Saturday, March 3, 2007

Creative typography

I've covered many categories of typography but really typography is all around us everyday. There is typography on street signs, on bus stops, and on billboards. Typography can be bland, and it can be extremely creative.

Type, in any creative project, should be chosen to maximize readability. Readability refers to the ease of reading a printed page. "Readability involves design of the total visual entity, the complex interrelationships among type, symbols, photos, and illustrations" (Berryman 28). Type should also help reinforce the message being conveyed. “The type should reflect the tone, attitude, and personality of the communication. In a word, the type should be appropriate to the audience, message, client, medium, and image” (Ryan and Conover 110). In her book Better Type, Betty Binns puts these ideas together: "The ultimate goal is to have readable type that is also beautiful and expressive" (9).

An effective typographic message will stop the audience. This is the goal of headlines in newspapers, magazines, book covers, and advertisements. The type chosen is important, as is the placement. Ryan refers to type as both an art and a science. It is an art because designers use type, artwork, space, and color to “create and shape their masterpieces” (Ryan and Conover 110). It is a science because there are lessons learned about line length, style, point size, and type choice. A good layout will combine art with science to create a visually exciting piece.

Type can have a variety of meanings, as seen with this image:

Type can also be used to create visual puns.

Here is another visual pun created with this poster:

“Clever use of visual rhetoric creates high impact direct mail pieces for this gardening company…The imagery and arrangement of white type on the green background reflects the gardening activities that correspond to the season” (Walton 113).

This movie poster shows the way type acts in accord with art. The use of color brings a sense of unity to each poster.

These three movie posters created for a “modern day Western” show different solutions to one brief. The three images employ Western iconography: slab serif typeface, bullet holes, splashes of blood, and faded photographs (Walton 41).

For chat and discussion all about typography, click here.

Image source 1,2: March, Marion. Creative Typography. Cincinnati: North Light Books, 1988.
Image source 3,4: Walton, Roger, ed. Big Type. New York: HBI, 2002.

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