Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Type Means Never Having to Say You're Sorry

Our type journal this week involved us reading the article "Type Means Never Having to Say You're Sorry" on The Design Observer Group (http://observatory.designobserver.com/entry.html?entry=6147). The article was focused on the overuse of Futura, Jessica Helfand, the article's author, had attended a portfolio day and saw the futura (haha sorry to those who hate puns, I couldn't resist).

Futura was invented by Paul Renner in 1928. It was the sans serif font to be widely distributed and picked up speed in a revival trend in 1970. In addition to learning a quick background history from Helfand, her article highlighted a few design points to carry me through to the end of this sophomore year.

1. Things achieved in the past are surprisingly actionable. Remember them. Utilize them. Learn from them.

2. Appropriateness can be wrong. What is considered the obvious solution is not always the best solution. Being creative doesn't always have to be appropriate.

3. Typography's most critical component is the designer's education. Type 2, it's serious business.

4. It's easy to wander, stumble, and fall. Try to lessen the clumsiness. But if you do fall, pick yourself back up again. You don't have time to sit and pout on the ground. Keep. Moving. Forward.

5. To fail to address the degree to which design history plays a fundamental role in any typographic cause of study is nothing short of tragic.

If I were to pick an alternative for Futura, I'd probably pick Akzindenz Grotesk. Although it was made 30 years earlier (1896), it made it's revival around the same time period as Futura did.

The other article I read from the Design Oberserver Group was "Ten Graphic Design Paradoxes," an article written by Adrian Shaughnessy about 10 contradictory themes of graphic designers (http://observatory.designobserver.com/entry.html?entry=8217). Here's a couple of them that I thought were especially pertinent to getting me through this last week.

1. Want to make money? Concentrate on work, not money. If you focus on money, your work is guaranteed to be poor. Do design for the right reasons. Do it because you love it.

2. Verbal skills are more important than visual ones. Be able to sell yourself and your ideas. Make people believe in your cause, your passion. As designers, we're visual people but mold yourselves into verbal ones as well.

3. If we believe in nothing, we shouldn't wonder why no one believes in us.


  1. Oh, Katie--you are so wise beyond your years!! I learn something every time I read your blog.

  2. I'm glad you're continuing to enjoy it! And learn something from me by golly! It's always the other way around! Will have more posts soon, I've been swamped actually producing the work that I haven't had very much time to post things!