Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Poor old Comic Sans

If you were born in the 80s chances are that you, at one point in your life, used Comic Sans and thought it was cool. I know I did! Its youthful, friendly appearance surely wouldn’t hurt a fly. I wondered what happened to make this playful, unassuming little typeface become the most hated font by designers.

With some research I have found that Comic Sans was designed by Vincent Connare while working for Microsoft in the 90s. It was originally designed for a cartoon pup that featured in a Microsoft product aimed at beginner users to help them through basic tasks.

Since then Comic Sans grew and grew in popularity. It even featured in one of my favourite games The Sims! However with this popularity the typeface was over used, often inappropriately, by the general public. It is this over use that has sparked the hatred of the typeface in the design community.
Extract from the original The Sims

And I mean extreme hatred with anti Comic Sans posters, a ban Comic Sans website and even a Kill Comic Sans game.

Poster designed by deviantart user djsoundwav

Kill Comic Sans game
I feel a little sorry for old Comic Sans. All it did was exist and become popular. If over use is reason for its hatred, which typeface will be next? Perhaps Helvetica? There is already an anti Helvetica movement, which, however, doesn’t seem to have caught on to the same extent.

Instead of getting angry at someone who has used Comic Sans inappropriately, perhaps take a moment to realise that they do not understand as you do the wonderful world of typography and educate them. Politely of course.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Craig Ward

You might remember the Good Typography is Invisible poster by Craig Ward. I looked into the creator and found some other amazing examples of great typography. Craig Ward in his 30 years has become a renowned typographer and so I thought a ‘person of interest’ post was in order.

Craig grew up in an English retirement village, which must have made for a peaceful upbringing, I stayed at a retirement village in Cairns not long ago and we napped every day! He went onto work in advertising agencies as an art director and designer.

He now lives in New York creating award winning typography. Craig has also featured in a number of books including The 3D Type Book, RGB - Reviewing Graphics in Britain and Impressive - Printmaking and Letterpress in Graphic Design

Here are some samples of his beautiful typography. There are quite a few here as I had trouble narrowing down example to include here. I love his ability to inject emotion into the words. Such as in the piece titled 'Love Studies', soft, floating and dreamy or the piece 'Dont Let Go' with hands grabbing adding a feeling of desperation and pleading to stay. You can find more on his website, words are pictures.

You Blow Me Away 
Created for Department for Transport

Don't Let Go

typeface designed by Craig Ward

Love Studies

Wish You Were Here

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Type Posters

These are selected works of Marius Roosendaal, graphic designer and art director from Amersfoort, the Netherlands. It’s times like these that I love having Dutch heritage! Marius committed to doing something creative each day of 2011.
“In most cases this will be some piece of graphic design on a subject that stirs my interests, or simply based on a photograph I've made or found” he says.

I love his use of simple graphics and creative patterns in some posters and then his use of photos and photoshop masks in others. Some even remind me of posters by Josef Muller-Brockmann through his use of simple graphics and grids. And his use of type is always inspired.





Sunday, November 13, 2011

Type Project #1

After being inspired by Benja Harney and his cover of the October issue of Desktop magazine I decided to try my hand at creating 3D letters out of paper. Working as a self taught paper engineer in Sydney for the last six years, Benja has been involved in many amazing projects with paper including the Parklife poster, Kylie ‘Goddess Edition’ pop-up book and Birds of Tokyo Mastercard advertisement. To see more of Benja’s awesome creations visit Paperform.
Desktop Cover - October

Parklife festival poster

I had always loved the times we made basic 3D shapes in school; cubes, pyramids, cones, even the occasional dodecahedron. We were always provided with a flat piece of paper with a plan marked on it for cuts and folds.

So I decided to start by working out a plan for my letter. I started in Illustrator using the Bauer Bodoni M, thinking about where it would need to join, that the depth would all need to be the same. I thought I would use tape to stick all the pieces together. While putting all the pieces together I remembered that the plans for the cubes, etc had tabs that you would glue so it would fit together. I also realised that I had a few too many pieces to create the depth. As you can see the result here is a little bit shabby.

For my second trial I included the much needed tabs and tried to make as many pieces as possible attach to the M. This meant that only folding was needed instead of much cutting and sticky taping. This one is a lot cleaner and was much easier to put together. 

Ta Da! Im thinking if I made a few more they would be good hanging from a mobile or strung together like bunting to make a word. 

Thursday, November 10, 2011

A beautiful annual report

It is one of my goals as a graphic designer to design an annual report. SO much text to style! So when I see one as lovely as this report I must share it!

The report was created by Shelby White (Visual Designer & Photographer, Creator of for Helly Hansen as a part of a class assignment while studying at the Art Institute of Seatle. Shelby White’s main concept came from the Helly Hansen logo, stating that the most important thing was to stay true to the branding. The use of the angle found in the Helly Hansen logo is used throughout the design of the report. Shelby’s self description of the work is here.

Monday, November 7, 2011

The difference between good and bad typography

Poster by Craig Ward - Words are Pictures

There appears to be no clear definition that separated good typography from bad typography.  Generally analysing the quality of someone’s use of type is seen to be a largely subjective pursuit. Overall it will be the client to decide if the use of type is sufficient to communicate their intended message. The issue is that bad typography can still communicate a message and the client might not understand that there can be a better way.

The general consensus is that good typography will communicate the required information but will also invoke emotion suitable to the message. Good type will fit the message while bad type will stand out and create a feeling of confusion. To the untrained eye good design will be invisible.

If you are looking for some guidelines to follow for good typography you can find them here.

It seems to be that once you have the basics, its ok to break the rules sometimes.


While studying graphic design last year I learnt about typography. It was a subject that I wasn’t sure I understood to begin with. How do you know which typefaces to pair together? Can I rework the type while staying true to the typeface? Have I chosen the right type for the brief?

I persevered and learnt to love type, however I felt there was still more to learn.  So in an effort to continue learning more about typography I have started this little blog. I will research different topics, showcase beautiful examples of type and experiment with different ways of using and creating type.  Here goes!