In case you missed it, there is a new, very cool collection of sous-verres (table coasters) out by Parachute®. This exclusive set of typographic sous-verres will mark your territory and make your desk stand out. It was created in 2003 but was refreshed recently with additional designs and colors. The whole series consists of single letters which have been carefully selected to include name initials in numerous languages. Whether you are German, French, American, Greek or Russian you’ll most definitely find your initial here. They are designed to last. The unbreakable spongy material is ideal as your daily drinking partner. You can squeeze it, you can punch it, you can spill your drink on it. It is washable and will last for ever. Cheers!
Setting type for better or worse.
// by Panos Vassiliou
It so happens that the more you use type the more you become aware of the fundamental differences of typefaces and their ability to establish a diverse environment through which a message, an idea or a culture is communicated. What is it that makes a typeface suitable for a job and how do we measure its effectiveness? Are there any rules to go by, or it’s strictly a subjective process which depends solely on the individual designer’s education, experience and aesthetics?
There are 2+1 basic concerns when setting type:
When setting type for a newspaper, a magazine or anything else used for heavy reading, we are mostly interested in typefaces which are ‘invisible’ i.e. those which do not distract the reader’s attention, but instead make him concentrate on reading the text with comfort and ease. Readability (visual comfort) and legibility (the speed we perceive characters) are the two terms we use when we measure the effectiveness of a typeface with respect to reading. However, these two alone are not enough. Over the years, certain so called ‘rules’ have been established for the shape and proportion of characters. These rules are mostly based on visual observations and not on any scientific facts. They are there to set the base for the ‘natural’ characteristics of letterforms. As the structural part of the basic letterforms is almost fixed, there is no much ground for differentiation among typefaces. In his quest for the best fit, a designer needs to look for a quality of distinction which will differ from the qualities presented by other typefaces. It is these aesthetic characteristics, additional to the functional, which provide the difference in expression.
Another aspect that is often overlooked is the reader’s cultural needs. The designer must be able to select a typeface with familiar shapes which reflect the cultural identity of the reader, as this is a major factor for legibility.
There are several factors that affect the structural and aesthetic features of a typeface. The proportion of the letterforms, the relative thickness of the strokes, the texture of type as a result of the contrast or black/white balance, the stress of certain characters, the x-height, the shape of serifs, the spacing of characters and a few other less important. One must realize that it’s not only the internal characteristics of a typeface which are responsible for the appearance of a document but equally important is the environment within which it is called to be performed as well as the treatment received by a designer through a software program such as the adjustment of the text column, leading, wordspacing, kerning, background, etc.
Finally, one aspect often overlooked is those little details, the additional qualities, the extra characteristics -which possibly nobody asked for- but they are there to remind us of superior craftmanship and added value.
This post will serve as a preface to a series of typographic tips for those who actually use type. These tips will hopefully serve as a quick reference or some kind of a reminder when setting type. We will explore some fundamental principles of type, how type works, what qualities to look for when choosing a typeface, how to choose type for various projects. Stay tuned!!
Glass milk bottles of the 1930’s are a great source of typographic styles, representative of an era which has long become part of the American culture. In the early 1930’s a form of silk screening was introduced to put colored labels on milk bottles. The label was actually fused to the glass. This was cheaper and faster than using the molds needed for embossed milk bottles and made the labels much more prominent against the white background of the milk. This process was called pyroglazing (pyro for short) or Applied Color Labeling. Since then glass bottles have been replaced by plastic or paper but a few individuals were determined to preserve them by turning bottle collection into one of the most interesting American hobbies.
He is a designer of the highest order, in fact he upholds order, clean lines and proper letter spacing at all cost! He is a man obsessed with type and and his name is Max Kerning. “When I look around, I see disorder in the world—needless chaos and messes. I sense panic and stress. In fact, I feel it myself. It rattles my soul and gives me a headache and a sourness of the stomach. This is because everywhere I am assaulted by sloppy text that is displeasing to the eye. There is no respect for proper letter spacing and font choice. Letters are squished together, piled up, overlapped and umbled. They are inappropriately and self-indulgently tracked out. People mix typefaces with incompatible type styles. Or they think, “Why use a simple, clean typeface to convey an idea when you can use three or five or twelve.” This is wrong. This is sad. This is an affront to a cultured society, and it must be stopped. Immediately, before everything is tossed away to an angry wind. Order must be allowed to thrive, to flourish, to bring us into a tidy harmony.” -Max Kerning
Max is here to to bring order in a chaotic typographic world.
This is more than a book it is a work of art. Each of the 26 three-dimensional letters move and change before your eyes as you flip through the pages. Book designer MARION BATAILLE has managed to amaze us. Boldly conceived and brilliantly executed with a striking black, red, and white palette, this is a book that readers and art lovers of all ages will treasure for years to come. It comes out in October.