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The Anatomy of Type

Individual letter forms have unique parts which have changed in visual form over the centuries. A nomenclature helps identify major elements of their construction. The evolution of lettering styles over time is a result of optical adjustments to the basic components by type designers over the ages.

Capline Meanline X-Height

















Anatomy of Type Overlap

This difference between fonts for the designer means that they should take extra care and consideration when choosing more than one font for something. If not, the viewer may not enjoy looking at the text. When families of type are being mixed, seraph type and san sereph type should never be mixed in the same sentence/area of information. Two tributes that all type families share arethe baseline and the fact that they are all made of strokes.

Scintillating Scintillating Scintillating Scintillating

With fill Without fill

Helvetica Neue Baskerville Bodoni Gill Sans

Anatomy of Type Legibility of the Word

Anatomy of Type Legibility of the Letter

The top half of the word is more legible because of the fact that we write from top to bottom.

I became aware of the critical parts of different letters that provides just enough to recognize the letter. For example, If I covered too much of the c, it could be viewed as a c or an o. But for letters like s, i, and l, the forms are so recognizable that you could cover a bit more.

Scintillating Scintillating Scintillating

Anatomy of Type Single Letter

The way I cropped the letterform was to keep the vital elements visible. For example, the link in the lowercase g, the dot in the i and the shoulder of the n.

Anatomy of Type Cropping Studies

S g c
Anatomy of Type Counterpart and Counterpoint

Anatomy of Type Counterpart and Counterpoint

denotes counterpart relationships denotes counterpoint relationships

Anatomy of Type Counterpart and Counterpoint

When creating a visual hierarchy in typographic space, a designer balances the need for harmony, which unies a design, with the need for contrast, which lends vitality and emphasis. As in music, elements can have a counterpart or a counterpoint relationship. Typographic counterparts are elements with similar qualities that bring harmony to their spatial relationship. Elements have a counterpoint relationship when they have contrasting characteristics, such as size, weight, color, tone, or texture. Counterpoint relationships bring opposition and dissonance to the design.

Anatomy of Type Typographic Kinetics Every letter has a personality you can identify. Fragmentation is not the goal in and of itself. Everything is adjustable and its a case-by case decision of how far to
value distribution models:

go. The form you seek is one that to be able

equal spacing between examples...

to read the word. So this determines the degree of fracture. Its the part(letterform) towhole (word). Both must be juggled to value. You cant use the same element over and over just because it worked in one place. Every example should change somewhat. Because range is a persistent goal of design, you want to

4 color red only

invent in each example. Expect some noble necessary part of any assignment.

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N t Llat i

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Anatomy of Type The Structure of Letters

While upper and lower case letters are distinct in structure, they all are built by combining 4 strokes; vertical, horizontal, slanted, and curvilinear. These elementary strokes form the foundation, a visual code that is recognizable through our long experience with reading and writing regardless of style. Therefore, letter forms derive their visual character from combinations of these basic strokes and not from being light or bold, wide or narrow, Roman or italic, sans serif or serif. An entire alphabet can be categorized using only six basic underlying visual combinations of strokes as the example illustrates.











Anatomy of Type The Structure of Letters

Since the time of the Greeks, capital letterforms have consisted of the simple geomectric forms based on the square, circle, and triangle. The basic shape of each capital letterforms can be extracted from this Roman letterform template found on the Trojan Columns which is composed of a bisected square, a circle, a triangle, an inverted triangle, and two smaller circles.

Anatomy of Type Typographic Page with a Chair

Using the initials of your designer, impose the letterforms in a typographic study that interpretsa relationship to the form of the chair they designed. The goal is to discover relationships vin form and division of space. Then, using the designers name,the name of the chair, and the date of its manufacture, impose the words in a typographic study that demonstrates relationships to the chair.

Anatomy of Type Typographic Page with a Chair

Weight and Face

Size and Weight

Anatomy of Type Typographic Page with a Chair

Weight and Face

Size and Case

Anatomy of Type Typographic Page with a Chair

Size, Weight and Face

Weight and Face

Anatomy of Type Typographic Page with a Chair




Size and Tone(value)

Gerald Summers
Plywood Armchair

Size and Case


Color, Tone, Size


um m plywoo ers d armch air


Weight, Case and Color

Anatomy of Type Typographic Page with a Chair

1933 plywood armchair

Weight, Case and Color

Gerald Summers


Weight, Case and Color

Anatomy of Type Typographic Page with a Chair

Plywood Armchair 1933

Size and Slant

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m Ar

ir cha 3 193

Size and Weight

Anatomy of Type Chair Hang Tag

Type generally falls into two priliminary categories; informational and/or expressive. Its not uncommon to have a strategy for both present in layouts. Informational text is more common and the form responds to long traditions and conventions of size, spacing and established habits of organization on the page. In a book or wbsite, it is information

design that takes the lead. On a poster or motion graphic, expression could lead. The ratio is determined by the designer and the needs of the communication. An emphasis or hierarchy must be clear and decisive so each of the roles are clear. In design, things are no equal.

Gerald Summers
Plywood Armchair

In the history of industrial design, there have always been attempts to shape everyday objects in only one piece of semi-nished industrial material like rods, tubing, wire, or sheets. There is hardly a design that better illustrates the ideal unity of material, production and form than this armchair by Gerald Summers. Made from a single rectangle of ply and following a simple pattern, the seven 3

eight hours the chair was removed and required only minimal nishing. With its smooth surface and lack of metal connectors, it is hygienic and deteriorates only gradually, the chair was possibly conceived for use in the tropics. Its unusual shape probably stems from Alvar Aaltos furniture, especially the spectacular Paimio chair, which was shown in London in 1933. In his own company,

In pure design, we expect each part and member to pull its full weight in making the design suitable for its purpose. That is to say (taking a hypothetical case), if we use a brace only to strengthen two members, the design is bad.
mm thick sheets were placed on top of each other, sandwiched with glue and laid in the mold. Summers separated the back legs from the back and armrests and bent the segments thus created in different directions. The result was an organically shaped armchair, comfortable even without cushions, involving low material and labor inputs. After only
Makers of Simple

Gerald Summers

plywood armchair

Furniture, Ltd. (founded in 1929) Summers produced only 120 units of the chair. Despite the constructive advantages, the production costs of the chair and thus the sales price were higher than the designs of the popular Scandinavian. It was certainly also a disadvantage that the back legs could not withstand great stress and snapped easily.

Anatomy of Type Chair Hang Tag

er memb art and each p sign suitable t c e p de cal e ex ing the potheti ign, w re des eight in mak (taking a hy two In pu en ll w say th fu g to n s e is it to str to pull rpose. That ce only pu e a bra . for its we us sign is bad if ), e cas e de ers, th memb
ember and m ble h part ct eac gn suita ical e expe ing the desi w , th n g po et i re des eight in mak (taking a hy two In pu y w is to sa to strengthen its full to pull rpose. That ly on e pu e a brac . for its if we us sign is bad de case ), rs, the membe

l industria tory of s been In the his re have alway the day design, e every ap sh to of e piece attempts on ly terial in on trial ma objects us ind ts. ished or shee semi-n , wire, t s, tubing sign tha like rod de a y ity hardl ideal un There is the s m illustrate ction and for better du ial, pro rald of mater air by Ge gle s armch m a sin than thi ade fro ers. M lowing fol d Summ of ply an ven 3 rectangle ttern, the se on pa placed a simple ts were ck shee wiched mm thi er, sand mold. each oth of the in top ck and laid e ba glu the with rated ers sepa Summ

l industria been story of always In the hi ere have eryday th , gn desi ape ev sh to of s e attempt one piec aterial in only lm objects industria sheets. nished ire, or w semi- , ng , tubi that like rods rdly a design ity ha ideal un There is es the rm illustrat n and fo tio better uc l, prod d ia al er er at G r by of m ai ch m is ar a single than th ade from wing ers. M Summ and follo y pl of e ven 3 rectangl n, the se on e patter placed a simpl ts were ee d sh k ic ndwiche mm th other, sa e mold. s of each st th re p m in and ar to d laid back e back thus ith glue an m the ents rated th ns. legs fro the segm rectiow nt di ers sepa lly mm and be in different ganica Su
d or ble create lt was an mforta su air, co , involving The re armch ions . shaped out cush inputs with d labor e chair even an aterial urs th low m ly eight ho d only quire on and re After ed mov was re nishing. al minim and surface it is , ooth its sm connectors With only rates metal lack of and deterio as possibly ic w . hygien , the chair tropics lly in the s gradua d for use ly stem ve probab concei ual shape us Its un

sts armre k and e bac nts thus om th , gme re ns. rnitu se legs fr io e s fu ct th e lto Aa enttacular t dir Alvar bsp ec feren from and if ically as w lly the ew in chd dhi his organ especiacr . In an air, eat 33as 19 io ch on inlt rtable w mple Paim comfo volving Lo resu ers of Siai r, end ) n inh 29 ch 19 show T pany, Mak m d in ar ns, in de d un com ape 0 shio own sh d. (fo 12 cu ly t puts. on re, Lt ou ith e labor in uced w th Furnitu s prn od ite d er chair eve . Desp an e Summ the chair rs the aterial es, th ho m of and u t vantag ig h air units low ad d only ch e ctive o the ly quire of er re sn gh r st d constru ft hi e co e er d an A n price o w tio ve lar produc salesre m th e popu g. the as in h ly in thus wdesigns of n is rta the was ce the im Ital than m inn. that navia e and Scandi sadvantage ithstand surfac is di t w ooth sily. also a uld no ors, it s sm ped ea it legs co nnect s only ith d snap back Wss co an l ta stre rate f me ly great eterio lack o possib and d as ic w n r s. hygie e chai tropic ally, th use in the ms e st gradu r ly obab ived fo pr ce e n co shap usual Its un

iture, s furn r Aalto ula Alvar ectac from the sp ich was ly al ci h is espe . In h air, w io ch on in 1933 imple d Paim n fS o ers o n in L ak w 29) o M 9 sh any, d in 1 comp unde 0 own td. (fo nly 12 ure, L ced o e the u d Furnit ro ers p espit Summ the chair. D es, the of ntag and units e adva chair ructiv sts of the r const highe co ion were ct u ce d ri lar p pro les popu the sa gns of the nly thus ai si rt e d as ce the than n. It w that the inavia ge Scand vanta stand disad t with asily. also a s could no ped e leg d snap back an ress st at gre

Gerald Summers

Plywood Armchair

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