08. Resources: What the Font

Someone recently suggested this site (? application? tool?) to me because I was stumped at finding a font similar to those used on manhole covers. It’s through the My Fonts website and is called What the Font. What it does is help you find fonts used in pictures you submit. All you do is upload an image with type in it (there are lots of tips for optimal images). Next you will get a screen with multiple thumbnails in it in which the tool (? generator?) outlines what it believes to be the type. In this example, I was given over 50 thumbnails with suggestions by the generator. You fill in the little box with the letter that is outlined. If there isn’t a letter, you leave the box blank. Sometimes it automatically recognizes the letter for you.


Once you make it though all the thumbnails and hit submit, What the Font will give you five suggestions of fonts they think are similar.


Unfortunately, I was not happy with the suggestions given to me, so I went the long route and ended up browsing font catalogs for the right font but I’d love to give this a try again, with a better picture (I obviously didn’t read the tips) and with more time. They do provide options if you are unhappy with the suggestions such as posting the image to their forums in the hope someone might recognize it or they listed this link: identifont.com, which upon a brief glimpse at, seems like something to take a longer look at.


08. Inspiration: Creative Blocks

I have been suffering from an intense bout of creative blockage this week. It’s happened before, it comes and goes, I understand it comes with the territory, no one can be on all the time. Nonetheless, it is a frustrating time, no matter how many times it happens. It’s really difficult to be creative in terms of school AND work when you’re just not feeling it. And sometimes I’m afraid THAT makes the block even worse. So I did a bit of research and compiled a list of the best suggestions to help me (and anyone reading) work through this phase. Hopefully this is something I can look back on when it happens again.

  • Be unselfconscious.
  • Try and work (as much as can be possible) at the time right. Do the creative juices flow more at 1 in the morning or 2 in the afternoon?
  • Be inspired by the world around you. Don’t limit inspiration to design, study nature and people, animals and anything outside of the art world.
  • Ask questions.
  • Be rested, fed, and sit properly. (I seriously need to stop sitting indian style.)
  • Get back to the basics and away from the computer. Pull out some paints or charcoal. Sculpt something.
  • Play word games to help generate ideas.
  • Take a look back into the history of design.
  • See what others are doing.
  • Read a book.
  • Change your surroundings.
  • Work in a comfortable environment.
  • Work on exciting and inspiring things.
  • Take a break.
  • Just get something started.
  • Don’t be afraid to play and experiment.
  • Stick to a schedule.
  • Be accepting that there will be bad days and bad designs.
  • Remember why you wanted to be a graphic designer.


Resources/Additional Info and Tips:









07. Inspiration: Fonts in Use

Seriously. This site. I love this site and could probably spent hours looking through it.


Fonts in Use is more than your average inspiration/gallery of typography or design. It’s clean, efficient, informational, and just a treasure trove of real world examples. It’s broken down and can be searched three ways: by industry (example: automotive, education, film), by format (examples: advertising, branding, newspapers), and by typefaces (examples: Adobe Caslon, Avenir, Folio). Those with accounts can submit their own work or other found examples of typography. Although not updated regularly, there is even a blog with interesting and relevant entries.

fontsinuse_2 fontsinuse_1 fontsinuse_3

Spooky, creepy, bloody, hellish Halloween type… or not?

Every Halloween season we are continuously inundated with those fonts. You know which ones I am referring to; the typical blood dripping, finger strokes in blood, or scratchy, jagged, asymmetrical jumbles. How about the ones made out of bones or tombstones? Pumpkins? You see these everywhere from your local big box advertisements to haunted houses to the flyer for the Halloween party at the corner bar. But do we really need these novelty fonts to get across the point? Below are the advertisement/promotional posters and art work from some of the most iconic horror movies of ALL time. The may be cheesy or truly scary; they may be 60 years old or 10, but they all have one thing in common: standard, basic fonts. None of that stuff you find if you run a search for “halloween fonts”. Some are sans serif, some are not, color and perspective might add some dimension and difference but these types could be used just about anywhere, especially in areas outside of horror. And doesn’t this kind of make them just a bit scarier? A normal facade, hiding horrors beyond belief? Tricking you into believing that maybe they aren’t really that scary? Either way… Happy Halloween!

MV5BMjA0NDQ2MzMxMF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwODg5MTkzMjE@._V1__SX1633_SY917_ MV5BMjA4OTc0NDEzNF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNzI1MzAwMQ@@._V1__SX1633_SY917_ MV5BMjE1NzI5OTA1OF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMjg1MDUyMQ@@._V1__SX1633_SY917_    MV5BMjIwMjM1MjM4NV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNTgyMzUzMw@@._V1__SX1633_SY917_ MV5BMTgxMjIyNTc5Nl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMjgwNDgwNzE@._V1__SX1633_SY917_ MV5BMTI0ODQ4NDkwNV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNDQ3MTU1MQ@@._V1__SX1633_SY917_ MV5BMTI4OTU2NjY5OF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTYwOTQ2Mzg3._V1__SX1633_SY917_  MV5BMTkyNzc4NjkwNV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNzI2Mjc1MDE@._V1__SX1633_SY917_ MV5BMTQ2MjAxODUyNl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwOTExMzUzMDE@._V1__SX1633_SY917_ MV5BMTQ2NzkzMDI4OF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMDA0NzE1NA@@._V1__SX1633_SY917_ MV5BMTU4NjE2MjgwN15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMjEyMTMyMQ@@._V1__SX1633_SY917_ MV5BMTUzNjI5NTUwOV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMDAyMDQyMQ@@._V1__SX1633_SY917_ MV5BMTYxNTYzODU4MV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNjEzNzIzMQ@@._V1__SX1633_SY917_ MV5BMTYzOTk5MDMwNl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMTE0MDIyMQ@@._V1__SX1633_SY917_  MV5BNjUyNjU0NDE0OV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTYwNzcwMzg3._V1__SX1633_SY917_MV5BNDMwOTk5MDgyMF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMDgwNDgwNzE@._V1__SX1633_SY917_ MV5BNTg5NjkxMjUxNF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNzk1NDc2MTE@._V1__SX1633_SY917_ MV5BODMxMjE3NTA4Ml5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNDc0NTIxMDE@._V1__SX1633_SY917_

Images from imdb.com.

07. Resources: Lorem Ipsum

Currently working on a project at work and was given the vague instruction of writing a descriptive paragraph for the event I was designing for. An event I didn’t even know existed before yesterday. An event I know absolutely zilch about. So I resorted to filler text, or some Lorem Lipsum, at least for the time being.

Of course I am a newbie at the whole InDesign thing and totally did not realize that there was a way (an incredibly easy way) to add placeholder text in the software. So I searched for a generator and came across lipsum.com. They had this great introduction to Lorem Ipsum and I realized that I had NO idea what this text was, I always thought it was gibberish, and was completely interested in the history behind it.

So basically Lorem Ipsum is a collection of filler text that has been used in the printing and typesetting industries for HUNDREDS of years, since 1500 actually. It was popularized in modern industries such as computer and design in both the 1960s and 1980s. The MOST interesting thing though about Lorem Ipsum is that although it looks entirely random, it isn’t. It is actually based on a piece of Latin literature from 45 BC. It comes from a book on the theory of ethics called “de Finibus Bonorum et Malorum” by Cicero. It is from the sections 1.10.32-3 and a passage that begins: Neque porro quisquam est qui dolorem ipsum quia dolor sit amet consectetur adipisci velit. You can see the Lorem Ipsum bolded in the sentence. The translation is: Neither is there anyone who loves, pursues or desires pain itself because it is pain.

Lorem Ipsum is simply a jumble of Latin originally created by some unknown printer from way back in the day, who scrambled up letters and type to create a specimen book. Somehow and amazingly it has survived FIVE centuries to still be a rather large part of design today in terms of model text.







P.S. If you’re like me and still an amateur at InDesign, you can find the option to insert placeholder type (not quite Lorem Ipsum but very similar) by clicking on Type and then scrolling to the bottom of the drop down menu and clicking on “Fill with Placeholder Text”.

04. Typographers for Designers: Jan Tschichold

Jan Tschichold once claimed to be one of the most powerful influences on 20th century typography and his career was evidence of this. He created numerous font families including the well-known Sabon, worked with numerous foundries (such as Adobe), had a career that spanned nearly 55 years, and authored The New Typography (among other books), which after  87 years is STILL in publication.

Tschichold developed a taste for lettering as an assistant to his father, a sign writer. He started teaching illustration at only the age of 14 which led eventually to his own pursuit of education in any and all creative areas of study such as: engraving, bookbinding, wood cutting, and especially in calligraphy and script. Influenced by Bauhaus, Tschichold began to develop sans-serif fonts which quickly brought him under the scrutiny of the Nazi’s because they believed his typography to be un-German. Although his home was raided and he was briefly imprisoned, he was able to relocate to Switzerland. Eventually he drew away from the sans-serifs and returned to a classical style (which he had favored before the Bauhaus) with his type and design. Throughout his life, he taught at numerous schools, freelanced as a commercial graphic designer, worked for many publishers (including a position as art director at Penguin Books), and worked as a design consultant. All in all, sounds like a pretty busy and yet very successful life.

sabon 2







03. Typographers for Designers: KLIM

KLIM type foundry was a bit hard to research in terms of history and information, so please bear with one of my sources being Wikipedia (not the most reliable I know).

KLIM was founded by Kris Sowersby in 2005 and is based out of New Zealand. This foundry designs retail fonts, custom fonts, as well as lettering and logos. His first font released was Feijoa, released in 2007.



It’s the lettering and logos section that is especially cool and captivating to a student of typography because there are numerous displays and examples of just how type is more than just text. It often serves as a brand or creates an emotion.




The KLIM website is pretty awesome from my own personal perspective. I love the simplicity and straight-forwardness of it. It’s matter-of-fact: here is what we do and here are examples. The fact that you can test drive the fonts right there in the window is pretty smooth too.



On a person note, and if Wikipedia is to be fully trusted, it looks like Sowersby was born the same year as I was which leaves me feeling both inspired that he could be so successful in typography at this point in life and also feeling a bit behind as I am only now starting my journey into design.






06. Resources: Ethics in Design

Recently and by the most random occurrence of chance, I discovered a piece of work that I originally was awe-struck and inspired by to be lifted almost directly from another source. This piece was intended for commercial use and then (fortunately?) rejected in favor of another. Still, this left me feeling a variety of things: shock, disbelief, amazed. It also leaves me questioning the other works done by this person. Was this a one time thing? Does this happen often? Is any of their work really theirs?

With the ease and quick access of the internet and most things technological, the chance to steal and “borrow” inspiration, ideas, fonts, illustrations, images, and anything of the sort is incredibly available and almost ripe for the taking. One of the most valuable lessons a developing designer SHOULD learn are copyright laws, rules of appropriation, the Creative Commons licenses, design ethics, permissions, and how to read/find/decipher other assorted licenses.

I am not sure if all of this is taught in the graphic design program here at Wayne State. I know that during the completion of my web programming associates, the topics of ethics and copyright were only briefly touched upon in my final web theory class. There really should be a course devoted directly to the subject and required early on in order to instill good practices in design.

The following are a couple of good resources to self-educate and read more about these topics:

Creative Commons

AIGA: Business and Ethics (to see a larger version of their publication/manual on ethics: click here)


06. Inspiration: My Peers

Probably the coolest thing about being an art/design student is the wealth of creativity that  surrounds me on a daily basis. The whole academic setting at least from an artistic standpoint (because those general education courses I could do without) is amazing to be in. It’s awesome to have teachers that are trained, educated, experienced in all of these fields. The opportunities to learn from all disciplines of art is exciting, encouraging, and constantly a learning and development experience. I love seeing how techniques can be used and applied across these disciplines. Most of all though, it is incredibly inspiring and aspiring to see all the work my classmates put out. It’s interesting to see everyone’s different takes on projects and assignments. From still-life drawings to foam sculptures to typography expression compositions to everything in between, this environment is a great one to grow and develop as an artist/designer. I will be sad when the day comes that I will not be surrounded by such a vast group of talented individuals.

02. Reflection: Font Mannerisms

When we were first introduced to the project of Font Mannerisms, I must admit I thought it was going to be relatively easy. And then came part two. And then part three. And then the task of documenting our processes. And then the creation of a book. So man I was really wrong. The entire project became harder and harder as it progressed.

Originally assigned Utopia, I had a hard time locating a download of it as to work at home (little did I realize this would only be the first of many technical issues to plague me as the project went along). Luckily I was able to switch up my font to Futura and this made me incredibly joyous and exciting. I don’t know what it is, but sans-serif fonts just excite me. They seem so simple, so minimal, and yet can vary greatly from font to font and across the families. Serifs seem to add such a formality and stuffiness that just does not appeal to me.

Supposedly Stephen King has said “Any word you have to hunt for in a thesaurus is the wrong word. There are no exceptions to this rule.” Well he was wrong too. The thesaurus became my best friend during this project (so much so it has placed itself in my top sites in Safari) and a source of great inspiration. Too many times my process of work came to a screeching halt due to lack of inspiration in my word choices, in the words I wanted to use to express how Futura made me feel and what it made me think. The thesaurus was always there to give me numerous ways to delve deeper in my thinking and give me new and exciting ways of expressing the random and boring words that came to mind.

Other issues I had throughout this project, and when I think about it there seems like there was a whole lot, but here goes a brief summarization. I’ve had a hard time this semester getting on the same level as my design teachers. Not in a technical or talent way, but just in a way that I understand what they want or what they expect. Things I find aesthetically pleasing or things that I feel meet the requirements often fail to do so or fail to impress. I often drew a blank at how to differentiate and compare parts of the anatomy because I wanted to be creative and I wanted to think outside the box, but it just wasn’t happening (hello mid-semester, is it Christmas yet?). After the critique of the finished work, I realized that my expressive compositions didn’t seem to match up with the class. Maybe I did too much, though I thought I did too little. Maybe I didn’t get the point of the third project. I am pleased with my results wherever they fit in there and have added more expressionist typography pieces to my ever growing list of personal artwork to create (with no restrictions and parameters of course). I do wish I would have put more of an effort into my cover page. My peers really stretched their creativity with their covers and mine was simple and boring (although if I have to rationalize it now, it did fit with my minimalistic and scientific design to the whole layout). The technical issues I faced (which could be a whole blog themselves) I can only attribute to mushy school brain and desperate time crunches. As much as possible, I need to budget my time more wisely and clear my mind before working.

All in all, it was a great project to do, a great help in really studying a font up close and type anatomy, and a great way to think of type as art and not just letters.




OProject 2