Typography Homework Results

Last week everyone in typography class had to present their homework. We were supposed to search for 25 different versions of any desired letter or number and take frontal pictures documenting our findings. Additionally the cropped pictures shouldn’t be much smaller than 4×4 cm (about 1.5 inch) and a black and white version should be included. We didn’t get any grades but the professor commented on the results.

So here’s my contribution to typography 🙂

1.Typo Homework WS2010

Category 1: "G" with a spur and lowercase "G"

1.Typo Homework WS2010

Category 2: "G" without a spur

I really looked for as many different versions as possible and picked a rather simple categorization. It seemed the professor liked it 🙂

This homework was also a test to see how we are going to present everything on paper! Most students printed their results on A4 sheets without any headlines etc. I went for A3 so I used only 2 sheets. It seemed quite logical for me since I had two categories. It would have looked stupid on more than two pieces of paper! Additionally this way I had enough space for headings. Oh and I went against the professors advice to keep every picture the same size but since it wasn’t too distracting I went through with it quite well 😉

Short History of Written Language

This week the main topic in typography was the history of writing. It’s probably useless to try to cover all of it, since it’s obviously a way too complex and large subject for one entry…

So, like always, here is my short summary:

  • about 3500 BCE the cuneiform script (wedge writing) emerged in the Middle-East
  • about the same time in Egypt the writing system of hieroglyphs started seriously developing
  • perhaps even older is the Chinese writing system of logograms, so basically these first three systems are considered the beginning of written language
  • the phonemic script (English is one of them) is a writing system in which every letter stands for a sound and has no particular meaning on its own, developed by the Greek

Of course there are other writing systems like the Japanese one using Chinese characters, syllabaries and to some extend the Latin alphabet (which used the Greek alphabet as a role model) but the most important ones are mentioned.

In the 8th century Charlemagne reformed the West-European way of writing which hadn’t changed since the Roman Empire. The Carolingian minuscule was a uniform script with clear spacing between each word and the use of capitals. Additionally punctuation was added. Nowadays we take all these specifications for granted.

Another really important historical personality is Johannes Gutenberg, who started a media revolution as he invented modern book printing. Up until then most books had been re-written by hand by monks (censorship). Now everyone who could afford was able to print books with a high number of copies. This was the basis for the alphabetization of the masses and the spreading of new ideas free from religious censorship.

I gave a lot of external Wikipedia links in this one, because there might be someone who feels my summary is too “skinny” but that’s what I try to offer you: Short and precise summaries of my classes 😉

More on Typography Basics

This week we’ve discussed what typography/font does and what it’s needed for.

First of all the most basic statement on typography: “Typography gives you access to information.”

But what exactly is typography? It’s not simply addressing to the letters in writing. It’s more like a letter-system including not only the different fonts  but also the structure defined by things like various heading-sizes (known in web-editors as H1,H2,H3 etc.) or the italic/bold adjustments. This is a very basic definition but for now it’ll do.

Furthermore typography does the following:

  • documents ideas and this way enables cultural development
  • passes culture down
  • gives orientation not only in a text (structure) but through pictograms (simple signs are also a part of typography, there are certain pictographically fonts in Word for example)
  • creates atmosphere and interprets the content (see “Venice”)


looks like a picture in an educational book or a newspaper


looks more dreamy, like a tourist postcard and only because I changed the font

And what is our relationship to typography? Well a good typographical work always pays out since the human eye prefers well structured, paragraphed text 😉 On the other hand, we are dependent on text. Have you ever been to y country where you cannot read any of the written signs? Did you feel the growing despair with time? See 🙂

Oh, and one more thing: If you are a designer you have to be able to convince your clients of why they should pick a certain font. And believe me you’re not going to achieve anything by reasoning your choice on whether the font looks good or bad! You’ll need some “invisible knowledge”. That’s what we are going to learn in our typography class 😉

Typography 1

Today I had my first typography lesson.

Basically we were showen different exam works, which were alltogether different, ranging from children’s books to animation and games.

Then the professor gave us two helpful links “every design/art student should visit on a daly basis”. But see for yourself: Fontblog and Slanted. As far as I can see there are no English versions available.

And finally we got our first 2 homeworks.

  1. Pick a favorite letter or number, find at least 25 versions in your everyday life and take photos. Organize the images on your computer, sort them in different categories and print them out. (3 weeks time)
  2. Write your name with an exceptional font the professor can remember 🙂 (1 week time)

Well that’s that. More from typography next week!