The Value of Classic Fonts

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Week 1 Discussion – The Value of Classic Fonts

Sample Included

Learning Objectives Covered

  • LO 03.09 – Define five features of a font family and explain its development and use

CAREER RELEVANCY

Understanding the background, development and history of type design and the features of some classic fonts will give you an appreciation for the history of typography, print and graphic design in general. As type designer Dmitry Kirsanov says: “To be font literate, a designer has to study the history and the principles of font design” (Mellas n.d.). These studies will make you more aware of the qualities of a well-designed font, and will help you make wise choices for your projects and your clients.

BACKGROUND

All fonts are not created equal. In this age of digital design, software programs and other technology makes font design fairly “easy”. Anyone capable of using the software needed can crank out a font for their own pleasure or a specific use, and offer it to the public through a number of different online sites, either for free or at a charge. In the early days of typesetting and print, font design was a much more difficult and labor intensive process than it is now and a Fontographer was trained just to create fonts. Each character, including its size and style, had to be carved in wood, then molded in lead, to be ready to use by the printmaker. Most early fonts were designed by the foundries themselves (the people who made and cast the type).

Legibility was of optimal importance in those early days, so much time and care were taken to see that they functioned well, and those traits have stood the test of time. Many of these early fonts have been revived in modern times. New technology helped refine them and added more options, but they still have those well-crafted and time-tested characteristics that make them versatile and dependable.

Studying the history, development, use, and characteristics of some of these classic and time tested fonts will teach you to analyze and dissect a font to define features such as x-height, ascenders and descenders, stress, serifs and stroke thickness. These are features that affect the legibility, readability and overall look and feel of the text. You’ll also notice that they function differently depending on if the text is used in larger or shorter segments (such as headlines) or in smaller sizes like large bodies of text.

References:

Mellas, C. (n.d.). Typography and Why it is Important for Your Website. Retrieved October 04, 2017, from http://www.webinsation.com/typography-and-why-it-i…

PROMPT

For this week’s discussion, you will be researching ONE of the following classic typeface families:

  • Garamond
  • Caslon
  • Times New Roman
  • Baskerville
  • Bodoni
  • Didot
  • Clarendon
  • Helvetica
  • Futura
  • Gill Sans

Note: You should be able to find a version of all these fonts in your computer’s font library (If you don’t have them all, just choose one that is available to you. No need to purchase or download any new fonts.)

Research the history of one of the listed fonts and find an example of how it’s been used in a prominent commercial way (branding, advertising, packaging etc). Study the font carefully and pay attention to its shapes and features. Find out if there are different versions of the font, and/or more recently designed “substitutes” or modifications.

  1. Name the font, it’s designer and when it was created
  2. Embed a screenshot of the commercial example you found in your post
  3. Tell us why do you think the font was chosen for this “job”

In your post be sure to also cover the following aspects:

  • Define its classification, and at least five features of the font (such as x-height, ascenders and descenders, stress, serifs and stroke thickness) and explain how they would influence why it was chosen for the use in your example.
  • How was the original design of the font influenced by art/design/technical movements or developments of the time? What specific purpose did it have?
  • What changes or new versions of the font (if any) have been made in recent times? Did they have a specific purpose or need?

For your citation, you might use articles that cover the history and usage of your font. You can also find articles from experts that show different uses of classic fonts.

Your initial and reply posts should work to develop a group understanding of this topic. Challenge each other. Build on each other. Always be respectful but discuss this and figure it out together.

Instructions (if needed) to upload and embed images to the discussion: (make sure you reference all images you use)

REPLY REQUIREMENTS

Per the Due Dates and Participation Requirements for this course, you must submit 1 main post of 150+ words, 1 citation, and reference, as well as 2 follow-up posts of 50+ words. Responses can be addressed to both your initial thread and other threads but must be your own words (no copy and paste), each reply unique (no repeating something you already said), and substantial in nature. Remember that part of the discussion grade is submitting on time (20%) and using proper grammar, spelling, etc. (20% per post).

Remember that part of the discussion grade is submitting on time and using proper grammar, spelling, etc. You’re training to be a professional—write like it.​

Replies to answer in first person:

  • First reply

Slyheem Taylor

YesterdaySep 30 at 12:28pmManage Discussion EntryOut of the ten listed type fonts I have chosen the type font, Bodoni, also known as Didone. Designed by Giambattisa in 1798 and influenced by the work of John Baskerville the Bodoni font was a prolific type font designer (Evans, 2016). Since the late 1700s, the font was accepted widely by printers and seen in a variety of publications such as the poster for the movie “Mama Mia!” As shown below, the movie poster for “Black Dahlia”, in magazines publications and more. Bodoni fonts use high and abrupt contrast between thick and thin strokes, abrupt hairline serifs, vertical axis, horizontal stress and small aperture characteristics to identify it, is classified as Didone or modern (neoclassical typeface) (“Bodoni Font Family Typeface Story”). The font style is used in many logos, lifestyle and fashion publications, television shows, posters, and advertisements because of its classic and elegant looking style. Didots fonts have shifted from a typeface to digital font in recent years with elements changing due to the nature of digital typeface (2019). Many believe the font was inspired by the age of Enlightenment having a formal look that speaks of yesteryear and tradition. work cited Bodoni Font Family Typeface Story. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.fonts.com/font/linotype/bodoni/story (Links to an external site.)Evans, J. (2016, September 14). Typeface History: Bodoni. Retrieved from https://medium.com/@jevans67/typeface-history-bodoni-f2ef2d285cfe (Links to an external site.).The Font Series: Didot. (2019, February 20). Retrieved from https://designroast.org/font-series-didot/ (Links to an external site.).Edited by Slyheem Taylor on Sep 30 at 8:28pm ReplyReply to Comment

  • Second reply

Cassandra Reisinger

YesterdaySep 30 at 4:49pmManage Discussion Entry     As you can see for this week’s discussion choice i picked Futura, this typeface seemed very fascinating because one of my favorite designers worked with this typeface often.  That would be Wolfgang Weingart! Now learning about the futura typeface was designed by Paul Renner in the year of 1927.  This typeface was created as a contribution to the new frankfurt project.   New Frankfurt project, was a radical affordable housing project in the city that involved many of the major modernist architects of the time.  Futuras design is based entirely on simple geometric forms (Shapes) such as triangles, squares and near-circles. With the stroke almost even throughout except for letters such as the lowercase ones. They say the commemorative plaque left on the moon in the month of july year of 1969 is set in futura font. Pretty cool! Work Cited: https://www.sessions.edu/notes-on-design/type-in-history-futura/

 

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