Awful Type

The world of typography is a vast landscape of letterforms and history, advertising and revolutions. In 1450 the Gutenberg Press changed civilization like the internet changed our civilization. Information became available to the general masses, moving the center of knowledge from the elite class to the middle of culture. Today, information and culture have merged and is filled with typography and will likely remain so until some from of mind-to-mind communication is pioneered.

Sometimes I think about what it would be like to be illiterate, or what it would be like to see words for the first time if the first time were right now. To look at letters and not understand is beyond my frame of reference, I don’t remember a time before I could read, but for most of my life the content captured my attention more than the type. Mark Z. Danielewski’s book House of Leaves is visually compelling yet I still did not see the letters, the fonts for themselves. (By the way, if you haven’t at least looked at House of Leaves, you should immediately find a copy and check it out.) I finally began looking at type while enrolled in the Graphic Design program at ACC. Typography with Linda Smarzik opened my eyes to the level of detail possible in type design. I began to see billboards and magazines and newspapers differently. I realized every piece of type I saw in the world was placed there by someone for a specific purpose. Mostly. Sometimes it appears no thought entered into the design of a sign. My friend James Benavides started a blog called Awful Type designed to not only point out less than crafted typography, but also as a source of inspiration for anyone who must intimately consider the finer details of designing typography to communicate as clearly as possible.

Check us out at awfultype.com and be sure to appreciate the world around you because it has all been designed for you.

Back to School Edition

Getting ready to start another semester, turning my focus squarely on design I found some great conversations about typography.

I did not get to see the talk Jessica Hische made from this text, but I bet it was awesome. I like the list of foundries and the tips for selecting the best font.

Nico Inosanto created a great display font called Fitigraph. Abundantly ligatured and fun, this font could be used for a wide variety of creamy applications.

This semester I will learn more about Photoshop and create solutions to four design problems.
I am excited and will be sure to post any highlights as they arise.

Best finds from the Foundries

This article from Fontfeed is an enlightening look at the difference between typography contests and best of lists. I’m leaning towards best of lists and this one from typefacts.com is my favorite. There’s some great scripts and I really like Our Type Stencils and Euclid looks sharp.

Designing typefaces seems like an amazing and amazingly difficult job. So many characters and spaces between the characters to design. Not to mention glyphs and ligatures, but the payoff of seeing a typeface you created communicating in a design would be worth it.

Would anyone other than a designer appreciate a custom made font as a present?