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.

1 comment:

  1. great design...nice review...what about the Swiss grid and choice of red? Signifying the Swiss and WAR?