Typography Crimes

  1. Horizontal and vertical scaling (distorted proportions).
  2. Typefaces that work well large but don’t work well small.
  3. Minimal differences in type size.
  4. Pseudo italics.
  5. Pseudo small caps.
  6. Leading that is not adjusted (spacing between lines which appears uneven).
  7. Single family mixes: too close in weight to mix well.
  8. Multiple family mixes: two type styles that are too similar to provide a counterpoint.
  9. Mixing (weights) and squeezing fonts.
  10. Quotation marks that carve out chunks of white space rather than hanging and creating a clean edge by pushing the quotation marks into the margin.
  11. Tightly tracked (spaced) letters/text.
  12. Loosely tracked/spaced lowercase letters, especially italics.
  13. Auto spacing gives an uneven effect.
  14. Poorly shaped text blocks.
  15. Text columns that are full of holes due to justification.
  16. Bad rag (wedge shaped = bad; ragged edge = good)
  17. Lots of punctuation at the edge of text blocks.
  18. Stacked lowercase letters.
  19. Too many signals: paragraph spacing AND indents.
  20. Too may signals:for emphasis (example: using bold, italic, underlined, caps).
  21. Data prisons (data trapped inside cells).


Example of horizontal and vertical scaling:

IMG_7894 copyIMG_7902

Example of typefaces that [might] work well large but not so well small:

IMG_7904 copy

Example of tightly tracked/spaced letters (fresh peacock in the second one!?!):

IMG_7896 copy


Example of lots of punctuation at the edge of text blocks:

IMG_7897 copy

Example of too many signals (larger font size, underlined, bolder; also not consistent):

IMG_7905 copy


These don’t fit into a specific type crime necessarily but they still seem off:

IMG_7898 copyIMG_7899IMG_7901

This last one bothers me because it seems unnecessary to have such wide leading, the two columns of introductory text. It all seems unnecessary, a waste of space, and distracting to the awesome image in the background.

Oh and a typo:

IMG_7895 copy


03. Reflection: Fictional Characters and Constraint Systems

I’m not sure what I was thinking when I first heard “fictional characters” or why my brain did not process the word fictional in there, but this project was definitely not what I was expecting. And then to learn it would be collaborative as well, just really made me cringe after the not-so-great group projects I have been a part of this semester. All in all though, I think this was a successful project and a successful collaboration between my partner and me.

I was first tasked with coming up with the preliminary work for the fictional letter. This meant coming up with what could possibly be the 27th letter of the alphabet. A letter which, although fictional, could blend in with the rest of the letters and with the type classification that I was assigned: Modern. Modern typefaces are known for their vertical axis, contrast between strokes, and their thin and straight serifs. I opted to focus on Didot in particular because it was a typeface that I have never directly worked with.

Initially I was drawn to the idea of creating a truly functional fictional letter. The idea of letter frequency interested in me. TH HE AN RE ER IN ON AT ND ST ES EN OF TE ED OR TI HI AS TO are the most common pairs of letters and so I focused on those quite a bit in my sketches.

Sketch_series 1 Sketch_series 2

After the initial sketches, it was time to digitize a few:

Digitized letter sketches-01

After this stage it was time for the collaboration part. I had to hand off all of files to my partner, Juan, who was then required to complete my vision of the fictional letter form. While I had been working on the fictional letter form, Juan had been working on a separate project that he was handing over to me called constraint systems. The goal of this project was to create modular letterforms to visually express an assigned noun and adjective. Juan’s were “destruction” and “graceful” respectively. After receiving his sketches (a few are shown below) I was responsible for bringing his vision to life. One quick side note, I did change Juan’s modular form from a square to a circle because I felt it would be easier to convey “graceful” with.

new doc 47_1 new doc 46_1

Here are our finished pieces.

new doc 49_1 new doc 44_1



All in all this was a very enjoyable project. With the fictional letter form, it was most difficult to throw out the letters I already knew existed to create something never seen before. Yet this letter also had to follow the style of both the Modern classification and Didot. It was really hard to not just throw two letters together and call it a day. It was a very deliberate process with lots of tweeking. When I learned what the second project was, I was a little scared by the idea of creating a whole word, two whole words, two really loooong words, with all these little modular forms, but the work went by relatively quickly and with ease. I was also a bit nervous when I saw all these complex modular systems go up for critique, but I believe Juan’s ideas for graceful- expressing movement, rhythm, and a fluidity with curves- really helped that piece stick out among the more geometric, squared-off work of our peers.

Juan and I worked well together. We handed off complete files with numerous ideas and a clear idea of our visions and there was a steady stream of communication throughout the process. I also know that we were both pleased with the work each other did, we both felt the other was successful with completing the tasks, and were both pleased at the positive feedback we received during critiques.  So again, all in all, a very enjoyable project.

Additionally, I feel as though these type of projects are beneficial to learning to work with another person in the design process. As I mentioned in my critique, I currently work with a fellow student, and OFTEN we are asked to work out and resize each other’s work. It is sometimes hard to go into another person’s art and/or files and start playing around with them, but ultimately the goal is to keep their vision and intents in tact while accomplishing a goal or directive set by our boss, or in this particular project, a teacher. These sort of projects also help to teach communication, timeliness, and even organization.


Vernacular Typography

I just thought I would share this website/project that I found: vernaculartypography.com. It looks as though this artist has/had an idea similar to that of Jessica Krcmarik who gave us the lecture in class a bit back about her project: Gratiot and Riopelle. Both projects seek to preserve the old typography used in urban environments; Vernacular Typography on a global level, Gratiot and Riopelle on a Detroit level. The HUGE difference between the two is that VT seems more of a collection of images documenting the typography, while G&R is attempting to recreate the fonts used in these old signs. Just thought I would share for the similarities and differences. The Vernacular Typography collection is pretty neat to look at, especially those from foreign countries.

012. Resources: Thinking with Type… on the web!!

So go figure there is a website for Ellen Lupton’s book, Thinking with Type. I mean sure EVERYTHING has a website these days, but I would have thought it to be one of those book websites. You know the ones that really don’t provide much information on anything; maybe a super short excerpt from the book, maybe even a chapter, perhaps the table of contents. And THEN lots of where and when to buy said book, glowing reviews. I mean I can even envision what these websites look like in my mind. Lots of text, BIG titles, little to no images. Does anyone else know what I am talking about?? Well guess what. Thinking with Type isn’t like that! Okay, there is a rotating banner of glowing reviews at the top BUT the site is informational! While it doesn’t have the whole book online, it has numerous sections- look at all the sections:

thinking with type

– quickly available for reference. I’m thinking they’re really there to encourage one to buy the book, but for someone who already owns the book, the website is a great go-to-on-the run for information, when I do not have my copy with me. So excited to have found this!

PS. Check out the Type Crimes games!

Edit: I just read that the site was built as a companion to the book, so there are numerous lectures, assignments, exercises, and handouts. Which is even more exciting to me, so that I can practice and continue with typography well after this typography class is over.

012. Inspiration: Recommended WordPress Blogs

One of my first blog posts was about finding inspiration all around us. Originally I meant that to be in the most literal way; nature, architecture, fashion, advertisements. These intentional and not so intentional designs surround us, consume our spaces, so much so that we may be obvious to them and yet if we take the time to look and recognize them, we can understand their designs and messages. Sometimes though, we need to seek out inspiration, the inspiration that we may not come across in our daily lives, the ones pertinent to our careers, hobbies, and education. Ultimately that is what I have been trying to accomplish with this category in my blog, but I forgot to look right under my nose.

I’ve recently been browsing the blogs WordPress has recommended for me (not sure how this works- if it gets updated- where can I find more) because well duh! here I am on WordPress writing about inspiration when there are TONS of blogs of inspiration just a click a way. I love to see other artist’s work and the styles they’ve created or excelled at, the new and unique ideas. I like to value and appreciate their skill, wonder how they did that, and day dream about a day that I might be that talented, that maybe someone might want to purchase something I made.

Below are some of the most awe-inspiring artists I’ve found on WordPress, or artists whose work truly inspires and excites me. Please check them out.

Caitlin Clarks – Illustrator (super cute and incredibly detailed illustrations)



blog.cupick.com (Cupick is a visual platform for artists to share and sell work, but their blog is this incredibly fun range of quirky random art articles and great interviews.)


milinkovic.co (weird and interesting abstract paintings and prints)



lizardpudding.com (awesome, quirky art in a variety of mediums)



 (adorable little comic constructed entirely out of scrap materials)unique, and visually captivating)



picturette.wordpress.com (prints, photography, and design)


bryannachapeskie.com (illustrations, print, design- all freaking adorable)



sarahgoodreau.com (really fun illustrations)



dianefoug.com (sculpture, drawings, and etchings- the sculptures are just so interesting and visually captivating)


011. Inspiration: Type Art

As I was searching through the internet for some inspiration for this blog post, I came across this article from 99designs’ Designers Blog: 25 Mind-blowing Typography Art Projects. Some of the projects listed in this article are so, well mind-blowing. Mind-blowing in the sense that they are interesting, advanced, skilled, fun, awesome to look at, often sculptural, thoughtful, and pretty exquisite. I think that I find these so inspiring because I love the mixture of typography into art and/or the taking of typography and expanding on the idea that it is an art form, can be art alone. These pieces make me eager for time to get back into creating my own art so that I too can experiment and play around with typography as art.


Vacuum-packed type — an experimental typeface by txaber.


Lauren Hom’s hilarious Daily Dishonesty series takes tidbits of often-given, rarely-followed advice we give ourselves and renders them beautifully in striking type. 


Wood Type — another impressive experimental typeface by Txaber.


Sabeena Karnik molded the entire alphabet in ornate, cut-paper forms.


Spanish art collective Boa Mistura painted passage ways in a Brazil slum with bright colors and white forms that, seen from the right angle, resolve into letters spelling words like “belleza” (beauty) and “orgulho” (pride).


A sculpture by Damien Roach that reads “Avant Garde” when seen head-on, but merely looks like sundry geometric forms from other angles.


Artist Farhad Moshiri jams knives into the wall. Seen from the right perspective, they resolve into an elegant script. 


Read the article for more awesome artwork and links for all the artists displayed here.

011. Resources: ILoveTypography.com

ILoveTypography.com is a great resource for those who also love typography, or at the very least those who want to learn more about it. It appears to be a collection of articles on varying topics, and book reviews, and interviews, and history, and tips and resources for creating fonts. As a newbie in the world of typography, one of the areas I always look for on these sites is the basic type education. And ILT’s beginner articles are no disappointment either. You can find the main page of resources here.


Some of my favorite resources in particular are the following:

Who Shot the Serif? – A history and education on serifs, followed by part 2 which is The Return of the Serif which is quirkier dive into the topic of serifs.

Identify That Font – A collection of resources out on the web to help find specific fonts.

So You Want to Create a Font – Step by step guide to creating your own fonts. (Something I would love to attempt in the near future, time permitting).

There is also a list of recommended references too for typographic terms.


Some of the more interesting articles I read and appreciated:

The First Female Typographer

Beauty and Ugliness in Type Design

The Origins of abc

iFont, iPhone


All in all, ILT seems like a fun, educational, and entertaining way of learning and reading about all things type. With archives stretching back to 2007, I have lots of reading to do!

07. Typographers for Designers: Eric Gill

Just like László Moholy-Nagy in my previous post, Eric Gill was a jack of all trades in the art world. He was a painter, sculptor, stonecutter, and a type designer. His name might be familiar as it is the namesake of the famous Gill Sans font family.


Gill is also known for the Perpetual and Joanna typefaces.



This here, is a comprehensive list of the fonts created by Gill:


According to a timeline of Gill’s work history on Linotype.com, it would appear that the man let an intensive work career in the arts and especially in type:

1899–1903 – Works in an architect’s office. Takes lessons in lettering with Edward Johnston at the Central School of Arts and Crafts in London.

1905–09 – Produces initials and book covers for Insel publishers in Leipzig.

1906 – Designs initials for Ashedene Press.

1907 – Moves to Ditchling, Sussex. Here he produces stone sculptures, including for the BBC building in London.

1914 – Produces sculptures for the stations of the cross in Westminster Cathedral in London.

1925–31 – Works for the Golden Cockerell Press (initials, illustrations and an exclusive text type).

1927–30 – Develops Gill Sans.

1928 – Works for London Underground’s administrative headquarters. With his son-in-law he founds his own hand-press which prints luxury bibliophile editions.

1927–30 – Develops Golden Cockerell Roman.

1929 – Develops Solus.

1929–30 – Develops Perpetua.

1930 – Illustrations for the last number of “The Fleuron” magazine.

1930–31 – Develops Joanna.

1932 – Develops Aries.

1932 – Develops Floriated Capitals.

1934 – Develops Jubilee.

1937 – Designs a postage stamp which is in use for 15 years.

1936 – Made a Royal Designer for Industry.

1938 – Produces stone tablets for the League of Nations building in Geneva.

“The shapes of letters do not derive their beauty from any sensual or sentimental reminiscences. No one can say that the O’s roundness appeals to us only because it is like that of an apple or of a girl’s breast or of the full moon. Letters are things, not pictures of things.”


Also, and not to overshadow Eric Gill’s achievements, but the man led a very eccentric personal life, that might be interesting to read more about; including his development of three self-sufficient religious communities.

EDIT: Interestingly enough, I just found this article after I published this blog. It looks like Monotype has revamped and remastered Eric Gill’s Gill Sans and Joanna for the 21st-century.

Additional Resources and Information:





06. Typographers for Designers: László Moholy-Nagy

László Moholy-Nagy was genuinely a jack of all trades artistically. He was a photographer, sculptor, and probably most famously, a painter. In the context of this course though, he was a pioneer of graphic design. Influenced by such styles like constructivism and expressionism, he expanded on the idea of photo montages with what he called “typo-photo”. These were a blending of photography and typography. Huge components of graphic design today and huge components in the development of graphic design in the early twentieth century.

“What is typophoto? Typography is communication composed in type. Photography is the visual presentation of what can be optically apprehended. Typophoto is the visually most exact rendering of communication.”

1 2 3

Resources and additional information can be found at:




05. Typographers for Designers: typecuts / Andrea Tinnes

Andrea Tinnes is awesome.

Her work is just absolutely amazing and SO. MUCH. FUN. It’s quirky, bright, interesting. It was so hard to only grab a selection of her work for this post because it is all so so very cool.


Andrea Tinnes is a type and graphic designer located in Berlin. She is also an educator and has been teaching for numerous years. Typecuts is the label Tinnes created to independently produce and create contemporary fonts. The typecut website is a vast collection of Andrea Tinnes work in both typography, graphic design and her approach to education including assignments (unfortunately all in German currently).

The whole website is neat and clean, and the way it is sectioned off is really organized. One of the things that stands out most to me, is that it isn’t just pictures. There are detailed descriptions of the works, what they were for, why they were created, the fonts used, clients, typefaces, and so on. It’s really nice to see a piece of work and get a bigger picture of it.


Typecuts_B Typecuts_C Typecuts_D Typecuts_A

The typefaces Tinnes creates are unique and exciting. The way they are displayed are very informational too. There is a specimen piece, information regarding the types, single font views, character sets, fonts in use, and a downloadable PDF. How much more information could you want to know?

One of the most intriguing sets she creates are these dingbat-ornamental-esque graphical fonts. All designed at the same width and height and with the same center, so that when overplayed, the ability to create crazy, different icons is available.


In her teaching section she also displays student artwork too, which is absolutely inspiring. I don’t know what they assignments were but the quality of both the work and the display is absolutely amazing. I don’t know what the standards are in Germany but I feel as though they put to shame anything that I have created thus far in my education.

Typecuts_4 Typecuts_3

If it was seriously and financially possible to own all of Andrea Tinnes fonts right now, I would love it and jump at the chance. I feel as though I enjoy her work so much because it blends with my own design aesthetics, loves, and inspirations. Playing around with any of these would be incredibly fun. I sincerely hope she puts up her teaching lessons and assignments in English because I would love to see her approach and ideas. Definitely a designer to follow in the future.