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Posts Tagged ‘elegy’

by Vikki Quick

Winners of the Type Directors Club’s TDC² competition were notified last week. To get a semi-jump on bragging rights (the TDC gave winners permission to boast), I thought I’d provide some behind-the-scenes observations on our winning entries. The TDC won’t be making its official announcement until March.

Elegy
The Elegy™ typeface is simply gorgeous. If it were a wedding dress, I imagine it to be the purest of whites with flowing lace and a long, lavish train. Such a feminine description might not fly with Jim Wasco, senior typeface designer at Monotype Imaging, who created this beautiful face.

Elegy is based on the original, handlettered logo of the International Typeface Corporation, which flourished in the 70s from its New York City headquarters. The logo was designed by the legendary typeface designer Ed Benguiat, who created such well used faces as the ITC Bookman®, ITC Edwardian Script™ and ITC Benguiat® families.

With an eye toward maintaining the spontaneity and flowing attributes of the ITC logo, Jim set out to create a contemporary design based on an American form of ornamental penmanship called Spencerian script, popular from about 1850 to 1925. Close your eyes and picture the Coca-Cola logo. A Spencerian script, the Coca-Cola identity was first published in the late 19th century.

What was unique about designing Elegy? First off, it was difficult. “Elegy was the most difficult design job I’ve ever done in my life,” Jim says, “from getting the shapes right to designing alternatives for each letter in order to take advantage of OpenType’s contextual alternate feature.” This allows letters to be substituted in specific combinations, which enables text to take on the look of handwritten letters. Jim also designed the initial and final strokes for the beginnings and endings of words.

Does the design experience trigger anything funny? “Funny, no. Scary, yes,” Jim says. Scary as in fear that people will not use the typeface correctly. Jim adds, “I’ve already seen an example where an alternate nine old style figure was used instead of a zero. Now that’s scary!”

What’s the most important thing about Elegy? It needs to be used in the latest applications that support OpenType® features, such as old style figures, arbitrary fractions, proportional numbers, tabular numbers, discretionary ligatures and of course, contextual alternate characters. Because of its fine hairline strokes and various design nuances, Elegy should not be used in all caps or sizes under 24 point.

Check out this animated video of Elegy. You’ll get a sense of its graceful beauty in all its glory.

Palatino Sans Arabic
My next blog post will cover the TDC² award-winning Palatino® Sans Arabic typeface by Nadine Chahine, who collaborated with master typeface designer, Hermann Zapf.


by Allan Haley

The first rule of choosing display typefaces is to make an appropriate choice – appropriate to the delivery vehicle, content and reader.

Appropriate to Delivery Vehicle

The most appropriate display typeface for a small print environment will probably be a different design than one that is best for a large print environment. And neither of these might be appropriate for display copy on screen or in slide presentations.

The best font for presentation graphics, for example, is a sans serif (because it is more legible than a serif design), bold weight (to enable a high level of visibility) of somewhat condensed proportions (to obtain the maximum number of words in the smallest space).

Typefaces for on-screen use should also have large x-heights and open counters. Large x-heights will take the best advantage of the limited screen pixels. The more decorative a design, however, the more problematic it becomes for Web sites and blogs. Very fancy or ornamental designs such as the Arriba-Arriba™ or ITC Wisteria™ typefaces might make excellent choices for posters and brochures, but they would probably not be the best choices for display type on screen. Slightly less fancy – but equally commanding – designs like the Dreamland™ and Pueblo™ typefaces would be better choices.

A few great display typefacesA few great display typefaces

A few great display typefaces

Newspapers, which are almost always read under less than ideal circumstances, require sturdy, industrial strength designs such as the Egyptian Slate™ or ITC Franklin™ typefaces for headlines, while a catalog for women’s clothing would do better with a more supple design like ITC Berkeley Oldstyle™ typeface. The same Berkeley Oldstyle, however, might not be the best choice for a web page banner, while the ITC CuppaJoe™ design might be.

Appropriate to Message

A catalog announcing a new line of Hawaiian shirts should use different typefaces than a brochure for women’s lingerie; and announcements for a new, quarterly law journal report will be best served by yet different typefaces.

For that Hawaiian shirt announcement, a combination of the ITC Puamana™ and DIN Next™ typefaces might be a good choice. The women’s lingerie might benefit from headlines set in the Pouty™ script typeface and text copy using part of the ITC Galliard™ family. The law journal? Try heads in the bold weight of the Felbridge™ typeface and text in the ITC Legacy™ Serif typeface family.

Appropriate to Audience

It’s a pretty safe bet that counter-culture display faces like ITC Panic™ and ITC Schizoid™ designs will not appeal to an over-60s reader or that the Elegy™ or Diotima® Classic typefaces would resonate with a potential customer for skateboards. Typefaces like the Artistik™, Neuland™ and ITC Kick™ typefaces can be great display choices – but probably not for the readers of the quarterly financial reports of an international banking firm.

Allan Haley
Allan Haley is Director of Words & Letters at Monotype Imaging. Here he is responsible for strategic planning and creative implementation of just about everything related to typeface designs.


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