• PrintMag

Typographic Entanglements and Letterform Design

Unless you’re a designer living under a rock (and, really, even then) you’ve probably noticed that type is all around us. It directs us to the correct highway exit. It informs us of the items on sale at Kroger. It seduces us into picking up our next great read. It assaults us when we make our computer angry. Pretty, ugly, forgettable, show-stopping, typography demands our attention at every turn. For this exact reason, letterform design becomes essential. It’s both an art form and an inevitability.

The different typefaces applied to the same words elicit varying emotional responses.

While it’s impossible to avoid type, not every letterform evokes an emotional response. Similarly, most typographic decisions aren’t made with the intention of crafting a visual concept. Readability is often king, but there’s room for playfulness, too. A relevant example of a design medium that has undergone a host of typographic experiments is the infographic. A carefully crafted letterform design can do wonders for infographics, particularly the ones created to make dry statistics on dull topics more palatable.

To Kill a Mockingbird as depicted by Nicholas Stover

Getting type to speak to an audience using the right emotional energy is a learned skill. It takes practice. Achieving a mastery of letterforms is hard work, but making informed typographic decisions gives you the opportunity to create designs that leave people crying. And we mean that as a good thing…

If you’re ready to consider the letterform, you might as well learn from the master. Typography guru Denise Bosler wrote the book on mastering type (called Mastering Type), and by taking her Advanced Typography class, you’ll learn to do it, too. The next session begins June 2, so sign up before the spots are taken by your design competition.

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