Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Phoenician Characters

-Developed the basis of Latin alphabet.
-Developed around 1600 BC and formed 22 specific symbols that represented SOUNDS not objects.
-Symbols put together in various combinations to make thousands of words.
-Only contained consonants
-No vowels
-Written horizontally.
-Written RIGHT to LEFT
-WithOUT spaces between words (dots were used as word spaces sometimes)
-The building block for Arabic, Hebrew, Greek, Latin, and modern European alphabet.
-Phoenicians are known for being responsible for the greates invention of humanity.
-Believed to be developed at Byblos.
-Some symbols are recognizable such as "o" "w" "k" and "x"
-Greeks got the names for their letters from the Phoenician's actual words (alpha, beta, gamma to
aleph, beth, gimel)
-The names for the characters were chosen based on: Simplification of earlier pictograms and the sound for the original object the character was representing.
-Phoenician letter shapes are much more abstract and linear compared to other Proto-Sinaitic signs.
-Time Period: 1100 BCE to 300 CE in West Asia
-Genealogy: Proto-Sinaitic

For want of a plausible theory, Dr. Ignace J. Gelb, professor at the Oriental Institute and the Department of Linguistics of the University of Chicago, once suggested that the entire Phoenician system of signs was an arbitrary invention throughout. (Gelb, 1974) Even more recently, the discovery of the Proto-Sinaiti inscriptions in Egypt has been alleged as the sole source.

Taken from this website.
Other Sources: Fundamentals with Type and ancientscripts.com

Phoenicians lived present day Lebanon.
Phoenician Alphabet compared to others.
Phoenician Alphabet (22 symbols aka: 'magic signs')

QUESTION: Name at least three languages that are based on the Phoenician characters.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Some Helpful Definitions...

Absolute Measurement: Fixed values expressed in finite terms and cannot be altered.
Relative Measurement:
Measurements linked to type size. Example: leading changes according to type size in order for letters not to mix in with each other.
Points/Picas: A point is a unit of measurement used to measure the type size of a font referring to the height of the type block. A pica is a unit of measurement equal to 12 pts. Is more commonly used for measuring lines of type.
the height o
f the typeface in reference to the height of the lowercase 'x'. It's measured by the baseline to the meanline of the typeface.
The em. The en:
The em is the unit of measurement in typesetting that defines basic spacing functions and is linked to the size of type. Used for defining paragraph indents and spacing. It also equals the size of the type. (72 pt font = 72 type.) The en is the measurement that is half of em. (72pt type = 36pt type)

hes (hyphen, en, em): All distinct but similar functions. An en is half of an em. A hyphen is 1/3 of an em.

Alignments: Justifcation, Flush Left, Flush Right: How the line of a text refers to the column. Justification is when all of the text are of equal length from the column. It makes for clean edges.
Flush Left is the the entire text is shifted to the left causing for equal length from the left side of the text to the column and unequal from the right side to the column. Flush Right is the exact opposite of that. Left provides an organic flow of the language while right helps provide the designer with great use of captions, sidebars, notes, etc.
Example of a Flush Left Alignment -- >

Increasing the amount of space between letters.
Kerning: Reducing the amount of space between letters.
Adjusting the amount of space between characters.
Word Spacing: "a percentage value of an em" It is relative to the size of the type. It is the space between the letters and is fixed in the postscript information of a typeface. However, it can be altered by changing the hyphenation and justification values.
Widow: The final line of a paragraph that is left at the beginning of the next page or column by itself.

Orphan: A single word that is either left at the end of the paragraph on its own line or the first word of a text that is left at the bottom of a column while the rest of the text continues on the following page.

Indent: The space between lines of text in a text block, one baseline to the next.
First Line Indent:
Is when only the first text line of the entire text is indented. Usually to distinguish new paragraphs in writing.
Hanging Indent:
This is when all of the text except the first text line is indented.

Sources: The Fundamentals of Typography; typeculture.com; Thinking with Type.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

What makes Univers and Baskerville individually unique?

The Univers and Baskerville typefaces are both classic fonts that are still widely used but they are individually different from many other fonts and that is why they are 'unique.' Actually each typeface is unique in their own way because there is initially something that sets the font apart from the one before it; however, Univers and Baskerville 'unique' because...

-Each one is highly readable. The serifs and widths of the letters are not crunched together or excessive. Therefore the final product is readable to anyone.
-Univers is clean, it is sans serifs and sometimes typefaces which are sans serifs can also be difficult to work with because from far away the letters are not distinguished by little serif marks which can jumble the letters together. However, Univers has a specific width to the lettering that makes the typeface readable from a far. The Univers look is also a very slick and cheek look to me. And in addition to your regular bold and italic versions of the typeface, Univers also has 20 or so versions of the same typeface. Therefore it is easy to use and easy to variate within the same typeface. This helps keep the final product looking unified and exciting.
-Baskerville is the traditional serif style that may look like the standard default font: Times New Roman. Even though this font is a serif style font, I find it to stand out because the weight of the lettering seems a bit more heavy, making whatever is written in such font bolder and brighter. Also the serifs are much more defined in the Baskerville typeface than other serif styles like Times. This helps with the clarity a lot. Even though I find these classic fonts to sometimes be boring, Baskerville
mixes the traditional with the modern into this specific look that isn't boring to the eye at all.

The Univers Grid --
this simple grid unifies all of the different styles of the typeface Univers together. All of the 21 different styles are arranged by italics, bold, regular, condensed, etc. on the chart. Each color represents the different widths of the typeface: regular, condensed, wide. Each specific column divides the regular style from the italic style and the rows go along with the weight of the letters. The grid is a great way to keep everything organized.

Friday, September 5, 2008

John Baskerville & Adrian Frutiger

Who is John Baskerville??

John Baskerville was born in Wolverley, Worcestershire in 1706 and lived a productive life up until his death in Birmingham in 1775. He started of as a successful writing master and headstone engraver; developing many of his skills in calligraphy and monumental inscription cutting by himself. Later in his years he became an innovative letter designer, type founder, and printer, helping with the development of the printing press. In 1750 he set up his own printing business and worked with press construction, printing ink, letter design and papermaking. Working with his own printing business resulted in his original typeface: Baskerville.
His typefaces, which were modern at the time, included different level serifs, contrast of light and heavy lines, and were pseudo classical. His typeface began to appear in many different books from 1754-1775. Some of them include: a quarto edition of Vergil, Aesop’s Fables, the works of Horace, and his masterpiece, which was a printed folio Bible in 1763. Even though he had many triumphs, his career wasn’t always successful. He lost a lot of money at one point in time with his printing ventures. Nevertheless his work has always seemed to be a “perfection” of type, that he is known as one of the greatest designers of the 18th century, admired by many including Benjamin Franklin. He continued his work until the time of his death in 1775.
After his death in his wife managed the press business until 1777.

Who is Adrian Frutiger?

Adrian Frutiger was born on March 24, 1928 in Unterlaken, Switzerland. At the early age of 16, Frutiger began working as a printer’s apprentice. After working for a while, he decided to move to Zurich where he attended the Zurich School of Arts and Crafts. During his time here he studied under Professor Walter Kach. Later he moved to Paris and began working with Deberry and Peignot where he helped change their traditional printing method to a new phototypesetting technology. During his time at Deberry and Peignot he also began working on his own projects on the side; mainly working with designing authentic typefaces. His original typefaces were very significant and because of their specific details, Adrian Frutiger earned the status of a great designer. Some of his typefaces include: Presdient, Phoebus, Ondine, Meridien, Egyptienne, Univers, Apollo, Serifa, OCR-B, Iridium, Frutiger, Glypha, Icone, Breughel, Versailles, Avenir, and Vectora. In addition to designing typefaces, Frutiger has also developed a number of books including: Type, Sign, Symbol, Signs & Symbols: Their Design and Meaning, The International Type Book, and The Univers. Currently he is living in Switzerland working on revisions with Linotype in some of his typefaces. The results from his revisions are “Frutiger Next” and “Avenir Next” which are both italic versions of prior typefaces. Adrian Frutiger has become a well-known designer producing widely used typefaces.


Tuesday, September 2, 2008


Grids...why are they important to us as designers??

"Grids are all about control"
-Thinking w/ Type pg. 113

As designers, grids help us control the images or text by arranging them in a clear and understandable position. They enable us to move the images around the entire page and at the same time keep the right measurements to make everything even and in line. Therefore we are able to mix in a lot of different elements together and still have an ordered final product.

We divide the grid into different parts: Columns, Rows, Gutters, Flowlines, Margins, etc. Each part has a specific use. For example, columns are vertical divisions of space on the grid that help us align the different elements. Most writing systems are organized into columns.

Everyday example...Newspapers!!

Layout Workbook
Thinking w/ Type