Chapter 3 Notes

1) “The typographer is to the text as the theatrical director to the script, or the musician to the score.”

Typography is a craft; it requires attention and skill. I believe one of the greatest faults a graphic designer can make is carelessness with type.

2) Form and Counterform: “To enhance their look and legibility, all-uppercase setting must always be spaced a little more loosely than normal.”

This rule is extremely helpful for me to know, especially when pairing lowercase words with uppercase.

3) Always evaluate on a case by case basis.

It is best to not expect rules to be completely universal; there will always be exceptions.

4) Type Sizes and Spacing

This portion talks about how two fonts at the same size in points may look very different in size. Furthermore, when reducing or enlarging a text size, the spacing needs to be taken into consideration as well.

5) Visual Variation: The 6 Aspects of Typeface

Breaking down typefaces into case, weight, contrast, width, posture, and style can help me to articulate what makes certain types different from others. Furthermore, in comparison to each other, certain typefaces seem more stylized than others.

6) Style Classifications

The different categories of type style would be beneficial for me to memorize. I never before new what determined whether a font was traditional or modern. I personally am drawn to sans serif fonts.

7) Combining Type Styles

Contrast between typefaces is important for creating a hierarchy. Fonts within the same family can create tension, and the weight of the stroke plays a heavy hand in how they relate to each other. However, the rule of convention is to use two different type families.

8) Alignment Logic

I had not previous realized the importance of alignment when creating large amounts of text. The designs on pg. 135 show the acute differences between center axis and justified text.

9) Typographic Color

This deals with the texture, rhythmic, and spatial qualities of type. The value as well as compactness and amount of text all contribute to the effect they have on the viewer.

10) “Design students and novices often make the mistake of ignoring the abstract visual nature of type…”

The author suggest that type and pictures should be on equal playing ground. Type is after all made up of dots and should be treated as an important part of the overall composition.

Journal Exercise 1

1) The dot.

2) The line.

3) The place and mass

4) Geometric Form

5) Organic Form

6) Surface Activity

Chapter 1 Notes

1) “I am convinced that abstract form, imagery, color, texture, and material convey meaning equal to or greater than words.” – Katherine McCoy

This quote is a true representation of the power of symbols. Throughout history there have been symbols that had a profound impact, and many that still continue to do so today. They can even be more powerful than words, in the same way a hug could convey something that words cannot. They are a form of non-verbal communication.

2) The concept of format

Looking at the pictures on pages 34-35, it is evident how crucial the format(horizontal or vertical, small or large) is to the subject, and the forms that are being portrayed.

3) The optical illusion.

The set of circles, squares and triangles on pg. 40 really played a trick on my brain. I did not realize how different the eye may perceive things that are mathematically or symmetrically alined, but appear to be different it shape. This goes back to rule number 15 in the introduction.

4) The dot.

I never before recognized the power and uniqueness of a dot. It is said to be, “the fundamental building block of all other forms.” I wonder if I try to recognize dots in most of the design I see if my perception of space and give and take to other forms will transform. Also, not all dots are circular! How trippy is that.

5) Each of these things is unlike the other.

I am amazed how forms can obtain and display different identities. When I look at an image, I may not realize all that each form and its positioning may be saying in contrast to other forms. Even when the identity of a form does not change, its meaning will vary depending on its placement.

6) Plane and mass.

This concept confused me until I realized that the they are essentially large dots whose shape and outline are a crucial part of their design.

7) Geometric vs. organic form.

I have often seen designs that looked more of less like one of these two categories, yet I did not know the best way to define them. I would use terms like “earthy” or more “shapely” instead of these correct terms. Now I feel like I have the correct terminology when describing my own design choices or ideas.

8) Texture vs. Pattern

I have often confused the two of these. When referring to one, I have often called it the other. In doing so, I have neglected to recognize their important difference. Furthermore, when concerning paper stock texture for printing, there are various types that are best for certain designs, something I need to be cognizant of.

9) Proportional systems.

“Controlling the eye’s movement through, and creating harmonic relationships among, form elements… might be facilitated by creating a system or recognizable, repeated intervals to which both positive and negative elements adhere.” Pg. 72. The phrase that struck me was controlling the eyes movements….almost manipulating another eye to see what I want it to see in the order desired. Manipulation may be a harsh word, but essentially using proportion to create relationships and tension or harmony between form is important.

10) Interplay makes a message.

The logo as well as the poster on the bottom left of pg 76 struck me a interesting examples of this concept. It is clear that lines and dots, forms as well as pattern each play a role when creating an overall message. They each carry meaning and can either add or subtract to the goal of the designer. I cannot overlook the importance of each decision I make when designing.

Design Process

The following are the 10 things that stood out to me from the introduction:

1.“….to realize that design is also a commentary, opinion, a point of view, and social responsibility.” -Paul Rand

This quote reminds me that in using design, I am sending messages that reveal either my own worldview or the worldview of others. No symbol is detached from meaning and bias.

2.  Graphic design is a cousin to advertising.

This is a concept that I want to keep in mind when I am creating content. They share the goal in urging people to action, either to buy something, go somewhere, or even to feel a certain thing. Even though their ultimate purpose is different, keeping in mind the goal of selling something with my work can be beneficial.

3. Communicate- don’t decorate.

I could see myself carrying a rule like this with me into the rest of time designing. I sometimes feel the need to fill space on a poster or embellish a graphic to make it more appealing, both of which can sometimes be valid and good things to do. However, I need to keep in mind that even the “decorations” carry meaning and can be necessary.

4. Reinforce, restate, and reference.

The author mentions that each piece of a project should go together, and should reinstate the concept as well as the design elements. This will be helpful for me to remember to put the same effort and consideration into every piece of a design (poster, handout, CAF TV slide) so that I will not weaken the overall message.

5. Pick colors on purpose.

There have been colors that I have chosen in the past that were picked out of personal preference and convention, rather than careful decision. Choosing colors that are right and not just expected is something I would like to implement into my designing process.

6. Type as an image; Friendly type.

Using type as an integral element of the design rather than just as a title put on last is a rule I need to follow. However, if you cant read it or understand what it says, the purpose is defeated. It is an interesting balance.

7. Measure with your eyes.

This rule is one that I believe I have both succeeded and failed to implement in the past. Despite whether I know the images are centered, if they look off or too far to the left for my audience, I need to change it.

8. Ignore fashion.

The pressure to be with the trends and to create according to popular culture is real and powerful, especially with our age group. I have to fight the urge to get inspiration from Pinterest before starting a project.

9. Tell the format who’s boss.

I need to take charge of my design and not let things like symmetry and minimalism do my work for me.

10. Do it on purpose, or don’t do it at all.

Yes, I believe accidents work to our advantage sometimes. Like accidentally moving the layer with the pattern a little to the right when attempting to drag the type and finding that is is more visually appealing can be great. But plopping things on a page without considering what it does and not resolving the awkwardness of the form can ruin a design and leave it essentially ineffective.

(11. The layout.

I appreciated the layout of this section of the book. The designer was careful with placement of titles, numbers, and the examples. The two type families distinguished the paragraph, from the title, from the explanation of the images. The faded 20 in the back of each page made it feel three dimensional and added something without being obnoxious.)