Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Critical Debates in Design.

A little bit of research -
Family Classifications of Type.

Since the time of Gutenberg, the typographic form has evolved with technology, philosophy, and culture. In order to effectively analyze this typographic evolution, the design of type characters over the last five and a half centuries is most often broken down into classifications of common visual characteristics, called families of type:

1 Oldstyle Characteristics
* minimal variation of thick and thin strokes
* small, coarse serifs, often with slightly concave bases
* small x-heights.
* In the round strokes, the stress is diagonal, or oblique, as their designs mimic the hand-held angle of the pen nibs of the scribes.
* The tops of lowercase ascenders often exceed the height of the capital characters.
* The numerals, called old style figures, vary in size and have ascenders and descenders. Many contemporary versions of Old Style typefaces do not retain the old style figures but, in catering to contemporary taste, use lining, or capital height figures.
Old Style examples:

2 Transitional Characteristics
* A greater contrast between thick and thin stokes.
* Wider, gracefully bracketed serifs withflat bases.
* larger x-height
* Vertical stress in rounded strokes
* the height of capitals matches that of ascenders.
* Numerals are cap-height and consistent in size.
Transitional examples:

3 Modern Characteristics
* Extreme contrast between thick and thin strokes

* Hairline serifs without bracketing

* Small x-height

* Vertical stress in rounded strokes
Modern example:

4 Slab Serif Characeristics
* minimal variation of thick and thin strokes

* heavy serifs with squared-off ends

* large x-heights.
* vertical stress in rounded strkes Slab Serif example:

5 Sans Serif Characteristics
* little or no variation between thick and thin strokes

* lack of serifs

* larger x-height
* no stress in rounded strokes
Sans Serif example:

6 Decorative/Display
For most of type's history, the use of decorative characters was applied to the page design of books, and usually limited to ornamenting title pages, chapter headings, and initials. In the 19th century, the proliferation of Slab Serif typefaces did not ultimately satisfy the insatiable public appetite for distinct and ornate types.

7 Script/Cursive.
Script and cursive typefaces are those designed to literally represent handwriting or hand lettering styles. As a general distinction, scripts have linked or joining lowercase letters, similar to handwriting, while cursive appear as un-joined hand lettering.
Script/Cursive example:

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