O'Reilly logo

Design Elements, 2nd Edition by Timothy Samara

Stay ahead with the world's most comprehensive technology and business learning platform.

With Safari, you learn the way you learn best. Get unlimited access to videos, live online training, learning paths, books, tutorials, and more.

Start Free Trial

No credit card required

(F39)_Job:12-40337 Title:RP-Design Elements 2nd Edition
#175 Dtp:160 Page:138
128-185_40337.indd 138 12/19/13 6:40 PM 128-185_40
3
TEXT
choosing and using type
138
ISSUES RELATED TO STYLE
Style Classifications Classifying type
helps a designer grasp the subtle differ-
ences among styles, organizing them in a
general way and further helping to select
an appropriate typeface for a particular
project; sometimes, the historical or cul-
tural context of a particular style will add
relevant communication to a typographic
design. Classification is by no means easy,
however, especially as our typographic
tradition becomes increasingly self-
referential and incorporates historical for-
mal ideas into modern ones. The typeface
Meta, for example, drawn in 1994 by the
German designer Erik Spiekermann, is a
modern sans-serif face sharing character-
istics associated with oldstyle serif types:
contrast in the stroke weights, modulation
of weight within major strokes, an oblique
axis, and a bowl-formed lowercase g. A
number of systems for classifying type
have been developed during the past
several decades. Today, as then, these
classifications often change—but a few
basic categories remain constant.
Oldstyle Characterized by
organic contrast of weight in
the strokes—from brush or pen
drawing; an angled, or oblique,
axis in the curved forms; and
a notably small x-height defining
the lowercase letters. The termi-
nals are pear-shaped and the
apertures in the lowercase
letters are small.
Transitional
These types show
an evolution in structure. Stroke
contrast is greatly increased and
more rationally applied—its
rhythm is greatly pronounced.
The x-height of the lowercase is
larger; the axis is more upright;
and the serifs are sharper and
more defined, their brackets
curving quickly into the stems.
Modern
Stroke contrast is
extreme—the thin strokes
are reduced to hairlines, and
the thick strokes made bolder.
The axis of the curved forms
is completely upright, and the
brackets connecting the serifs to
the stems have been removed,
creating a stark and elegant
juncture. The serifs in a number
of the lowercase characters have
become completely rounded,
reflecting the logic of contrast
and circularity.
Sans Serif
These typefaces
are an outgrowth of “display
types” of the nineteenth century,
designed to be bold and stripped
of nonessential details. They are
defined by a lack of serifs; the
terminals end sharply without
adornment. Their stroke weight
is uniform, and their axis is
completely upright. Sans-serif
types set tighter in text and are
legible at small sizes; during the
past fifty years, they have become
acceptable for extended reading.
Slab Serif
Another outgrowth
of display types, slab serif faces
hybridize the bold presentation
of a sans serif and the horizontal
stress of a serif face, character-
ized by an overall consistency in
stroke weight. The serifs are the
same weight as the stems, hence,
“slabs;” the body of the slab
serif is often wider than what
is considered normal.
Serif details
>>
Leg and joint shapes
Terminals
Curve axis
X-Heights
(F39)_Job:12-40337 Title:RP-Design Elements 2nd Edition
#175 Dtp:160 Page:138
128-185_40337.indd 138 12/19/13 7:59 PM
139
Gra
p
expe
of th
e
quali
cond
text.
spec
i
fanc
y
by h
a
crati
c
or co
128-185_C
7
t
ion
138
9/13 6:40 PM
(F39)_Job:12-40337 Title:RP-Design Elements 2nd Edition
#175 Dtp:160 Page:139
128-185_40337.indd 139 12/19/13 6:40 PM
t
h
es
o
n
n
tal
e
r-
y
in
t
he
e
nce,
t
t
ion
138
9/13 7:59 PM
TEXT
design elements
139
The iconic bird drawing,
which refers to a specific time
and place, has its very own
language of line and mass. The
inline capitals used for the page
title echo these linear qualities,
but they also are classical capi-
tals with their own history. The
supporting text is a sans serif
with similar width proportions
as the capitals, but it contrasts
their thins and thicks with a
uniform weight that is clearly
modern.
VOICE AUSTRALIA
A combination of Victorian wood types emphasizes the
visual contrasts of weight, width, mass, and line.
LOUISE FILI LTD. UNITED STATES
Stylistic differences in a selection of typefaces give
voice to the varied writing styles of Irish authors in
this festival program.
STUDIO AAD IRELAND
Graphic These typefaces are the
experimental, decorative children
of the display types. Their visual
qualities are expressive but not
conducive to reading in a long
text. This category includes
specimens such as script faces,
fancy and complex faces inspired
by handwriting, and idiosyn-
cratic faces that are illustrative
or conceptual.
(F39)_Job:12-40337 Title:RP-Design Elements 2nd Edition
01-AC70319 #175 Dtp:160 Page:139
128-185_C70319.indd 139 1/14/14 5:21 PM

With Safari, you learn the way you learn best. Get unlimited access to videos, live online training, learning paths, books, interactive tutorials, and more.

Start Free Trial

No credit card required