Project 3: Type Specimen Poster Process Documentation

Introduction

The typeface that this poster is for is Didot. After doing some preliminary research, I had learned that Didot is a typeface of elegance, glamour, luxury, and style. Didot can be seen on the cover of Vogue Magazine for this very reason. This is largely due to the high contrast experienced within the boldness of strokes within the letters.

When designing this poster, I made my first priority the hierarchy. There were 5 essential pieces of information that I needed to communicate with my audience. The name of the typeface, the designer of the typeface, the year it was made, a blurb about the typeface, and the full character set (in order of importance). In my final design, it should be clear to the viewer of the poster what is the most important thing and what things aren’t as important.

I also wanted to make sure that my design was intriguing and would catch a person’s eye and draw them into actually reading the poster. When limited to only characters from the typeface, a lot more creativity is necessary to do this effectively. I relied on colors and the typeface itself to draw upon the elegance and luxury of the typeface in order to make an intriguing poster.

To me, elegance is clean, concise, but intentional. I knew that I needed to make a poster that wasn’t cluttered, that didn’t have a lot going on, but got the point across to the viewer.

Design Process

In my initial sketches, I concerned myself with how I would lay out “Didot” across the top of the poster. I knew that if I relied on the typeface itself to express elegance, the poster would look elegant. I had the idea to make the poster feel as though it was a passage from a magazine as well, which is something that Didot is really suitable for. After playing around with this a little bit in Illustrator, I decided to continue with this idea.

In Illustrator, my main concerns were to make sure the hierarchy was clear and that the “Didot” at the top was elegant and intriguing. Some of my earlier designs played with the kerning of “idot” in Didot, moving it leftwards, towards the “D”. This looked good, but detracted from the feel I was going for and I found that “Didot” was better off without that weird kerning I had attempted.

I decided to communicate the year and the designer of the typeface using sentences to portray elegance and high-class. I think that this is one of the things that makes my poster unique and also works really well with the hierarchy of the poster. By maintaining the “maroon” color as a highlight to provide emphasis on important words, I was able to create a sub-hierarchy. Within the blurb, I found that making the important words have the maroon color for emphasis, as well as an increased font size worked really well. Essentially, it made the poster require less reading to understand my typeface well and understand more about Didot, so I think that was pretty successful. I also made the leading pretty large in order to increase the effectiveness of the emphasized words in the blurb, so that the paragraph didn’t feel like a wall of text, but instead was friendly and inviting. Doing this also made things seem less crammed on the poster, which I think is really important.

Alignment was also really important to the success of my poster. I decided to include a vertical line using underscores to lead the eye down the page and also provide me with a good margin to align some of the larger pieces of text to. It was also reminiscent of magazines and newspapers, which was an added bonus. I decided to keep everything left aligned, but I justified the character set manually by kerning each individual character to ensure that they all lined up well. The left alignment maintained order in the poster and helped keep the hierarchy clear (top-to-bottom).

Finally, after talking to Professor White about what I could improve, she had told me that whitespace can be a good thing that that having the contents of my poster span across the length of the poster may in fact take away from the elegance. After reducing the size of the contents, it looked even more elegant, orderly, and clean. Finally, I had decided to take an interesting character from my typeface’s characterset (“g”) due to the nice curves that it had and reduce the opacity and place the letter across the entirety of the poster, bleeding off the edge of the poster itself. Doing this added some more elegance and texture without cluttering up the page or becoming a distraction.

Conclusion

Overall, I’m pretty proud of how my poster came out. It definitely changed a lot from what my initial designs had looked like, but I had a pretty clear idea of what sort of effect I was going for and what I could do to achieve the desired effect which made designing this type specimen poster much easier than I had expected.