Let’s talk about text, baby

I love type, but I find that most days, I don’t get much of a chance to really play with it like I like to. I miss the luxury of school (anything that costs more than a pair of Louboutins is a luxury), where we’d be given typography assignments that let us play around with letters and words, creating interesting patterns with them.

Typographical arrangement for the NSLC's annual report. I made up this fact. They tell me that the number is totally insane.

I’ve been wanting to get back into doing things like this, mostly as creative exercises to keep me interested in design. Of course, creative exercises in and of themselves are also something of a luxury; it seems like that pesky work keeps getting in the way.

Part of a newsletter for the Wicker Emporium

Lately I’ve found, however, that there’ve been some opportunities to incorporate some more interesting typographical arrangements into my work, and as a result I’ve been paying better attention to the shapes that letters form and how they fit together. It’s a bit more time and effort, but I’m enjoying it, and I think it lends a certainly liveliness to pieces that might otherwise be a little tame.

Butterfly tag for a line of jewelry

So, while I’m still hoping to get into doing more self-assigned creative exercises, it’s redeeming to be able to find opportunities in my work in which to pay more attention to type. I seem to be crazy-busy these days, which is great, but it means that if I’ve got some down-time, I’m not exactly in the mood to stare at my computer.

Part of a print ad, again for the Wicker Emporium. Their branding allows for three fonts, so I'm rather familiar with the peculiarities of each. Luckily, this one (Fontin) is a rather well-made typeface. I love its G.

Playing with type is a great way to indulge my more detail-oriented side (that would probably be all of my sides, actually). I’ve got a lot to learn, but the more I do it, the more I start noticing minute details—which, really, is what makes for good typographic arrangements.

Another piece from the NSLC's annual report. We're going for a magazine-style look, and the whole thing will have a heavy focus on typography in order to give it some visual interest.

Of course, this isn’t likely to make me more enjoyable to be around in a social context. (“Look at that gap between those letters! Whoever kerned that ought to be shot!” doesn’t make for the most scintillating cocktail-party conversation. I think my friends are tired enough of my constant running commentary on menus, posters, and the like.)

But it’ll make me a better designer.