Essay on typographer text1

Submitted By JanaBoltmann
Words: 2899
Pages: 12

Good typography is invisible
With over 100,000 different type faces available right now and over 560 years of type face designing there is a large number of influential and important font designers to research.
I was lucky to find the a great guide to typefaces: the “Periodic table of type faces” from , which lists
100 of the most popular, influential and notorious typefaces today. It not only gives the name of the designer and the year when it was first published, but also groups it into families and classes like serif, sans-serif, display, grotesque, didone or geometric, which helps to get a clearer picture. I found that a good start for research and googled many of the mentioned designers. I stopped at Erik Spiekermann
(the type”face” behind Audi, Bosch, Sky TV, Nokia, …)
Matthew Carter (internet/screen standard fonts
Verdana/Tahoma, Georgia), Max Miedinger (Neue Haas
Grotesk = Helvetica), Edward Johnston (ITC Johnston,
P22 Underground for the London tube), Paul Renner
(Futura), Tobias Frere-Jones (Gotham - Obama election campaign 2008, Asphalt Black), Adrian Frutiger
(Linotype Didot, Univers, Frutiger, Avenir), Stanley
Morison (Times). These are mainly type faces which

serve in headlines as well as in the body copy.
If chosen for the right reasons (style of typeface fitting style of article, text, ...) the quality of these fonts have a chance to deliver what the Craig
Ward poster on top of this text asks typography to do
– to be invisible – meaning to fit a purpose so perfect that it seems to belong to it as part of its nature. In most cases people should not talk about the type faces and graphic design, but the message it transports. I also researched some typographers, who became known mainly for their display typefaces: Luke Lucas
(Lukano, Aeroplane, Sleaze, Inline Hell), Steve
Buffoni (Nu Classic Typo, Shock), Stefan Chinof
(Adict, Typography)
To learn from example I choose to look further into three fonts and their designers which have many similarities. I wanted to find out why they still send different messages and how they achieve that.
I choose three very successful typographers and their products: Paul Renner
Edward Johnston
Tobias Frere-Jones


Johnston Sans

Paul Renner (Germany) - FUTURA
Paul Renner created Futura starting in 1924 and released it 1927. It was commissioned by the Bauer Type Foundry.
Its a geometric sans serif typeface. Renner's idea was to get rid of all unecessary decorative elements. That very much reflected the zeitgeist especially in Germany and France where the avant-gardists art movements of the early 20th century were very much reflected for instance in “Dada” around Kurt Schwitters, “Expressionism” Franz Marc and friends and the “Bauhaus”-movement around
Walter Gropius.
The name itself seems to be a strong reminder of
“futurism” and its manifestos to turn your back on old fashioned, now meaningless art traditions and re-invent art - based strictly on functionality. Futura follows that. Like the Bauhaus style it is based on geometric shapes to give a simple and efficient look that is clearly legible. If you look close you can easily see these simply geometric forms it is made of: circles, triangles and squares.
I coloured some of the main features:
One which I like a lot and which seems quite unique compared to other san serif fonts are the sharply pointed terminals of the capitals
(A,M,N,V,W). They clearly reach out of the cap-line and the base-line.
At first that seemed odd to me, because the nearly 2/3 ration between the height of the upper and lower cases plus the equal weight of the stroke bring a sense of settlement to the type face. Having the sharp terminal sticking out counteracts that a bit. But coming back to
Renner's and the Bauhaus ideas I think that brings more depth to the font. It is very clear and functional in its harmony a confident straight or circular strokes, but it is also confident ready to take on other fonts and maybe the worlddue to the