Project 3, Part 1: Typography

Tracing fonts and using fonts to evoke “voice”

Tracing fonts

From Top to Bottom: Adobe Garamond, Didot, Helvetica, Futura

We started out this project by getting a physical feel for typefaces and font by tracing over them using tracing paper. The process helped me notice the subtle assets of each of the typeface much more closely, from the thickness and sharpness of the lines to the exaggerated accents that set them apart from one another. I was also able to notice similarities between the typefaces, such as what sort of lowercase “a” they use, and the impact of serifs on overall appearance. Of the typefaces we traced, I definitely liked Didot the best.

Using Typeface to Evoke “Voice”

The next part of this project involved exploring typefaces, to identify which have the power to evoke specific meanings. We did this by looking at a set of words, picking five, and testing each out with different typefaces, until we found one that fit best. Below are the five that I chose.

The word “bright” immediately brings to mind light, and a sort of stand-out boldness. Phosphate, which comes in both solid and and inline fonts, boasts thick lettering, exaggerated counters, and consequently stubby terminal points on the letters. All of the letters also adhere to the x-height. What stood out to me in this font was the light that the inline font brought to the typeface. It is almost as if slivers of light are fighting their way through the bold font, evoking the “brightness” of the word.

As an English major, when I think of melancholy, I think of poetry, and literary representations of the feeling. Because of that, I was eager to jump to the script-based typefaces, of which Edwardian Script ITC was the most appealing to me. The elegance of the script, to me, evokes the morose elegance in writing about melancholy, or even using the word “melancholy”.

As a Biology major, I’ve had my share of lab-experiences, and Arial is one of the typefaces that I’ve spent the most time with. The simplicity, and I would almost say formalness, of the typeface is important to ensure that the content being expressed is taking precedence over the prettiness of the font. It is used to get to the point, and to not distract. Be it from experience, or just plain intuition, Arial just screams experimental procedure to me.

I worked backwards with this particular typeface. I usually use Copperplate Gothic Bold when I’m trying to make something stand out. I find it interesting that despite all characters being uppercase, the “capital” letters of the word are slightly taller than the rest. The light serifs and boldness almost seem gaudy and unnecessarily flashy to me, which makes this font feel like an attention seeker. I’m sure it thinks itself “Supreme”.

Trust could mean anything from credibility, to familiarity, and to me Times covers all these bases. It is one of the most generic and easy to follow fonts available, and often looked to as a signal for professionalism. It makes me feel comfortable, and so I think it was the most appropriate selection for this word.

Trying to make sense of the world, one word at a time

Trying to make sense of the world, one word at a time