Monday, March 2, 2015

Real-Life Typography

We’ve spent a lot of time in our design classes critiquing our own designs and those of others. Fortunately we usually know the context… the background of the work and the specific design brief that was (or was not) being followed.

We’re developing skills and a knowledge base for our continued growth as designers. Generally, though, the user (or viewer) of our work as designers won’t be interested in the skill with which we have met our constraints. Does the use of contrast or proximity really mean anything to the reader of a newsletter? Does any viewer ever consider the hierarchical level of the type on a poster? Does anyone even see the relationships between shots when viewing a video (for there is, indeed, such a thing as proximity in time)?

“For the designer,” Norman Potter wrote, “good design is the generous and pertinent response to the full context of a design opportunity, whether large or small, and the quality of the outcome resides in a close…correspondence between form and meaning.”

Architect Louis Sullivan expressed the thought in simpler terms: “form ever follows function. This is the law.”

But whether in building a skyscraper or in designing a business card, is detail really all that important? In a market economy world of fast food, designer knockoffs, and discount stores, could the time put into a design be worth the effort?

What have you learned in Typography that is truly useful to you in your career? Will it really matter if your designs follow a grid? If you are (correctly) choosing an Old Style typeface instead of a slab serif?

Provide a couple of examples of what you think really might of use to you (and your fellow students) in your careers…and what seems to be less than useful. In your reply to at least one of your peers, either offer a counterpoint or suggest an area that you think will be even more important as you develop.

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