Design Journal Post #4

Design Journal Post #4

A few months ago a friend shared this book on Facebook. Her husband is a graphic designer and historian and wrote a ‘cultural biography’ about Futura. After watching Helvetica I wanted to read about Futura. I’m only 50 pages in, but I thought for my design journal this week, I’d review what my thoughts on what I’d read so far and how it might influence future design.

The author is a historian and just as in the movie Helvetica, he talks about the meaning and story behind Futura. He talks about fonts being invented to serve specific purposes, to move society forward into the future. During the 1920s publications were experimenting with various aspects of type. In October 1929 Vanity Fair began publishing titles in lower-cases, but by March 1930, in response to their readers, they began using capital letters again. Futura was part of the experimentation of this time, but it was an experiment that has lasted. I think this example demonstrated that fonts aren’t just dictated by people with taste and experience in design. Fonts are a reflection of the society that uses them. Fonts that last are fonts that appeal to some group or another and they carry more meaning than I’d previously given them credit for.

As I choose fonts in the future, I think I’ll consider the connotations that might exist behind a font. I appreciate being exposed to the role of Helvetica as a universally appreciated font. Pairing fonts is another aspect that I’ll be giving more thought in the future. As I worked on my banner assignment I had to look at the fonts that were used on my wordpress site to see if the font would match. I also realized my lack of font awareness. I need to develop an eye for fonts to recognize a font and remember which types of fonts can be paired. So much of graphic design comes from looking at hundreds of examples and developing that discernment. This book offered a lot of visual examples of text that helped that develop.

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