Archive for March, 2010

What in the world has become of the art of typography?

Typography and type setting have gone through quite a migration over the last 40 plus years.

When I started, the use of lead type was no longer being used except in newspapers. However, we still counted every character (letter for those of you who think a character is the guy next door) and massaged every line so that the block of text looked exactly like we wanted.

Headlines were usually hand drawn with a magic marker on our layout and then everything was sent to the type house. The next day we would get back a printout with our text and headline in the fonts we requested. Then the fun began.

With X-ACTO in hand, we’d cut and paste. Sometimes each line. Sometimes between each character until the color of the words and the line were even and read exactly the way we wanted it too.

Maybe it was the hours we spent under the tutelage of masters like Mort Leach and Doyald Young that made us so acutely aware of letter spacing, word and line color and rivers of white running down the body of text.

In the words of Gene Federico, “When the designer doesn’t read the copy to catch the sound of the words, he runs the risk of misusing the typography. If the rhythm of the words is disregarded the copy is likely to be laid out incorrectly”.

Somehow the computer replacing the drawing board has given rise to some really bad, often cute use of type. Don’t get me wrong, I couldn’t live without my computer and the amazing programs.

But it does make me wonder if a lot of art directors and designers today ever had to hand draw a group of letters with pencil, pen, ink and use a brush with black and white paint for touch up? It is an art form. And in my opinion, learning the art would improve the looks of things.

Branding. Can I Afford It?

I have several small clients and when I suggest they brand their product or service they often ask, what is branding?  And it’s a good question.  What it isn’t, is it is not a logo, a business card, an advertisement or a website.

It is all of the above plus.

It’s a culture.  It’s how you answer your phone, your e-mails, your texts.  It’s how you approach a conversation at your local Chamber After Hours.  It’s how you design and create your product or service so that it is unlike any other in your category or even your town.  It is how you convince the customer that you and your product or service is the only one that can solve their need.  It is even how your stock boy or girl talks with their friends about your business.

Can you do it?  Of course.  But it takes time and patience.  It takes guts.  It takes desire.  I say again, it takes patience.

Can you afford to brand your product or service?  The better question is, can you afford not to?

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