Tag Archives: Trends

Type Trends: Hand-cut

A surfacing trend I’m glad to see growing, and a subset of physical type, is the labored-over paper cut genre. Doing work in this vein appeals particularly to the able, young designer because of its cross-disciplinary nature. Designing harmonious typographic compositions to later cut into paper, depending on the scale and depth of the piece veers from the mostly two-dimensional world of traditional graphic design into the realm of three-dimensional set design and art direction. And what designer, after a string of single-color jobs doesn’t want to move on to the intricate, hands-on work of making, lighting, and photographing dioramas?

The effort shows. Here, Spanish design studio Versátil represents the kind of education offered at Antonio López Art School using graphic elements arranged to suggest a bursting forth of ideas. The script up top is Alejandro Paul’s Mr Stalwart.

Strictly speaking, the above sample isn’t type or typography (before anyone accuses me of muddying the waters here), It’s lettering. My point is still the same. When the beholder sees an accessible process applied to an accessible medium, here applying scissors to paper, and notes that it indeed took quite some doing, he is given pause—the familiarity of its elements being the key factor. That this autoinitiated piece from Miguel Dias doesn’t translate perfectly into English I find completely forgivable.

Lastly, an example of a more traditional paper cut. Michael Lomax’s work tells a Hans Christian Anderson tale with graphic illustrative elements and delicate Script and Fraktur lettering. This is no dabbling by the way, Michael’s papercut portfolio is immensely well developed.

Typographic Trends: Handmade

This is the first in a series of trends I see affecting typographic design written by me, David Sudweeks, Type expert here at FontShop. One of the prominent undercurrents I’m noting in design generally is the move toward approachability and authenticity. The movement is fueled by a growing skepticism toward the overproduced, highly finished corporate brand image – or in fact anything that appears too easily reproduced – in favor of a more substantial, personable connection to one’s professional services, goods, etc.. When designing for such an audience, details that reflect thoughtfulness and humanness, such as a bit of playful script lettering or an aptly placed tooltip that gently offers assistance, aid in building a relationship between people and the things we designers make for them.

On using the word typography: Type purists like myself generally don’t appreciate seeing the term typography thrown about so carelessly as to include anything remotely related to letter art, such as graffiti, lettering, sign painting, or handwriting. Typography is the use of type, and type is writing using prefabricated letters (to be unguardedly concise). Lettering, calligraphy, handwriting and traditional engraving, while not type, share many design aspects with type and in fact overlap in their definitions. Rather than focus so narrowly that these disciplines fall outside the scope of the series, I’m including them; noting up front that they’re not all typography.

That said, today we’re only looking at type.

Madelinette carefully reproduces Crystal Kluge’s handwork leading to a nice, approachable result. Crystal’s hand to paper to type follows the traditional model, though also in vogue is type that takes one additional step.

P22 Stanyan, like many members of the Hand-made, Hand-drawn, Paper-cut genre, draw type by hand, and then turn it into type. The application of the hand-drawn style exists across many genres of type. Some are even named after specific faces, like Gert Wiescher’s Franklin Gothic Hand.

In other faces, the influence of the hand determines the construction of the letterforms, like the decision to close the loop of the lowercase g & y in Veronika Burian and José Scaglione’s Bree.

In the next part of the series, we’ll stay on the subject of hand-made type, with an emphasis on it having a presence in the physical world.

Typographic Trends and Undercurrents

Because we’re designers, we’re taught to recognize and make use of contrast in our compositions. We of course don’t stop there however; We see this visual phenomenon at work everywhere – in the way each part interacts with the whole, and on a larger scale, in the way our work interacts with the whole of graphic design. So when something looks particularly new to us, it’s no wonder we take and carry it with us. As new styles and graphic trends develop, we may consider the application of a particular style to our work as not a conscious choice, but only natural. Twenty years later however, we may note that our following the same popular processes and whims led us to unsurprisingly similar results. More concisely, no sooner have we borrowed from something that contrasts the rest, than have we lowered its contrast.

So in thinking about current typographic trends, and how and why they develop, I’ve come up with a few I’ll be hatching serially over the course of the next few weeks, here on Thursdays. While my reluctance to compile a list of things that would most certainly be out of fashion in six months time should be noted, one can also note that – while I’ll be including some of that for reference – this won’t be that.