Thursday, February 19, 2009

Form and Content 3:

Under the "Meaning & Composition" lesson from a professor of typography ( was an example from Josef Muller-Brockman, a Swiss graphic designer. This design is quite simple and direct but visually it works and when broken down there are more complex elements than first realized. The hierarchy is strong and how the font is placed leads your eye around to read all the elements. "Helvetica" is definitely the focal point of the piece, being the largest of all the fonts in scale and also having the most contrast. The bold white font against the bold black stripe really make the title of the typeface jump out. The location of being almost dead center also pulls you in. Small details like the H and the l in Helvetica lining up with the red diagonal stripe simplifies the piece and shows that the designer was looking at the details and had sense of an internal grid connecting the visual elements with the type itself. One of the most unique features was how he laid out the lower case and upper case letters. Most people want to divide the characters up equally line by line but he broke them up kinda randomly, more based on the graphic broken lines that they would create. It then becomes more about the type fitting into the design and making sense visually than trying to adding two chunks of 26 characters into the design. Another unique element is how he switches weights or the color of the font within the text. Although the first line of uppercase letters are not more important than the second line of uppercase letters he chose to make them bolder. He did a similar thing with the quote making "in war" bold and black, "truth" even bolder and white, and "is the first casualty" in a finer black font, all in one sentence.  This uneven distribution of weight and color actually has a purpose.  "In war" fitting in the dark red needs to be heavy because there is so much font to the right of it. "Truth" is the focal point of the sentence so it needs to have a higher contrast so it white and even more bold. "Is the first casualty" is lighter and airier so that it balances out and does not distract from the title. This style is also carried out where the author's name is and in the different weights of black lines so there is a consistency throughout. Even though this Swiss design seems simple at first glance it is all the small graphic decisions that make this design work so well.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Form and Content 2:

I found this typographic piece on the website  It is a data table designed for a typography lesson. Although it is displayed small on the screen the original intention was for it to be installed with the dimensions of 3x2 meters (9.8 x 6.6 feet).  The table is really unique since it is designed with typography alone, without any grid lines like typical tables. Most audiences don't enjoy reading tables and only do if they have to, but this data table has a clear hierarchy, colorful text, flow, and variation which pull you in. The design does not compromise the purpose of informing you though.  All the information is still clear cut and easy to read. The way the text is laid out and scaled creates a sense of flow and it leads your eye around the piece, making sure you read each of the categories.  While reading tables audiences have a tendency to read the first couple columns and skip the rest but because of the flow and the hierarchy your eye is directed to all the content, reading the most pertinent information first and then the less significant ones. One of the biggest design elements is the scale of the font. The way the font is scaled not only creates a clear cut hierarchy but it also creates a sense of depth. With almost all tables repetition happens since it is column after column of information but it is nice that the color and scale of the font creates variation within it. The color scheme is very contrasting and bright and uses a lot of different colors to add more variety. I'm not sure if this color scheme is the strongest but it does look nice. I would have like to have seen a smaller palette or maybe not as bright of colors.  I'm just not sure how it would look blown up to 3x2 meters with those bold of colors.