Typography Research

Typography / Typeface / Font

Although we have not studied typography yet in lessons it is a element of the design process that I feel I need to research because it is so important to get it right. Because there are so many different fonts out there I feel its easy to be over whelmed with choice.


In typography, a typeface (also known as font family) is a set of characters that share common design features. A single typeface is represented by a specific weight, style, condensation, width, slant, italicization, ornamentation, and designer or foundry, but not by size. 

 There are thousands of different typefaces in existence, with new ones being developed constantly.

The art and craft of designing typefaces is called type design. Designers of typefaces are called type designers. In digital typography, type designers are sometimes also called font developers or font designers.

Every typeface is a collection of glyphs, each of which represents an individual letter, number, punctuation mark, or other symbol. 

The term typeface is frequently confused with the term font. Before the advent of digital typography and desktop publishing, the two terms had more clearly understood meanings. – from Wikipedia


I have found a website which is called Thinking With Type and it has a page called ‘Type: A Few Good Fonts’, it gives examples of some classic fonts and a mini history about it and who designed it and in what year, also some of the influences behind it. Here they arethinking with type examples of font and mini history behind each onethinking with type examples of font and mini history behind each onethinking with type examples of font and mini history behind each one


So this collection gives a great variety of old ones, dating back to the 1700s John Baskerville designed Baskerville, and some newer examples are shown such as Matthew Carters Verdana in 1996. My personal favourite is Neutraface which is modern but is based on a type that was originally designed in the 1940s/50s by architect Richard Neutra. The 1940’s and 50’s are particularly influential to me, I find a lot of things from that era that is very inspirational and its design; weather from interior, exterior, graphic, or photography always catches my eye and stands out to me as very original work.

So type is used in everything we see and do, and I found a great example of how different typeface’s are used in film. Although until now I have never taken notice of what typeface is used in film, this shows a variety of some. A whole website has been created dedicated to ‘the end’ title screen of Warner Bros films. See the website here. This particular selection is gallery of the end titles from Warner Bros. movies (1924-1967), collated by designer Christian Annyasthe end titles warner bros


So some of the examples here are quite standard, in fact Warner Bros used the same design and typeface for many films in the beginning (1918 was their first film), as seen on the website link, but then in the 1920’s they started designing new ones to go with each individual film. Here two examples stand out to me, the middle one and the bottom left one, clearly a western cowboy film, it is harder to work out what the other film is just from this film still of its end titles but what I like most is how the lettering is isometrically positioned to suit what is in the picture. This really makes the titles ‘fit’ into the film.

I also came across this periodic table of typeface, which is a beautiful way to display them. It is taken from the first page of a book called Just My Type: A Book About Fonts which is a light-hearted collection of stories about fonts that is aimed at non-designers. See the feature here.

just my type example


The book asks questions such as Can a font make me popular? It then goes on to show the cover of GQ magazine featuring Barak Obama and says

“Typefaces are now 560 years old. So when a Brit called Matthew Carter constructed the now-ubiquitous Verdana on his computer in the 1990s, what could he possibly be doing to an A and a B that had never been done before? And how did a friend of his make the typeface Gotham, which eased Barack Obama into the Presidency? And what exactly makes a font presidential or American, or British, French German, Swiss or Jewish?”

Here is another excellent example of some various different typefaces for the words ‘of’ and ‘the’.

typeface design


I like this one because it starts off with the simple line drawing of the ‘of’ word, then builds up to more detailed and fuller designs of the word ‘the’ which then leads on  to the word with some decorative embellishment around it giving it more of a punch and makes it stand out. The next image is just something fun I found which shows real typeface printing blocks that vary  in shape and size.

letterpress exclusive faces example

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