Published on April 4th, 2008
After generating so much interest with my first type exercise, John at i Love Typography asked me to put together regular exercises for the readers of his blog. I believe he will be turning it into a contest, so if you would like to participate, visit iLT for contest rules. As for me, I’m really excited about it. Like I said before, I think doing these exercises will help me stretch how I think about type and I am curious to see what others will come up with for the same projects.
Since I have already been working on the exercises in the book Designing With Type I figured that would be a good place to start. The third exercise in the book is about understanding different ways to arrange type: justified; flush left, ragged right; flush right, ragged left; centered and random. I am modifying the project slightly to encourage creativity. Consequently, we won’t be investigating the first four mentioned arrangements. If you don’t already have a solid understanding of them, I highly encourage you to learn all that you can.
Project | Random Type Alignment
To experiment with random type alignment and how that decision can effect design, legibility and communication.
Choose the typeface from the options below and arrange the corresponding text using random alignment. Use black or shades of gray text on a white background. Set the name of the typeface at a display size of your choice and the corresponding text at normal body text size—usually 14-point or below. Before you start, take a look at these alignment concerns: what you should avoid. On top of those concerns, keep the text running on simple horizontal lines—avoid rotating it or running it along a curved path.
You can use any font or any combination of fonts offered within your chosen typeface. The goal is to create a design that enhances the message of the text and is visually appealing.
500px × 500px
Of course I wouldn’t ask you to do an assignment without providing you with an example. I chose Bodoni since I did not find a use for it in my last exercise and it is probably my least favorite font on the list. I have my reasons, but my main concern is how the high contrast between thick and thin strokes makes Bodoni harder to read than the other options. In any case, I am glad I chose it. I have a new appreciation for Bodoni as a display face and can see how it could benefit me in future projects.
I spent quite a bit of time thinking about where I wanted line breaks to fall and how to randomly align without making it appear cluttered. The body text inspired a few of my decisions—like leaving additional leading around “between the thicks and thins” to enhance that contrast. The leading is loose throughout because the text told me to. I also chose to highlight a few of the words so the reader would understand their importance regarding Bodoni. What do you think of my design? Do you understand the flow of it?
Random alignment is only useful in specialized situations, however I feel it can really add personality to a design that the other text alignment options cannot. How do you feel about random text alignment? Do you think it has a place in design or would you rather see more traditional alignment options?
If you choose to participate in the exercise, please let me know where I can view your design with a trackback or by posting here.