How Yesterday’s Type Has Inspired Todays Styles

In todays modern world the term ‘typography’ is used very loosly and you could argue that, since the digital age, typogrophy is no longer a specialized occupation. Furthermore, it is performed by anyone who arranges type such as comic book designers, graffiti artists, art directors, clerical workers and graphic designers. There are many instances where the modern typography we use today was inspired by old styles. In this article we will take a look at how yesterdays type has inspired todays styles.

Initial

The large letter that is often seen at the beginning of a chapter or paragraph in printed publications such as novels and newspapers is referred to as the ‘Initial’. The name initial comes from the latin initialis which means ‘standing at the beginning’.

Going back to the very early history of printing the initial would be added to a manuscript or text by a scribe or minature painter annd not by the typesetter; The typesetters just left the necessary space so the Initial could be added later.

There are several different types of Initial, the first type is the one you will normally see on a computer, sat on the baseline and flush with the left margin. The other type of Initial you might see in html is in the left margin with the text to the right and indented.

The last, and probably the most common, type of initial seen in newspapers, magazines and novels is the drop cap, where it runs several lines deep with the text wrapped around so the left and top margins are all flush.

Old Style Typefaces

Often reffered to as Humanist, the ‘old style’ typefaces are inspired by the hand lettering of scribes before the modern typefaces we’re introduced; The very first old style fonts we’re produced in the early 1500’s.

The thick to thin transitions that can be seen in the old style typefaces highlights its relation to calligraphy and they look very much like they have been drawn with pen and ink. If you we’re to draw a line between the thinnest parts of the character you can see that ‘the stress’ is always diagonal and the serifs on old style fonts are very angled.

Old style fonts are generally best suited to pages with lots of body text on as they are very easy on the eye and are often found in magazines, newspapers and books. One of the most common used sans-serif old style fonts used in the web today is ‘Times New Roman’.

Modern Style Typefaces

The modern style typefacesare often referred to as ‘Didone’ and despite the name ‘modern’ it is not a new typeface. Going back to the eighteenth century when new advanced printing methods came to to light and when the paper qualkity drastically improved there we’re changes in how typefaces we’re created.

Compared to the old style typefaces the Didone have thin and very long horrizontal serifs, the stress is vertical rather than diagonal and the thick and thin transitions syle is much more clear cut and a dramatic difference compared with old style typefaces.

These fonts can be very eye catching when used in large sizes and are not suited to pages with lots of body text due to their thick lines becoming too powerful and the thin parts been nion impossible to see. The modern style fonts are best suited to titles, headings and sub-headings and common ones you will see on the web today are Didot, Onyx and Times Bold.

This article was produced on behalf of PrinterInks – suppliers of printer cartridges, toners and stationary services throughout the UK and Europe.

 

Brian E. Young is a graphic designer and artist in Baltimore, MD.

Tips for Designing an Annual Report

The annual report is an important communication between a company and its shareholders. Typically the report discusses the progress of the business and instills confidence in its investors and officers. Because this is a crucial publication it is vital that the annual report inspires optimism in its future.

Design Showpiece

For many companies, the annual report is a design showpiece. Even if your company has experienced some difficult economic times, don’t cut costs in producing the annual report. Take the time and money necessary to describe what the company has accomplished during the year, and let the quality of the production reflect the success of the business. Since the annual report is a once a year publication, use all the company resources to make it reflect excellence.

Appropriate Look

Make sure the overall look of the annual report reflects the nature of the company. A law office annual report looks much different from a bakery franchise annual report. An upscale and conservative business such as a finance or mortgage company needs to have an annual report that uses a professional and high-end design.

Professional Branding

Utilize the logo and branding colors of the company or business throughout the annual report design. Consistent use of branding elements in company publications inspires confidence and helps to build the reputation of the business.

Make it Personal

Consider using photographs of employees and officers in the annual report. Using real people in this vital publication instills a sense of personal investment in the company and makes the annual report more believable. Think about hiring a professional photographer to take pictures of employees in their work environment rather than standard head shots. Further illustrate the success of the company in the annual report using appropriate and meaningful charts and graphs.

Balance the Content

The ideal annual report design utilizes a balanced amount of images and text. Use words as well as images to convey how far your company has come in one year. Consider hiring a professional copywriter who understands how to work with a designer to make the annual report worthy of attention and respect.

Paper Matters

Choose paper and cover stock that helps to describe the business. Select a heavier paper card stock for the cover of the annual report in a color that reinforces the graphic identity of the business. Make sure the interior paper compliments the cover and the design of the interior of the report.

Take the time to make the high-quality and professional annual report that investors and financiers look forward to receiving every year.

This is a guest post provided by Snap: “Looking for a professional print design company to assist with your annual report design? For those who like the flexibility of creating their own brochures and business stationery, Snap created an online web-to-print solution that’s quick and easy to use. Because at Snap, we do more.”

 

Brian E. Young is a graphic designer and artist in Baltimore, MD.

Is your graphic design work a mess?

Seeing these examples brings back memories… Clean Up Your Mess is a site that explains the most universal principle rules for design out there. Sure, what really makes great design has changed with fashion and fads. These rules are timelesss, however.  They can be broken. Often it’s not worth the risk and more times than not fails.

I remember working as a newspaper ad designer over four years ago. The sales and design staff were totally separate. The sales staff was put into the position to care only about making their commission. It didn’t matter if the retailers who bought ads had a successful ad. One that had impact. Designers weren’t given the access to make recommendations.  So usually the ads requested by the sales staff and retailers were listings and heads. Way too much content. Oh, and it all had to “stand out”.  Put this in a burst? Put this in a box? More typefaces please? If only there was a way to get them to clean up the mess.

Clean Up Your Mess, A guide to visual design for everyone (visualmess.com), discovered via Lifehacker

Brian E. Young is a graphic designer and artist in Baltimore, MD.

Want to be in the next inspiration and artist profile post?

This is a new upcoming feature on my blog. Every once in a while I’ll post a round up of the best in typography, design, painting and illustration.  How do you get featured?  Just join my new flickr group, Uncanny Creativity and add your artwork. Make sure you tag it appropriately. 

You can also go there to talk to your fellow artists and designers and discover even more work for yourself.  Tell your friends to join too!

Brian E. Young is a graphic designer and artist in Baltimore, MD.

Is Print Dead? (Infographic)

We all know the newspaper industry has been hit long before the economic downturn of 2009.  As a magazine designer for a newspaper company, I was curious about how the industry is doing as a whole: What parts of the industry have the most growth?  Where are the jobs?  Is employment falling?  How do books, magazines, and newspapers compare with “new media”?

Here are some stats showing a few of the more interesting sectors packaged with some editorial illustration. Make sure you check out the references for links to more numbers coming out of the industry.


Embed this graphic on your site:

Print isn’t dead. The classic rules of newspaper layout can also teach us about graphic designer: the best newspaper page designs have clear headlines, excellent flow, relate photos to their stories and have informative captions that add more to the related stories.

Brian E. Young is a graphic designer and artist in Baltimore, MD.