Find as many examples of type as you can from a range of sources, including newspapers, magazines, flyers, leaflets and printed ephemera. Broadly classify them into serif and sans-serif groups. Explore your computer to see whether you have any of the typefaces mentioned on the previous page. Find other examples on your computer that relate to these classifications. Print these off and begin to create a collection of type samples.
Consider and reflect on the nature of the type you are collecting. Examine and annotate printouts with your own impressions of the letterforms. Use descriptive words that express something of the form and character of the typeface.
Trace some interesting, unusual and everyday letterforms onto clean paper. This will help you to understand the distribution of weight of line within a particular letterform.
over the tracing to enhance the line and fill in the letterform with an even dark grey tone – HB pencil is fine – to recreate the impression of print.
Document and present
Collate the printouts, traced letterforms and samples of type you have gathered.
Consider how these could be inventively integrated into your learning log, or whether to create an independent book of type samples.
I started to develop this project as an A3 sketchbook rather mechanically going through the different typefaces in Microsoft, Adobe and my iPad – noticing that they all had very different typefaces. However since I began that study two years ago the numbers of typefaces have changed so radically – many older typefaces I had worked with were no longer available.This is partly as copyright and intellectual property enforcement has forced payment for some typefaces. Then the increasing use of typeface design software has made many of the older classifications outdated.
I also collected magazines and ephemera and traced the letterforms and tried to identify them using type identification websites like identifont. However many of the typefaces had been specially designed and could not be identified in this way.
It was however very interesting to think about the different effects of the differences in structure between the different typefaces.
In the end I decided to develop pages digitally on-line so they could be more easily updated. The following pages were compiled, but could be much more developed as design pieces:
See pages of Typefaces Sketchbook: TypefaceSketchbook_2016Feb
I continued my study of typefaces as part of Assignment 5 ‘A is for…’ looking instead from the perspective of variants on each letter using Adobe Illustrator:
As part of that project I also experimented with how far I could push particular letterforms before they started to become illegible.