Mykl Roventine passionately presents his distaste for comic sans:

This video gives you the background of comic sans and why not to use it. I think it is important to understand what is bad about typography in order to know all the good stuff too.

There is even a website devoted to banning comic sans, where I also found a lovely game of shooting the type culprit (which is pretty entertaining). So if you ever need to take a break from all the graphic design babble, just take it out on comic sans, will ya?

P.S. Comic sans did not go down without a fight.