Help with Typography

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Help with Typography

Postby xepher » Thu May 27, 2010 5:01 pm UTC

If this isn't the right spot, someone move this thread or something. Although since typography is pretty much considered an art, I think it should be here.

I'm a high school student, and I was thinking of joining some clubs next year to help my college application (of course, it's also because I want to, as well). I have been quite interested in typography for quite a bit, so I want to try to integrate that interest with the club. Seeing as there's no typography club and I'm a bit too lazy to apply for one, I decided that maybe I can join the Yearbook commitee next year as a typographer. They don't have one, so I think it would be a nice addition.
Now onto the questions.
I'm not sure if the yearbook team would feel like they'd need a typographer. Well, yeah, they don't really need one, but it would look better with one. How can I convince them that the yearbook would benefit from having a typographer? Are there any ways to compare a normal document side-by-side with one created by a typographer?
Secondly, although I really am interested in typography, I feel as if I only know the basics. By basics, I mean concepts like asking yourself "What impression do I want to give the reader?", making sure the font actually is suited for the audience reading it (such as no comic sans on business papers), and a general understanding of the serif vs. sans serif debate (Imo, I choose sans for more "modern" looks and serif for more printed kinds of work). So, I'm wondering where I can learn more. What recommended reading is there on the subject? How do I choose the kerning, leading, etc?

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Re: Help with Typography

Postby EvilDuckie » Fri May 28, 2010 2:49 pm UTC

You may know of this already: I Love Typography blog. I read it from time to time, basically for the same reason as you.

Aside from that I have little advice to offer you I'm afraid. I do have an interest in typography, but since my job (the main reason behind that interest) rarely involves large paragraphs of text I kinda only need a subset of typography.

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Re: Help with Typography

Postby weex » Sat May 29, 2010 6:30 am UTC

Since you're early in your typography career(and even if you weren't) I would recommend you go for it and then view your task as a research project. Spend time finding interesting typography and adapting it to the yearbook rather than trying to creatively think-up new techniques. This lets you learn from the masters and develop your eye, while getting more of an intuitive feel for the work. Chances are you'll find some neat stuff, adapt it, and look like a genius.

Disclaimer: The most I know about typography is that some neat videos exist on Youtube using it for cool movie scenes. The guiding principle here is, 99% of design is research and adaptation, not some ethereal creative act.
Salvador Dali wrote:Those who do not want to imitate anything, produce nothing.

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Re: Help with Typography

Postby jmrz » Sat May 29, 2010 9:25 am UTC

Ahhh, Typography. I'm studying graphic design, and have been taking a course on Typography this semester. Basically, if you want to be a decent designer, you need to know and understand type. If you have a passion for it, great!

Kerning and leading and things like that are something that you really need to understand. The best thing to do is open up Illustrator and just play with type. Experiment with huge chunks of texts - learn how to justify text properly (so you don't have rivers (huge white spaces running through your paragraphs) and widows (singular words left hanging on a new line at the end of a paragraph)).

Go to your local library and find a book or two on type, read them, get an idea for how things work on a printed page. Books, in some cases, can be more useful than information you can find on the web.

Have a go at researching type classifications. Know what they are and in what occasions they should be used for. Start looking at design blogs - smashingmagazine is great and there are some fantastic type foundries that have their work online. is great, because they show you examples (in most cases) of what the font is used for, just keep looking at stuff, take note of what works and what doesn't and try it yourself.
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Re: Help with Typography

Postby Jacque » Sat May 29, 2010 9:00 pm UTC

Some good books on typography:

Ellen Lupton's Thinking with Type: A Critical Guide for Designers, Writers, Editors, & Students - This has good visuals and is a pretty good basic book about typography.

Robert Bringhurst's The Elements of Typographic Style - Very in-depth, text-heavy, nice little illustrations. This book will explain just about every bit of typography you'll have a question about.

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