Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Arts and Crafts Movement of the 1850s

The Victorian Arts and Crafts Movement was a result of the rejection of the heavily ornamented style which was very popular during the 1850s. This style was shown throughout interiors (mainly in England and America) with furniture, ornamental objects, and fringed cloth surfaces. 

The style of the Arts and Crafts Movement was started by William Morris because he favored simplicity, and good craftsmanship and design. The British artist and architect created a new style which is illustrated in the image of one of the chairs above. The one on the left shows the highly ornamented style of the Rococo era, in result Morris designed a much simpler version (on the right) because of his frustration and belief that mass produced objects take away from human creativity. 


Robert Prenzel wardrobe form the "Mathais Suite"

This wardrobe illustrates the hand craft and the link between beautiful work and the worker. This is was a movement that took place because of artists' rejection of the Industrial Revolution.

Quiz Question: Who is the artist or architect that was the leading exponent in the creation of the Arts and Crafts Movement?

Pictures and Information from:

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Typography Terms*

Absolute measurements are measurements of fixed values and are expressed in finite terms that cannot be altered.

Relative Measurements happen when character spacing is linked to type size, which means that their relationships are defined by a relative measured series. 

Points is the unit of measurement used to measure the type size of a font, which refers to the height of the letter. One point = 1/72 of an inch or 0.35 mm.

Picas are a unit of measurement, and one pica = 12 points and 6 picas (72 points) = 1 inch. It is commonly used for measuring lines of type.

X- Height is the main body part of a letter, excluding its ascenders and descenders. 

The em is a relative unit or measurement used in typesetting to define basic functions, which makes it linked to the size of the type.  If thee size increases or decreases the em does the same. It is equal to the size of any given type and is used to defining elements such as paragraph indents and spacing.

The en is equal to half of one "em." 

Dashes ( hyphen, en, em) both the em and en are used in punctuation to provide a measurement for dashes.  The "hyphen" is smaller then an "en" and 1/3 of an "em" and it also serves as a compound modifier where two words become one. The en dash is used to separate pages numbers, dates, and to replace the word "to" in constructions implying movement

Alignments can either be justified which is when the word spacing on separate line is irregular, unlike range left type where all the lines have the same spacing. There is also flush left which is the same principle of handwriting and it is aligned to the left margin and ends ragged on the right. Flush right is less common and more difficult to read, and it is aligned to the right margin and jagged on the left.

Letterspacing is the addition of space between letters to improve the visual look of type and opens up the text. 

Kerning is the removal of space between characters.

Tracking adjusts and affects the amount of spacing between characters. 

Word spacing adjusts the amount of space between words. 

Widow lone word at the end of a paragraph (occurs in justified text.) 

Orphan is the final one or two lines of a paragraph separates from the main paragraph to form a new column and should be avoided at all costs.

Leading is a hot metal printing term that originates from the lead strips that were inserted between text measures in order to space them evenly.  Now it is the space between lines of text in a text block.

Indents are moving text in from the margin by a specified amount and provides easily accessible entry point to a paragraph. First line indent is when the text is indented from the left margin only in the first line of a paragraph.  A hanging indent is when the first line of the text is not indented but the rest of the paragraph is, its the opposite of first line indenting. 

Tuesday, September 9, 2008


In 1928 in Unterseen, Switzerland a famous type-designer named Adrian Frutiger. He began his education at the Zurich School of Arts and Crafts for three years. After that he moved to Paris in 1952 to be a type designer and artistic manager at Derbeny and Peignot. After a few years of work and three typeface creations later he created a sans-serif font known as Univers, which made him an internationally known type designer. The Univers type family made such an impact that every typesetting system in the world licensed it for their use. This was because he created a numbering system for weight and width for the 21-member font family, which became a guide for font designers of the next generation. The Univers Grid became known as the “intellectual springboard” because of it breaking and broadening of the – normal, bold, and italic. The grid and its layout allow much more detail with space. 

Frutiger likens it to a star; in the centre, there is a basic font face marked with number 55. Adjacent on the left and the right , are one unit higher or lower faces with always broader or narrower characters, but always with a ductus (stroke width) of the same thickness. On the other hand, there are adjacent faces in an upward or downward direction that are a tenth lower or higher with a ductus (stroke width) of equal thickness. Odd numbers mark the upright faces while even numbers mark the oblique faces. All characters are therefore logically connected and derive from one “prototype”.”

Since then he has created more than forty other fonts. Also, he was consultant for IBM and for the Stempel type foundry and then went on to be a professor for eighteen years. He has accomplished so much in his life including this year on his 80th Birthday when he came out with his latest type: frutiger serif. He has accumulated many awards and honors for his incredible talent, which he very much deserves.

*John Baskerville

John Baskerville was a well-known type designer and printer of the 18th century. He is and Englishman from Worcestershire and was born in 1706. He is known for his creation of a text that is modern, with level serifs and emphasizes the contrast of light and heavy lines. He discovered his talent while engraving tombstones at the age of 17. He began his business at the age of forty-four, which included his elegant styled Baskerville fonts and his invention of fine printing on woven paper. 

After many years of practice and after Cambridge University Press hired him as his printer, he produced a very successful Bible in 1763. He was known to be quite the perfectionist, which helped him out with creating such a successful technique that made such an impression on typography. His books were known to be quite large, with wide margins, and printed with excellent paper and ink. The styles of his page layouts were very basic when compared to Italian and French Renaissance printers. But after his death his basic style influenced Italy and France where Giovanni Battista Bodoni and the Didots used his ideas with their printing and font techniques. He was a very successful man who has impacted made a lasting impression on typography!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Designers and GRIDS

A Grid establish a system for arranging content within the space of a page, screen, or built environment. They also break space or time into regular units. Typographic grids are an effective and flexible formula that help maintain control. They are the basis for a designer's guide in generating a method of construction and layout. They help organize characters into their own block. The margins, gutters, and empty spaces create a frame. The work depends on the frame for its status and visibility because it makes it unique and different. Grids allow a designer to use their own framework in a simple way but at the same time it also allows them to have their own style and twist, because there are so many different ways to approach. Especially when it comes to all the different rulers, guides, and coordinate systems, which allows the structure to be so flexible, simple, or complex. The example above shows a very complex formulation of columns and rows, which are formed by the gutters and margins. Those empty spaces become the framework for the design layout and make it very unique and intriguing. The lower example is very simple and has less text, which means not all the boxes are filled with text. It shows the text in columned format and also in row format. Just by choosing to do such little things can make a big impact in layout and overall design.