In The 7 Essentials of Graphic Design, Allison Goodman composes the basis for the main seven aspects of graphic design. We were assigned to read into the Typography chapter and then the chapter about Contrast. Both chapters gave a lot for me to think about and learn from.
We are in a place now where the type design of typefaces vary so incredibly much between fonts. The first typographic category was Old Style, followed by Transitional, Modern, and today’s Digital.
Each varies a lot from each other and up until this age’s Digital typographic category, each generation became more sleek than from the last. Check out this figure from page 27 of Goodman’s The 7 Essentials of Graphic Design.
- Old Style: reflects calligraphy by carrying on the angled axis of letters. It also looks like there is a chisel point to the letters and it’s as if these letters were carved, drawn, or painted.
- Transitional: there is a mix between thick and thin strokes like there is in Old Style, but the letters are no longer on an angled axis.
- Modern: this is a period where the letters are clean and minimal. Serifs were eliminated and it’s clear that a machine has produced these letters.
- Digital: the typographic experimentations that exist at this time vary so much between each other. It’s very difficult to find a running theme that satisfies every font because there is so much freedom and power in the potential of what could be done so the fonts that exist nowadays are all across the board!
When selecting a font, it is all about finding the right “personality”. The variation in fonts are so crucial because the font that comes from a doctor’s office would not be the same font that’s in the birthday card for a 7 year old. We ought to be so grateful for different fonts and the power that lies within them in that!
Just for clarification: a font is a family of typefaces such as Calibri and Calibri Light. The typeface is a specific variation within each font family.
Visual Compatibility: is a very important thing to consider. Some things to keep in mind to make reading easier for your readers:
- The x-height is between the top and bottom of any typeface area. When combining fonts that complement each other, sometimes one font has to be set to a larger point size so the middle center of both fonts are in line with each other.
- Tracking or Letter Spacing: is the consideration for the space that exists within the letters themselves. The marbles theory helps in this by trying to imagine the same size marble squeeze in between each pair of letters that are next to each other so each word is more visually balanced.
- Line length is only kept to 39 or 45 characters. This is so your readers are not strained and can read with ease.
As Goodman says on page 42, contrast puts an emphasis of “where to look first” and then “what to notice second”
Contrast can exist in shape, texture, and proportion to create a composition that heightens what is desired to be noticed. Prior to reading this, I had always thought of contrast as solely in light/darkness and in color. I realized that I was only aware of Contrast and Value (light/darkness) and then Contrast and Color.
- Hue: different base colors. If you imagine colors on a color wheel, every color is a different hue from each.
- Value: is the lightnesss or darkness of the color
- Chroma: is the brightness or intensity of the color