Typeface: The Design or Interpretation of Characters - Essay Example

Thomas Whimsies Instructor Mary Serenest 3819-WA 26 November 2013 Design History: Typefaces of the 20th Century A typeface Is the design or interpretation of characters; It Is the way the type looks. There are many different styles of typefaces floating around, and each of them have different twist or interpretation to them; thus making them different and special. A commonly mistaken term is typeface, and it’s frequently confused with the term font or used as Its synonym.

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Before the digital revolution (with digital typography & stoop publishing) the two terms had a more clearly understood meaning, but since that time the two have been almost molded together. “The art and craft of designing typefaces is called type design. Designers of typefaces are called type designers, and often typographers. In digital typography, type designers are also known as font developers or font designers. Refer to the list of typographers of notable typographers around the world. ” (Wisped).

Typefaces really took off when a group of individuals got together and formed the Art Workers Guild in 1884. As a group they ought out the quality of type and it’s arrangement, that productions might have ‘ a definitive claim to beauty’ while being ‘easy to read’. When designers set out to design different typefaces they have to look at the readability and legibility of their design because those to factors are key in making a great and widely used typeface. Legibility is a key factor for designers, ensures that each individual character is distinguishable from the characters In the font they are creating.

As for readability, It is mostly the concern of the typographer or information designer, and is the result of he complete process of presentation of textual material. Now with this short background on the history of typefaces, and what goes into making one, and the difference between typefaces and fonts. I feel there are a select few that stand out, and really hold a place In the history of typefaces. These typefaces all happen to have been designed in the 20th century. One of the typefaces that I feel has a stronghold on the history of the 20th century Is Courier. Howard Kettles designed this font In 1955 In New York, USA for IBM.

Everyone recognizes it as the face originally designed for use on typewriters. A typical characteristic of older typewriters is that all characters are given the same amount of even though it is much thinner. This principle defined the look of Courier font. A line in this typeface has “holes” in what would otherwise be a homogeneous look. Due to its origins, Courier is often associated with office and telegram-like text, as well as “top secret” or government-classified documents. Typewriters have all but disappeared from the office and the practical need for such a typeface with them.

Nevertheless, the attractive imperfections of Courier have long been appreciated for heir usefulness in design applications. It is therefore often seen in advertisements, especially when the subject deals with messages, telegrams, etc. To this day Howard Settler’s Courier typeface is considered one of the most widely used typefaces of the last 50 years. From typewriters to handwriting, Mistral was the first typeface that attempted at rendering an informal script into a font we could use in our everyday lives. The typeface designed in 1953 by Roger Coffin of Marseilles, France.

In 1947 Roger formed his own advertising agency and concurrently became design director of a mall foundry in Marseille called Fonder Olive. Later Roger co-founded the prestigious Studio 13+0. Beside the typeface of Mistral, his advertising agency, and co-finding Studio 13+0 Roger is also known for the typeface Antique Olive. It was designed by Roger in 1962 and is famous for being the first typeface designed specifically for an airline. Antique Olive is a sans serif and was designed in four weights with italics, and later compact/condensed versions where released later.

Computers, all the typefaces covered so fair where designed for us to read and for advertising use, but never had one been made for humans and computers. Well, in 1966 a man by the mane of Adrian Fruitier from Paris, France designed the typeface OCCUR-A that used simple, thick strokes to form recognizable characters. This typeface became world’s first machine-readable typeface (OCCUR stands for Optical Character Recognition) because in early days of computers there wasn’t a font that both computers and humans could read. It was standardized by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), and designed to strict mathematical criteria.

Its designer Adrian Fruitier continues to influence the direction of digital typography, but he is known more for creating the typefaces of Universe and Fruitier then OCCUR-A. Universe was released by Adrian in 1958, and was the first typeface at the time to be created with a related series at the start; unlike most typefaces where other forms of the fonts where added later. Fruitier was released in 1975, and was named after the designer himself. It was originally available as only a sans serif, but it was later expanded to include ornamental and serif typefaces.

Next comes the star of the show, the big cheese if you will, it is the most widely- seed sans serif type, and for Mac SOX users its their default font in the Textured application; it is indeed the typeface of Helvetica. “This is the typeface designed to show no emotion… ” (Erik Spinnaker’s); later this font was extended into a font family of about 50 variants by the addition of extra weights and styles. Some popular venerations of Helvetica have been Helvetica Light, Helvetica Compressed, Helvetica Helvetica (1983,) Nine Helvetica WI G (2009), Helvetica World, and Nine Has Grottoes (2010).