[Project 3] Complete Documentation
For this project, we focused on typography and how to use font, size, typeface, color, and hierarchy to make an informative poster. We all randomly chose different typefaces to focus on. The typeface I got was Baskerville.
Exercise #1: Tracing
Typeface tracing exercise for project 3.
Exercise #2: Typographic Voice
For “organic” I chose typefaces that I imagined could be printed on an actual bag or box of organic foods. I wanted typefaces that conveyed an “earthy” feel, so I tried to look for fonts that had thicker strokes, and I thought the serifs added some nice texture. I also experimented with typing the word in all caps versus all lowercase.
The first two options I can actually imagine seeing stamped on a box of organic fruits and vegetables at Costco or something. I chose the first typeface because it gave me an earthy feel, which reminds me of food, and I chose the second typeface specifically because I could see that font in real life to describe a box of organic foods.
The third option gives me a futuristic feel, but the contrast between that feeling and the word “organic”—to me—emphasizes even more that the word “organic” is actually organic. The last two I chose for similar reasons. Both typefaces have thick strokes but both still have serifs, which to me evokes that down to earth feeling. However, I think my favorite and the best option is the first one.
Name of Designer: John Baskerville
Year It Was Designed: 1754
Purpose of Its Form: Baskerville is most 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. Baskerville felt that a different typeface’s mathematically-drawn characters felt cold, which prompted him to create a softer typeface with rounded bracketed serifs and a vertical axis. Baskerville grew out of an ongoing experimentation with printing technology. Existing printing presses did not capture the subtleties of his type, so Baskerville redesigned the press replacing the wooden platen with a brass one to allow the planes to meet more evenly.
Full Character Set:
Having been an early admirer of the beauty of letters, I became insensibly desirous of contributing to the perfection of them. I formed to myself ideas of greater accuracy than had yet appeared, and had endeavoured to produce a set of types according to what I conceived to be their true proportion. –Baskerville
Typographic Hierarchy Exercise
The four exercises I chose are: Linespacing, Typographic Weights, Typographic weight and linespacing, and Size change and typographic weight.
The basic idea I had for both versions was to put spaces between different topics or ideas. So I separated the school lines and sectioned off each date and speaker so related information was chunked together. In the first version, I didn’t realize that “The Z-Axis Seminar Series” line was a separate line, so I fixed that in the second version and grouped it with “presents.” In both versions I had “Admission free” on a separate line since I think that is pretty important information to convey.
This exercise was a bit challenging since I couldn’t add any linespacing. So in the first version I tried to bold all the parts that were important, such as who was hosting the seminar, the seminar name, the dates, time, and location, and of course, that admission was free. In the second version, I also bolded the HCII line since I thought that could also be important to know, and I also bolded the speakers.
In this exercise I essentially combined my two versions for linespacing and typographic weights. In both versions I added linespacing between relevant information and I bolded parts that would stand out to readers so if they knew they were free on a certain date, they could easily go to that line and then figure out who was speaking on that day. In the second version I experimented also with bolding the speaker names, as well as bolding and grouping the time and general location together.
In both versions I decided to increase the font sizes for the times and speakers, with “Admission free” having the largest font size. However, in the first version, I selected the Medium weight for the dates, speakers, time, location, and “Admission free” since I thought that using bold might make the text too condensed, since I was increasing the point size for the “headings” of each chunk of text. In the second version, I decided to see what it would look like with the headings bolded. I also changed some of the line spacing, and was pleasantly surprised to see that the second version actually may have more of an impact than the first one, since the bold weight draws your eyes more than the medium weight.
For this first sketch I thought of using the capital Q as a frame, with light opacity punctation in the background, and also the history of the typeface in the middle of the Q. I had a little trouble placing some of the components, such as the full character set and the quote. If I were to use this as the starting sketch of my final poster, I can see that there is potential for the poster to look messy, especially if I have a lot of text and noise going on in the background.
I wanted to try something different for the next one, with the quote taking the center of the poster, but still making it obvious that the typeface is Baskerville. I placed an exclamation point in the middle as a small note to experiment with color and contrasting different colors with each other. Again, looking at it now I’m not sure if where I placed the character set would look like there is too much of a whitespace imbalance.
In this poster, I drew inspiration from a typeface poster online, where they used asterisks to separate the different syllables of the typeface (Bas*ker*ville). I also wanted to play around with some cheeky wording (“Inglorious Basterds” vs. “Inglorious Baskerville”). I know Baskerville was used in the movie poster for “American Gangster” so this probably wouldn’t be too far off. If I do choose to go with this design I might make the title more horizontal so it’s easier to read.
I went with a more minimalistic and simple design for this sketch, which can give me more room to use colors to make the poster more exciting. Baskerville is supposed to be clean and “true” proportion, so I can use this poster to display that.
For this sketch I went into Microsoft Word and typed out the full character set twice, one with just the normal font and the other in italics. The italicized ampersand looked very pretty and fancy, so I tried to use that to frame all the information I needed on the poster. Since the font looks fancier, I decided to try to introduce Baskerville as “Mr. John Baskerville” and have the rest of the information support and complement that.
I wanted to go with the “inglorious Baskerville” idea, but upon seeing how it looked with the asterisks separating the syllables, I decided to take that out. I wanted to add some color as well, so I highlighted the “BAS” in red to make the first syllable stand out against “inglorious.” I also used an uppercase “I” for the rectangle, since we are not allowed to use geometric shapes.
Since I had the Baskerville title slanted, I wasn’t sure how to incorporate the rest of the required text (character set, quote, and history). I decided to use the numbers as a fading background from the top, since I thought that adding anything else at the top might look too weird. I also put the full character set at the bottom.
I thought that the bottom was starting to look too empty, so I used a lowercase “L” to mimic what I had at the top, and colored the symbols in the same red color as the “BAS.”
I refined the spacing a bit, moving the whole composition up so the top part would have less white space and so the whole piece would look more balanced. I also made the “Baskerville” title less slanted, and scaled the “I” down so the curves could be seen in the poster. I then made the text more centered so they were sitting between the curves of the big black letters, and started the fade of the numbers earlier.
Another small note is my adding the asterisk in “in*glorious.” I’m a little worried that since inglorious has a negative connotation, it could also imply a negative connotation towards Baskerville. I added the asterisk so it separates the “in” prefix (which negates the word “glorious) and “glorious.”
Refining the Poster
The mini-critique went well and I got a lot of good feedback. Surprisingly, no one commented on the “in*glorious” part of the poster, which to me is a good sign because no one thought it looked weird or out of place.
I will definitely incorporate some of the feedback into my new version of the poster, specifically:
- Changing the text in the middle with the quote and the history (the spacing is a little dense and the kerning not as effective). Also, the quote and the paragraph need to be distinguished in a better way, especially from each other.
- Fixing small things, like making the red for the punctuation a little brighter, and maybe also slanting it on the same slope as the “1” behind it. Also, one of my numbers in the background doesn’t have the same opacity as the ones on the same row.
- Someone also suggested incorporating some white into the punctuation as well, so I will try to test it out and see out it goes.
I made the color brighter for the punctuation and also changed the font to semibold so it stands out even more. And now that I’ve changed the slope of the punctuation, I can see that it creates more symmetry with the title at the top and gives my poster a more finished look.
Here, I tried differentiating the quote and the paragraph by the size and font of the overall paragraphs, making the history paragraph take up more surface area, and condensing the quote to a smaller square. I think the quote is still slightly too dense, so I might try to increase the tracking.
2/20 In-class Feedback
The main thing I wanted to focus on for this class was hierarchy; specifically, I wanted to work on the hierarchy between the quote and the history paragraph. Julia suggested some very helpful things, such as decreasing the point size and even playing with color to de-emphasize certain things compared to others.
In both of these versions I played around with the spacing of all the objects, and I decreased the point size of the quote and the paragraph. However, I wanted the paragraph to stand out more against the quote, so I made the point size a couple sizes bigger than the quote, and I changed the color of the quote to be more gray than black. I also de-emphasized the character set on the bottom by decreasing the point size and lowering the opacity. In the right version, I changed the paragraph justification to left justified to see how it would look. I rather like it but I’m not sure if I will keep it.
I also decided to replace “in*glorious” with “Mr. John” because in class I realized we had to have the name of the designer as a separate object and I didn’t think it fit anywhere else but in that spot. ( :/ )
I also ended up un-bolding the punctuation and scaling it down so it doesn’t stand out too much.
These two screenshots are basically what I imagine the final poster will look like, although the version on the right has the quote color even lighter, and the beginning of the paragraph in small caps (per Julia’s suggestion!). I really like the effect the small caps give to the paragraph; I may experiment with having more words in small caps and seeing how it looks.
I changed the paragraph and the quote to different justifications so I could compare how the two looked. I may end up having both the quote and paragraph left justified so it doesn’t look too structured.
The final critique went pretty well; we were able to give enough time to each poster and talk about them in-depth. I did see from the critique that sometimes design and art can be subjective, as I noticed that some aspects of posters I liked were the subject of critique for others.