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Typographic abominations

From: Foundations of Typography

Video: Typographic abominations

Most of this course is about the do's of type usage, but along the way I have to point out a few all too common errors. It is excruciatingly painful when I see type that has been abused and misused. I call these typographic abominations. Please, pay attention so that you will not be responsible for any of these. But proceed at your own peril. Being sensitive to good type usage is a good thing, but I warn you, once I point them out you too will see typographic abominations, and it will hurt.

Typographic abominations

Most of this course is about the do's of type usage, but along the way I have to point out a few all too common errors. It is excruciatingly painful when I see type that has been abused and misused. I call these typographic abominations. Please, pay attention so that you will not be responsible for any of these. But proceed at your own peril. Being sensitive to good type usage is a good thing, but I warn you, once I point them out you too will see typographic abominations, and it will hurt.

Perhaps the most painful of all is seam type that has been thoughtlessly, carelessly, or ignorantly altered by stretching or squashing. This creates ugly proportions. Specifically, the relationships of the vertical strokes to the horizontal strokes is compromised by even the slightest change in its proportions, something a pro can spot immediately. Unfortunately most stretching and squashing is of the extreme variety. Remember, a skilled type designer took a great deal of time and trouble to design a typeface with harmonious balance, rhythm, and proportions.

If you manipulate those proportions, you are destroying the designer's work. Have you ever seen your reflection in a fun house mirror, it's always unflattering, it's a distortion of what you look like. So keep that in mind if you are tempted to stretch or squash. Instead, find a typeface that has the proportions you are looking for. With the stratospheric number of typefaces available today, you have plenty of choices. Now that I've gotten that off my chest, I'd like to remind you about two other common typographic abominations.

In some programs and with some older type file formats, it's possible to artificially bold or italicize type. This creates an unsightly and obvious distortion of the shape of the type. The software applies a default bulking up or slanting of the type without regard to the original design of the typeface, and it's properly designed bold and italic family members. Another amazingly common typographic abomination is using dumb quotes instead of smart quotes.

Dumb quotes--also called prime marks-- may be used to indicate feet and inches. Here is an example of dumb quotes being used correctly. But for quotes and apostrophes, smart quotes are the way to go. If you can avoid these three common typographic abominations, you won't offend anyone who knows anything about type. More important, you will make our visual world a better place.

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This video is part of

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Foundations of Typography

46 video lessons · 31534 viewers

Ina Saltz
Author

 
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  1. 9m 5s
    1. Welcome
      1m 58s
    2. Why good typography matters
      1m 55s
    3. The power of type
      1m 53s
    4. The theory of typographic relativity
      1m 53s
    5. Getting the most out of this course
      1m 26s
  2. 23m 49s
    1. Serif vs. sans serif
      3m 27s
    2. Display type vs. text type
      3m 39s
    3. Type history
      2m 48s
    4. Type classification
      4m 8s
    5. Other type categories
      3m 24s
    6. Guidelines for combining typefaces
      3m 49s
    7. Using cases
      2m 34s
  3. 18m 28s
    1. Anatomy: Parts and shapes of type
      4m 35s
    2. Size and measurements of type
      2m 18s
    3. Type families: Widths, weights, and slopes
      3m 53s
    4. Reviewing the terminology of type, based on function
      3m 27s
    5. Working with color and tonal weight: Exercises
      4m 15s
  4. 20m 27s
    1. Kerning and kerning pairs
      3m 33s
    2. Tracking and leading
      3m 49s
    3. Exploring variations in type alignment
      3m 55s
    4. Hyphenation and justification
      3m 13s
    5. Indents, outdents, and hanging punctuation
      2m 26s
    6. Other typographic best practices
      3m 31s
  5. 10m 3s
    1. Where type begins: The mark of the hand
      2m 28s
    2. Related parts and shapes: Family resemblances
      4m 35s
    3. Designing a typeface
      3m 0s
  6. 22m 19s
    1. How legibility and readability differ
      3m 48s
    2. Examining factors affecting legibility
      4m 46s
    3. Hierarchy and functionality
      4m 29s
    4. Systematized hierarchy
      3m 52s
    5. Paragraphs, drop caps, and entry points
      2m 41s
    6. Typographic abominations
      2m 43s
  7. 11m 8s
    1. Opposing forces of typography
      3m 8s
    2. The grid: A structure for containing type
      3m 6s
    3. Contrast and scale
      4m 54s
  8. 9m 41s
    1. Typographic expressiveness
      3m 22s
    2. The emotional impact of type
      2m 47s
    3. Three-dimensional type
      3m 32s
  9. 8m 55s
    1. Working with numbers
      2m 10s
    2. Expert characters and analphabetic symbols
      1m 56s
    3. Using typography to navigate content
      1m 51s
    4. Using typography to navigate the environment
      2m 58s
  10. 9m 14s
    1. Managing fonts and building your type library
      3m 14s
    2. Developing your typographic eye
      2m 31s
    3. Breaking the rules
      1m 41s
    4. What's next
      1m 48s

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