Designing My Favorite Type Poster: A Case Study

A Type that Speaks to Me

I was given the assignment in class to design a poster centered on type. I was to choose my favorite typeface and create a poster accentuating the essence of that typeface.

The required and select elements I was allowed to incorporate into my composition shaped my brainstorming process to kick-start the assignment. The project guidelines limited me to only being able to select for a regularly used typeface that was available on Adobe software’s.

I was also to stay within the parameters of using black, white and only the different variations of the typeface of my choosing.

Before the actual assignment was announced, my professor instructed the class to first choose their favorite typeface, and without hesitation I chose Century Gothic. We then were to make a series of charts and webs to brainstorm the typeface we chose. Throughout the exercises I was unaware what the point actually was, but immediately after the guidelines of the end assignment left my professor’s mouth, I knew choosing to focus on the Century Gothic typeface was the right choice for me. Not only is it aesthetically pleasing but it is also an overall versatile and appealing typeface that sparks much of my interest.

I love the feeling I get when I read something in Century Gothic, it is welcoming and non intimidating (when used in a large copy of text), which has always discouraged me. Its form reminds me of learning how to write as a child, teen books and magazine covers, astronomy and baking articles, even used around the subject of babies, which I also love. I had so many reasons to choose this typeface so going into the assignment I was very excited.

Round and Round We Go with Century Gothic

After choosing our favorite typeface, the first thing our professor assigned us to do was to start idea blocking. We were told to fold or section off a piece of paper into six separate parts with which we did not know the reasoning behind until each further instruction. We were to fill in each block with anything that came to mind after the specific block instruction was given and relate to our chosen typeface.

The instruction for the first block was to describe the typeface. For this I wrote down words including “rounded,” “uniform,” “neat,” “upright,” “clean,” “readable,” and more.

The next section was for comparisons: similarities and differences between our typeface and others. I struggled with this section because there were far too many ways to compare and contrast with the multitude of typefaces available and I wasn’t quite sure what the professor was expecting, but I managed to come up with a few. I included that it was similar to “other simple fonts” and different from “serif fonts,” “script fonts,” and fonts with “all capital” lettering.

The next block was devoted to associations we make when thinking of our typeface. Immediately words and phrases came to mind like “babies,” “learning to write,” “modern,” “teen book titles,” “favorite handwriting style,” “outer space because of rounder elements,” and “light topics”. All of these ideas much like the originally mentioned interests that sparked the flame between Century Gothic and myself.

Block four was used to analyze and in doing so I noted the medium and uniform line weight, “clean cut” and “crisp edges,” and the “sans serif” element.

Application was the next block instruction, getting us to focus on who may use this typeface and how. I listed that I felt it could be suitable for fashion, teen or baby books, babysitting flyers and websites maybe on the topic of space or even baking.

Lastly, we were to argue either/ or both for and against our typeface. I argued for Century Gothic because of its readability, versatility, attention grabbing ability and lastly its simple yet stylistic and professional aesthetic. We ended that exercise with connecting the ideas between each block and noting any overlaps that may have arose between them in the process.

Mind mapping was the next exercise. Still not knowing the purpose of the exercises, I chose the most apparent and descriptive word to put in the center of my word map and let my mind take over from there. Words popped in my head from “round,” “ball,” “sun,” “shape” and “planet” to “story,” “fun,” “astronomy,” “modern,” and “style”.

Both of these exercises I found extremely helpful for what was assigned next, which was a small write up on our typeface. By extracting key words such as “circular,” “uniform,” and “modern” from both the idea block and mind map, the thoughts for my write up came easily to me.

Still not knowing what the overarching goal and project would be at this point, we then condensed our write up to contain the most important information, such as our inspiration, the technical background and elements of the typeface and its possible applications.

From this our professor finally explained, after much anticipation, that we would be putting all of these elements, ideas and associations into a type poster featuring our favorite typeface. I knew I wanted my composition to pull from the fun and bold attitude of Century Gothic, so I got started.

I wanted to highlight its strong form and large x-height by using the complementary letters of “c”and “g” as the focal points. I wanted to push the boundaries of the black and white, by incorporating pops of grey throughout my background design.

We were to design one poster focusing on the type and another focusing on a glyph from the typeface that embodies all its same qualities. I chose a solid circle as well as a ring shaped glyph because they shared all my favorite attributes of the Century Gothic typeface. My favorite of the two I created of these was the glyph type poster. I made the background a solid black with grey rings to create a bubbly and light hearted feeling, but keep the pops of variety within the bold black background. The white glyph within the words “Century Gothic” is this first thing that attracts the eye, then directing the viewer’s eyes to rotate around the entire composition. Then creating an experience embodying the essence of the typeface as well.

Finding a Design that Hits the Target

I am very pleased with the final product I created. After making models and models of the different variations and contrasting compositions I could come up with in my head, my professor helped me narrow down my strongest and most effective poster designs. My peers also looked over my final composition as well giving suggestions and all types of feedback that would later help in my design career. I learned that spacing and alignment is key.

What you may not catch off the bat as misaligned-someone else is guaranteed to, and that will be your downfall. If one mistake or one element is the slightest bit out of place, I learned that that is the only thing that will be receiving your viewer’s attention. I took away so many lessons from this type poster project. From peer review I learned that it was extremely important to create something that every type of audience will be interested in, not just yourself. Being true to the essence of the subject, in this case, the Century Gothic typeface did me very well. The final product looks clean, crisp, visually inviting and stylistically modern, all of which is embodied in Century Gothic.