A typeface’s name should reflect its best characters.
With the final type specimen sheets being due on Tuesday, here are a few notes to consider from Thursday’s crit:
- Ask a friend to look over your typeface to help you identify inconsistencies. Every letter, number and punctuation needs to be cohesive and feel like a seamless continuation of the typeface family.
- You may want to consider offering several versions of specific letters. For example, maybe your typeface offers 3 versions of the capital “A”: one standard, one slightly flourished, and one highly decorative (like a drop cap).
- How will you name your typeface? A name can leave a strong impression, so choose wisely.
- Be ready to tell your story that talks about the meaning, inspiration, process, etc., of your typeface. A personal narrative will always make your presentation engaging and compelling.
- Document your progress!
Good luck! See you tue!
The personal display typefaces are due next week. Many of you are making real progress, and successfully resolving details of proportion and contrast in your work. Chaska’s hand-embroidered script is impressive! I’m excited to see everyone’s final typefaces.
Few things to keep in mind:
- Sketch by hand! (not on the computer)
- Work on a grid. Look at the previous post “Anatomy of Type” to see how to set up a grid.
- Once the final typeface is finished, how will you photograph the final piece? Will you digitize your typeface?
- Remember to document your progress and efforts!
Thanks to Jamie for the in-class documentation photos!
The in-progress drop caps look great. Remember to emphasize a focal point through use of contrast, and paying attention to details to create a cohesive and balanced composition.
Check out this brilliant experimental blending of two art forms: Graffiti + Kirigami (a variation of origami; most people know kirigami as paper snowflakes). This experimental style is called Graffitiami.
You can find more at
What other artforms can you name which can be combined to create experimental typography?
Masood Ahmed, graffiti artist turned graphic designer, gave a lecture on the History of Graffiti, and its influence on his work as a graphic designer. He spoke of the natural progression from graffiti into graphic design, pointing out that graffiti is manipulation of letter-forms, and in graphic design, we call that typography.
Here are some of my notes! The beginning of graffiti started in “gang graffiti” in the late 1960’s as an early attempt of gang members to mark who owned which neighborhood. In the example below, the gang called the Savage Skulls marked neighborhoods in the Bronx:
Darryl McCray, referred to as "Cornbread", is a graffiti artist from Philadelphia. Starting in 1967, he is regarded as “father of modern graffiti”. His first efforts in graffiti were based upon his love interest for a girl.
In the 1970’s graffiti was mostly found in Spanish Harlem in the form known as tagging, which was the simple mark of the person’s name and street number. However, the work of an artist named Warlock, shown below, was an early masterpiece that shocked the graffiti art movement because it moved from tagging into painting:
Warlock’s “piece” inspired many graffiti artists, who started to look for inspiration in letterforms in advertising, sample ads, etc. The piece below by Robin was done in 1973, and demonstrates the emergence of the first style in graffiti art known as Bubble Letters:
By 1982 graffiti art became more sophisticated with certain defined style. The most prolific genre became a complex style known as “Wildstyle”, involving interlocking letters and connecting points. These pieces are often harder to read by non-graffiti artists as the letters merge into one another in an often undecipherable manner:
In the 1990’s, a new style based on tatoos was created by an artist named Saber, who called the stylized graffiti style, LA Style or LA Latino:
Finally, putting graffiti art in context with today’s visual culture, an example of graffiti art merging with graphic design can be seen in wheat pasted posters known as street art, in the works of artists like Bansky and Shepard Fairey:
I’m curious to get your input:
What are your thoughts about graffiti and its role in today’s visual culture?
How has street art informed the art world?
Many graffiti artists call graffiti in commercial work as “selling out”, what do you think?
It’s important to know the proper terms of typography, especially when we critique and review your typeface designs. Take a look at these illustrations and familiarize yourself with typographical elements in the anatomy of type.
You can also read an article on the Basics of Typography: http://www.thefloatingfrog.co.uk/tag/typography/#ixzz0sxlHNtJQ
The explorations and progress on everyone’s type looked great. Several key factors to consider:
- a grid will help the letters have a solid system.
- Consider the cap line (top), baseline (bottom), and mean line (main horizontal)
- Ascenders and descenders must adhere to your grid
- Is the counter of the “d” the same width as the “p” and “q”?
- Use the letters “o” and “n” as the basis for tracing the letters “d”, “p”, “q”
- The spine of the letter “s” should be the same as the letter “g”
The Daily Drop Cap is an ongoing project by typographer and illustrator Jessica Hische. Each day, a new hand-crafted decorative initial cap will be posted for your enjoyment and for the beautification of blog posts everywhere.
Here’s the calligraphy book we used in class on Tuesday. It’s a comprehensive guide to the 10 major calligraphy hands, starting with the formal and classic Roundhand. The book also has a great collection of illuminated letters (the starting point for the modern drop caps). You can find this book at the SVA library, Amazon and Strand.