Archive for February, 2010

Typeface Design Experiments

February 11, 2010

Interview Conclusions

February 11, 2010

After my interviews with Ray and Mark I also attended a master class with Jonathan Barnbrook, I posed the same questions to him that I have previously asked typeface designers and what I extracted from this time with him is that good typeface design much like any other design practice must be thoroughly researched and have some kind of contextual referencing either to historical design or contemporary influences. One continuous theme that has been resonating throughout my research and that is the philosophy of the typeface I want to generate, Barnbrook insisted that this philosophy should resonate the time-scale of the typeface and that redesign as all part of the process to be enable oneself to continually produce designs that are desirable.

This in some way intertwines with what Simonson was stating when he told me in my interview with him.

“People are social creatures. We have a natural tendency to imitate one another”

This is also reiterated by his design of the typeface Mostra which resonates Italian Art deco styles from he early 20th century as the design is a modern interpretation of this movement. From his research into historical styles Simonson has ultimately produced a typeface with historical context that has a contemporary essence to it, highlighting Barnbrook’s statement from his masterclass;

“Re-design is part of the process to keep graphics desirable”

This poses somewhat of a problem for me as I now have another factor to consider when producing my designs, not only have I set myself the task of producing designs that are conceptual and practical at the same time, but now I also need to consider whether I need to bring in some kind of historical reference to a particular art or design ideal to ensure that I produce a design that is desirable.

Parallel  to these interviews I have also done some research into certain font foundries to identify what it is that drives them to produce certain typefaces and identify what purpose it is these designs serve. One example I would like to highlight is a typeface named Sentinel from Hoefler Frere-Jones, a typeface with historical referencing to traditional slab serif design which was designed to remedy the inconsistencies  typical of traditional slab serif styles which historically have always been quirky and eccentric to be deliberately eye catching. Hoefler Frere-Jones saw this as an area to be addressed and therefroe developed Sentinel in a variety of weights and styles including italic, something which is not often attempted in slab serif typefaces. What Hoefler Frere-Jones have done here is identify an aspect of typeface design history which could be addressed and generated a typeface to remedy the design problem that they had created. 

Although Sentinel is not so much a conceptual typeface, it was still created to solve a design problem which gives it in my mind a better belonging.

I do believe the next typeface I am about to talk about is a conceptual piece of work, the design takes inspiration from the apollo moon landings, which istantly gives it an interesting concept behind it. The final design came in various weights which maintain the astro-concept in that they where named from Four G to Zero G, a concept inspired by the speeds the space shuttles travelled at. The typeface, created by GBH was designed for Virgin Galactic to use as part of their brand identity and the lunar theme is prevelant within the design  with the concept at the forefront of every aspect of the design much alike to Oded Ezer’s who establishes a theme and brings that theme into every aspect of his design process.