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Projects with a… strong character

November 4, 2011

Most of the power of graphic design comes from balance – or the lack of it – between two fundamental elements: images and text.
As long as we stay in the visual field, almost evyone understand what power to communicate have images – we all know the saying “a picture is worth a thousand words”…

The power of text – as a graphic element – more often, is not understood by everyone, not too mention the even fewer that are actually able to appreciate it at its full.
Designers themselves, especially if they form in the digital age, find little interest for the role that text plays on a page, on a poster, in a brochure or on the screen.

Computers got us used to have access to somewhat like a hundred of typefaces – fonts – just a click away. I open a menu and I can chose from a an endless list of fonts… Nothing is faster, easier. Quite easy, I’d say.

Many graphic designers think of typography as a secondary element while designing.

Type foundries create new typefaces almost everyday and the web make them accessible in dozen. The times when designers such as Frutiger and Lubalin or Moser sat at their desk to design their immortal typefaces are gone.
Nowadays few designer actually bother to know the history behind a typeface family… Even because most of the times there is none.

I see as we all have become a sort of sommelier with a bad nose and the result is right there under everyone’s eyes, and our advertising campaigns, our brochures and our posters show their limits.

We go for safer solutions or for solutions that follow the current trend and we end up with adding a another project on top of the pile of those that won’t remarkable or memorable..

I am speaking to the fellow-designers – they have a,l the tools to feed their passion for typography, if they only want – I’d love to think that I am talking to potential purchasers of creativity and I’d love to think that I am somehow help them to enter the world of typefaces and give them some new tool to find their way around the typography fine world and, why not, push us to do better.
Don’t panic, it’s not going to be a lesson…

First of all a humble suggestion. Look for sinthesys.
If you are commissioning a brochure to promote your company and you wrote the text a that we designers use to call copy – look for synthesis. Don”t ask the agency to fit your copy into few pages, when you wrote a whole book, and do go crazy if the designers are compelled to cut the wordy text.
Text is fundamental but only of your readers actually read it. Otherwise it is only wasted ink – and wasted time,
Please try to remember, people don’t like to read. And they do it only when captured by what they read.

Before getting into the details of typography – that I will do in the next posts, let’s think of our text as WHOLE. How does my text look on my page? How much room? What is the relationship among the different elements? Do you find harmony? Is there balance?

Observe the project with a certain detachment and isolate the elements, stripping off their meaning and treating them as sheer graphic element .

I believe this is an excellent exercise and few client do it.
it’s an exercise that allows the eye to catch the harmony and the rythm of fills and voids.
Do this with a brochure page or with and advertising campaign, with an invitation card or with a poster.
Train your gaze! I am certain that you will soon begin to look at graphic design projects with a different approach.


From → Typography

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