ah teaches graphic design (A Type of History lecture)

A Type of History

Lecture outline

An introduction to typography and working with type in design. Lecture slides will be made available on the day of the lecture (Sept 20).

Peer critique prep

In preparation for today's critiques, please:

  1. Paste up your project on the wall.
  2. Make sure you have a pen or pencil ready
  3. Once ready please raise your hand and I will provide you with a stack of post-its.

Peer critique reminders

For today's peer critique, we will be providing you with a series of prompts to guide your critique. For each critique you provide please make sure to:

Leave your post-its at the project you are providing critique on.

Peer critique process

After each prompt, you will move to the next project (+1 from where you are). Please make sure to leave your critique on a post-it at the project.

Peer critique start

Please move +1 project.

Does the submission appear complete? What is missing?

You have...

Do you understand the structure of this document? Do you know what each section is?

You have...

Do they present the similarities and differences in the existing magazines clearly? Why so or why not?

You have...

What do you like? and what do you wish?

You have...


Use the critique you have just received as a means for improving your projects. You have until Sunday at 8pm to resubmit as needed.

Today's critique

Our approach

We will be taking the 'I like/I wish' approach again for today's critique: Please start each critique with either 'I like' or 'I wish'.

Today's critique is social

This week I would like you to chat with a neighbour to form your critiques. Let's open up with [waving] 'Hi, my name is ...'

You have 2 minutes to introduce yourself to a neighbour you do not know.

Today's critique context
A series of sketches exploring placing text over an image
A series of sketches of a layout with differing levels of fidelity

The Printing Press

Let there be type!

An illustration of an old printing press

Type Measurement

Physical measurements:

Why are we working in inches?

Measurements lie

While these fonts have been set to the same size, they don't appear to be the same size:
why,why, why, why, why, why

Elements of Type

In this sketch:

Serif and Sans

They're best friends

serif & sans

Identifying Type

The serif edition


A humanist, serif typeface

(Times New Roman)

A transitional, serif typeface


A modern, serif typeface

Identifying Type

The sans edition

(Gill Sans)

A humanist, sans-serif typeface


A transitional, sans-serif typeface


A geometric, sans-serif typeface

Identifying Type

The other edition

Slab serif

A slab-serif typeface

(Brush Script)

A script typeface

(Comic Sans)

A graphic typeface

Identifying Type

The meaning(s)

If you had to characterize each of these typefaces, how would you describe them?

I am a typeface that needs characters. Please give me some characters to work with that are clear and define who I am.

I am a typeface that needs characters. Please give me some characters to work with that are clear and define who I am.

I am a typeface that needs characters. Please give me some characters to work with that are clear and define who I am.

Identifying Type

By case, weight, and posture

By case:

  • lowercase
  • small caps

By weight:

  • Normal
  • Bold

By posture:

  • Normal
  • Italics

Any questions?

Typographic Concerns

Legibility vs Readability

In legible type we are looking to be able clearly interpret the type from a distance.

Brisket hamburger leberkas capicola boudin bresaola jerky.

Legibility vs Readability

With readable type we want to be able to comfortably read it for a while.

Veggies es bonus vobis, proinde vos postulo essum magis kohlrabi welsh onion daikon amaranth tatsoi tomatillo melon azuki bean garlic.

Gumbo beet greens corn soko endive gumbo gourd. Parsley shallot courgette tatsoi pea sprouts fava bean collard greens dandelion okra wakame tomato. Dandelion cucumber earthnut pea peanut soko zucchini.

Turnip greens yarrow ricebean rutabaga endive cauliflower sea lettuce kohlrabi amaranth water spinach avocado daikon napa cabbage asparagus winter purslane kale. Celery potato scallion desert raisin horseradish


This is when we adjust the spacing between letters to achieve an optimal balance within a word. Let's take a a look at a kerning game, to demonstrate the practice.

Word Spacing

Why paying attention to spacing matters.

Signage for today's hit music, where the 's' and the 'hit' are very close to one another


What Does It Say?

Why might you identify one of these as the latest news?




P2: Layout
Exploring Type sketch

Open work time

Time for you to work on: