Project Three, Part Two: Type & Hierarchy
The typeface I was assigned is Didot, a French neoclassical font created by Firmin Didot in 1784. Today, the font is used by many fashion brands such as Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue. For my type specimen poster, I wanted to focus on this fact and “sell” Didot to designers by demonstrating how well it suits this use case.
I had a general idea of the direction I wanted to take my type specimen poster before starting, so I didn’t go through too many sketched iterations.
My first idea was to emulate a fashion magazine like Vogue with my poster. I sketched “DIDOT” at the top as the name of the magazine and had facts about the typeface scattered across the cover in different weights. Most fashion covers feature a model at the center, but since I was limited to using text, I used a large “D” as my model. Since this was just a sketch and my handwriting doesn’t look like Didot, I wasn’t sure who this would transition to digital media and decided to move on to the next sketch.
My second idea was to use the “I” and it’s thin hairlines to set up the several levels of hierarchy on my poster and create implicit borders on the side. I wasn’t too sure how I felt about this sketch initially since it featured the characteristics of the typeface rather than the use cases, which I wanted to feature. This idea ended up not working out when I realized the only weights Didot included were Regular, Bold, and Italic. When I made this realization, I decided not to digitally iterate on this design.
“Gucci Gucci” Inspired
This design was inspired by and interpolates the hook of the song “Gucci Gucci” by Kreayshawn, which goes “Gucci Gucci, Louis Louis, Fendi Fendi, Prada.” The idea was to recreate the logos of these designer brands using Didot and arrange them into a single level of hierarchy followed by information about the typeface. Immediately, I knew I liked this design the best, so I moved on to a digital iteration.
While creating a digital iteration of this design, I quickly realized it would be difficult to pull off. Without a human model at the center, the “magazine” seems very empty and lacks life. I attempted to experiment with a handful of colors without success and, in my opinion, the only redeeming qualities of this design were the ways I incorporated information about the typeface as click-baity captions.
“Gucci Gucci” Inspired
This is the first iteration of my “Gucci Gucci” inspired design. I was able to replicate the logos of many famous designer brands well despite none of them actually using Didot. The most difficult aspect of this was recreating the Louis Vuitton logo using Italic and Regular font weights. I added the Tiffany & Co. to this iteration to maintain the rectangular shape of the design. I added the lines in between the logos and the bodies of text to emphasize the different levels of hierarchy, and I chose white text on a black background because I felt it looked more classy and fitting for the typeface.
The feedback I received on this draft were that the “LV” logos were more eye-catching than “DIDOT” and that it was difficult to see the white hairlines of the body text when printed. To solve these issues, I was recommended to experiment with color and spacing.
For my first revision, I vertically centered the text and added another line to the bottom of the text to close off the rectangle shape. I also swapped the positions of the History and Characteristics text so that the Characteristics come first and increased the size difference between the two. I did this to add emphasis to the Characteristics information, which I chose to focus on in my specimen poster over the history of Didot.
To add emphasis to the “DIDOT,” I moved it to the center of the poster and added spacing between it and the other sections. I also added lines to border the logos at the top. Although, “DIDOT” is no longer at the top, it now attracts the viewers attention first, as the “LV” logos get boxed together with the other logos and is viewed as a single unit.
At this point, I was happy with the layout of my specimen poster and began experimenting with color. The white text on the black background had a high contrast, and I wanted the viewer to focus on the contrast created by the thing hairlines of the typeface rather than the contrast created by the color. My first attempt to tackle this was to change the background color to Tiffany Blue, my favorite color and the color of Tiffany & Co. Although I thought this was an improvement, I was not completely satisfied with this solution as it did not solve the issue of readability when printed.
I finally settled on my next iteration where I changed the background color to a light gray and the text color to a dark gray. I believe this combination of colors is both visually appealing and embodies the classiness of the typeface. I believe these colors also solve the issue of readability on print.