Wednesday, April 11, 2012

A New Typography Of Language

Source: PBS Arts
Over the past few weeks, we've watched our eighth-graders give in-class research presentations. We kept making notes about the readability of their Prezis, which frequently and frustratingly paired neon colors with squinched text or dark lettering with dark backgrounds. We realized we should be doing more to teach our students about making crisp visual choices. The role of typography in education can take many worthwhile forms. For students, the crucial message is that a font must complement the information on display. The visualization must accompany the meaning.

Source: Colour Lovers
Graphic illustrators and digital artists obviously take seriously the role of visual language. Students of any age, though, are intrigued by the value of clever fonts. They hate Times New Roman and rush to change the typeface when they open MS Word. They love playing with WordArt, and they were giddy when Prezi recently expanded its font options. Typography, like any linguistic tool, can be coached to enhance rather than detract from student endeavors. We can steer them away from the dreaded Comic Sans and toward more supportive lettering choices.

Designer Steve Schoeffel argues the same point in his post, "Typography Must Honor Content," from the design blog Inspire. Schoeffel quotes Robert Bringhurst's book, The Elements of Typographic Style, noting that, "The typographer's one essential task is to interpret and communicate the text." (20)

Source: Codrops
Media specialist Carrie Cousins extends a similarly key message in her post, "Establish a Mood With Typography.' "The typefaces you select for a project," she says, "can impact what people think as much as the actual message you convey." Her engaging article would make a rich teaching guide to share with students. Typeface choices should be organized like good curriculum design, starting from the desired end and working backward to select the appropriate visual lettering.

Typography, in essence, is the pictorial incarnation of language, the visible medium by which today's kids absorb significance. We've already seen how a precisely chosen font can embody an entire political message of hope and change. Creative typography is the epitome of information design. The short, animated infographic below presents an arresting lesson about typography. Directors Boca and Ryan Uhrich from the Vancouver Film School make it clear that "typography is what language looks like."


Source: webdesign tuts+
Other terrific educational resources include "A Beginner's Guide To Pairing Fonts" by Ian Yates and "Best Practices Of Combining Typefaces" by Douglas Bonneville. Yates offers the equivalent of a graduate-level master's course in visual thinking, as he lays out a systematic, approachable list of typeface do's and don'ts. Erudite without being condescending, Yates answers common questions, such as how many fonts to include and how to balance concord with contrast. Bonneville, writing in Smashing Magazine, gives similar recommendations about keeping things simple, differentiating font weights, and assigning distinct roles to each line. Bonneville also includes a classic .pdf grid to hand out to students about which font choices are acceptable in mixing typefaces.


Source: Smashing Magazine
If students get excited about exploring fonts, PBS Arts features a seven-minute "Typography" mini-documentary from its Off Book series (recently highlighted by An Xiao Mina at Core77). The film includes great analysis from famous designers, such as Jonathan Hoefler and Tobias Frere-Jones. The clip also dissects the role of fonts in infographics and includes a one-minute tutorial at the end, called "How To Talk About Type Like You Know What You're Talking About." For example, we finally learned the actual difference between a "font" and a "typeface."


Source: Wookmark

Other valuable links to use when teaching typography include:

3 comments:

  1. Hello,
    Very good blog post I love your site keep up the great posts...........

    Photographer Durban

    ReplyDelete
  2. well this type of the language is great learning opportunity for interpreter how do i become an interpreter

    ReplyDelete
  3. I read a lot of stuff and i found that the way of writing to clearifing that exactly want to say was very good so i am impressed and I like to come again in future.

    ReplyDelete

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...


Pin It