Learning Activity – typography


Written assignment (observation and analysis)    (4 hrs)

  1. Define the term “typography” in your own words.

    Typography is the conscious choice of a typeface to fulfill a specific task or express something. It is arranging body copy so a page filled with text looks appealing to read. It is creating systems of letters, that go well together so they can later be used arranged in every possible way to convey a meaning or create an artwork. Good typographers put the content first and make it a priority to make the content easy to read in both holistic and detailed view.


    So, if I had to write a short sentence I would say that typography involves the creation of typefaces and fonts and how we use them consciously to fulfill a task.

  2. Write a few sentences explaining what typography is not.

    Typography is not unconscious use of type, it is not handwriting, nor it is scribbling of letters.  Typography is not the manipulation of singular letters one at a time outside a context.

  3. Find a case study on typeface development on the Internet (similar to the ones in Addendum A). Explain which medium (small format printing, large format printing, mobile devices, etc.) the font developed is best suited for and why. Keep legibility, size and style in mind.

It was hard to pick just one typeface to study so I ended up reading about a lot of typefaces. I started my journey with a google search  and the first name that came to my mind was surprisingly comic sans, cause I loved the font when I was a kid and could not understand why we had to write everything in Times New Roman.  Even though the story of comic sans was a funny one ( as the typeface),  it was rather brief and not so interesting, so I kept searching. I then visited the website “typographica” to see if I could find a typeface there and “Pathos” caught my attention,  a serif typeface that stood out from the rest. Other than the introductory text on this website, I could not find anything about it on the web. My next stop was IDSGN a website that posts about the things we love and hate as designers, and it publishes a series of posts called “Know Your Type”, where they feature different typefaces each time.  I started by reading about myriad pro, a really popular typeface apparently, used by both Walmart and APPLE, something I found quite amusing and interesting, but decided to keep reading. I ended up with Baskerville, a typeface which I found fascinating, because of its interesting creator, its creation time and the fact that it is still popular today.


Baskerville was designed in 1754 and it is known for its crisp edges, high contrast and generous proportions. It is categorized as a transitional typeface, in-between classical typefaces and the high contrast modern faces. It was created by a self-taught printer to perfection his printing style, the typeface grew out of an ongoing experimentation with printing technology.

Given its origin I would say that Baskerville is best suited for large format printing and normal printing. I tested the font on its lower size 8, and found it really difficult to read without squinting. This is because the lower case letters are small in size( the x-height is small). I feel Baskerville is a good typeface for text because the body copy has a good color and evenness, this is probably because of Baskerville’s circular strokes, more regular characters, contrast between thick and thin strokes and  vertical axis in rounded letters. I did found one annoying thing about it when writing in english, the capital letters seem to be very bold in comparison to the lower case letters, something that makes them stick out and steal a lot of attention so the letter “I” kept sticking out everywhere in my text, and I figure this would be even  more irritating in german since all the nouns are capitalized there!

Research and written assignment  (observation and analysis)      (1,5 days)

  1. Document one day of your life acting as an observer of typographic design. Produce a comprehensive diary of the typographic experience of your day from first thing in the morning to last thing at night.

  2. Keep this diary within research folder or sketchbook. You should be prepared to use photography, photocopying and other means where necessary to evidence what you find, as well as collecting first-hand examples of typographic design.

  3. Make notes or comments to reflect on what you have collected and documented. Your notes should help you to consider what kind of design it is that you are recording. For example, a cereal packet may have some large obvious lettering / typographic device on the front of the box, but there will also be typography in the form of information design within a “nutritional information” table on the packaging. So are you looking at promotional design/branding or information design? Or are you looking at typography? Is it lettering?

  4. Choose two examples of design that you have collected that you consider to have either good or bad qualities. Try to analyse these further in terms of their typography. Can you identify the typefaces being used? Does the typography communicate successfully? If so, why? If not, why not?


I have chosen to write a virtual diary so I could upload it to wordpress. Here is the PDF: ‘

My typographic diary

Practical assignment (2 days)

  1. Complete the exercise files that came with the Lynda video Indesign Typography. Upload them to WordPress.

  2. Use your design software to design a newspaper front page. Pay special attention to typography (size, leading, column width, etc.).

    Pdf of the front page of a newspaper called “The World”: newspaper front page spread

  3. Use your design software to design a double-page spread (DPS) for your favourite magazine. (Look at an example of a DPS here.)

    Pdf of the double-page spread of a magazine: Double page spread.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s