A lesson in typography

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cybergranny's avatar
By cybergranny
First I want to give a big thanks :glomp: to :iconlonnietaylor: for the rewriting of this article, which I wrote first in french but the translation was a bit unsound ^^

A Lesson in Typography

I am in love with words and letters. I would like to introduce to you one of my passions:

This is too often considered to be secondary by many neophytes.

People are drawn to means to communicate. In the beginning of visual communication history shows us that cave drawings were the origin of written language. Ancients would use symbols and meaning to translate their thoughts and intentions. In time people modified symbols into alphabets among hundreds of cultures. These, “languages” were derived out of primitives such as Latin, which is the basis of linguistic example today.

Typography is a group of techniques that allow the artist to reproduce text. It is also in reference to the text in itself.  The definition of typography was largely expanded by the invention of the printing press which was created for the sole purpose of printing the Bible.

The advent of the personal computer was the highlight of typography’s success in as many as hundreds of years because individuals could utilize the pre-built fonts in order to share their thoughts. The art form of digital typography was born. For the first time in history typography was popularized by the mediums that facilitated them rather than the artists that created the means. Communication born out need developed a community whose limitations created text art as we see it today, and the internet. Typography is, “the art of the letter”.

Here are some names of people that have largely influenced typography:

Plantin, Aldo Manuzio, Fournier, Bodoni, Baskerville

And the modern:

Thibaudeau, Audin, Stanley Morison, Tschichold, Zapf and Frutiger

some links about history:
www.britannica.com/eb/article-… (english)
histoire.typographie.org/ …
www.britannica.fr/Lettre2/hist… (french)

Arguably letters and words are more important individually than a whole image. Words enhance images or detract messages when in combination with other mediums. The impact is in what is said and seen. For me typography justifies itself, explains meaning and makes its own graphic category.

What is the word in an image? What are the importance of the font, the style and the colors? What does it do?


Interesting links

jacques-andre.fr/faqtypo/ (french)
www.typographe.com/forum/viewf… (french)
www.planete-typographie.com/ma… (french)

Useful links
babel.uoregon.edu/yamada/fonts… possibility to download varied languages fonts
typetester.maratz.com/ Online tool to compare texts with different fonts

Two web sites for finding the name of a font:

Funny link
www.p11.com/fontfetish &n… bit mature though)


Some gems found in the web
www.ni9e.com/typo/typo_biggie.… amazing flash animation
www.amiamo.info/start.htm it’s in italian but it’s beautiful
www.perte-de-temps.com/lhorlog… wonderful work (french)

There was a pretty fun and interesting online software to draw with fonts here storyabout.net/typedrawing/&nb… it’s not available now, I hope they will release soon a new version.


The complete handbook of the typography by James Felici, for any knowledge about the typography, very good book for an initiation with the art of the typography (historical concepts, and typographical rules)

www.amazon.com/Complete-Manual… (in english)
www.amazon.fr/manuel-complet-t… (in french)

The thirteenth sign (Le treizième signe) by Xavier Dandoy: delivers on the punctuation, old future and modern, very pretty graphic and poetic book

www.lelibraire.com/din/tit.php… in french)

Typographies by Raymond Gid: subtle aesthetic mixture of letters, thoughts and images

www.imprimerienationale.fr/Liv… (only in french)

Typographism 2 by Andreu Balius: uses of the typography through 60 graphic creations (explanation of the graphic process and the choice of the typos)

www.eyrolles.com/Audiovisuel/L… (french)

www.amazon.com/Type-Work-Use-E… (english)
The title is a bit different in English so maybe it’s not the same, but it’s the only one I found in English

And one book recommended by lonnietaylor
MTIV: Process, Inspiration and Practice for the New Media Designer by Hillman Curtis
www.amazon.com/MTIV-Process-In… (in english)

If you live in Paris or the surrounding area I advise you to visit a very good bookshop for graphics and art.

Librairie La Hune
170 bd St Germain 75006.
© 2007 - 2021 cybergranny
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drop-asd's avatar
This fantastic news article has been included in Typographysical Appearance, a news article submitted on behalf of #Digiversity. If you have time, stop by, it's a very diverse compilation and I'm sure you'd find something to suit your taste. :aww:
cybergranny's avatar
Oh that's cool, and great newsarticle about typography, very useful and with a lot of resources
drop-asd's avatar
I am very glad you like it and find it useful. :iconbummiesplz:
hiharry's avatar
typography is awesome...
if you know how to use it... of course
its a really nice way to express
i love it...
tnx for this article...
it's really great...
tnx for all the help
StephanusEmbricanus's avatar
At the list of people having influence to todays typography I miss the post moderns like Neville Brody and David Carson. :) Ok that might be a bit heavy stuff for beginners but gives a lot of ideas.
cybergranny's avatar
Yes that's true :)
Ariochdesign's avatar
Really interesting, thanx
exchanged-stock's avatar
Scsii's avatar
So typography is like calligraphy?
cybergranny's avatar
Well yes and not , though they are both in relation with letters and words.

Calligraphy is produced through the hand with a traditional tool and will always be so I think, though some softwares can reproduce online the comportement of a pen, but I think the most part will remain traditional.

Typography was first produced by the hand, then by machines and now by computers, it's considered now rather as a digital medium than traditional. I would consider the traditional use of typography rather as drawings, but it's only me who sees that so ^^
DestinysGarden's avatar
Thanks for all the resources. I have always been intrigued by typography and letterforms. The computer age has certainly revolutioned this area and made it accesible to all, but I still recommend setting type with a letterpress if you ever get the chance. It is good to do once in your life and you will love your desktop all the more.
cybergranny's avatar
I'd like to see one in action ^^
SaMe-GFX's avatar
interesting !
SaMe-GFX's avatar
Rushy's avatar
cybergranny's avatar
wouldn't be so good without you ^^
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