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Foundations of Typography

Working with color and tonal weight: Exercises


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Foundations of Typography

with Ina Saltz

Video: Working with color and tonal weight: Exercises

In this video we are going to look at typographic color. When we use the word color in typography, we don't mean colors of the rainbow, we mean the grayscale or overall tonal weight in a block of text. A block of text will have its own levels of darkness or lightness based on four variables, the typeface, the size of the type, the leading of the type, and the tracking of the type. In the next chapter, we'll talk about tracking and leading, but for now know that leading is the space between lines of type and tracking is how tight or loose the spaces between the letters are overall in a block of text type.
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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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Foundations of Typography
2h 23m Beginner Feb 01, 2013

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

Good typography can add tremendous power to your design and your message, whether it is a print- or screen-based project, a still or motion graphic, a 3D or 2D graphic. This course explains good typographic practices, so that you can develop an "eye" for type and understand how to effectively use it. Author Ina Saltz explains type classifications (serif vs. sans serif, display type vs. text type), how type is measured, sized, and organized, and how spacing and alignment affect your design. She also explains how to use kerning, tracking, leading, and line length, and covers the history and current trends in typography. The course teaches the principles of legibility, readability, and compatibility, and how they should be considered when you're selecting and designing with type.

Topics include:
  • What is typography?
  • Differentiating type characteristics
  • Using ornamental and decorative type
  • Combining typefaces
  • Using contrast and scale
  • Kerning and kerning pairs
  • Choosing the optimum line length
  • Aligning and spacing characters, words, and paragraphs
  • Understanding factors affecting legibility
  • Working with three-dimensional type
  • Putting type in motion
Subjects:
Design Typography Design Skills
Author:
Ina Saltz

Working with color and tonal weight: Exercises

In this video we are going to look at typographic color. When we use the word color in typography, we don't mean colors of the rainbow, we mean the grayscale or overall tonal weight in a block of text. A block of text will have its own levels of darkness or lightness based on four variables, the typeface, the size of the type, the leading of the type, and the tracking of the type. In the next chapter, we'll talk about tracking and leading, but for now know that leading is the space between lines of type and tracking is how tight or loose the spaces between the letters are overall in a block of text type.

Here are a couple of exercises that I used to teach my students to see the tonal weight of a block of text. The first exercise just uses leading or the space between lines as a variable. You can use a printout from your exercise files to follow along or create them from scratch if you'd like. First, using any design program--I prefer InDesign which I'm using here--create a block of type, 2 inches wide and approximately 8 inches deep. Using any text typeface, for example, Sabon, fill it with 8-point placeholder text and change the spaces between the lines from very tight.

You can even let the lines touch for this project and gradually open the line spaces up until there is quite a bit of space between the lines at the bottom of the text box. There should be a smooth transition from very tight lines of type to very open lines of type. Now I want you print it out, pause the movie, go ahead, we'll wait. Now draw a rectangle exactly the same size next to your block of text type. Look at your type printout and squint until you can't read the text, but you can see the shade of gray it creates.

Using a pencil, shade the blank box until its gray shading matches the gray tones of the type. See how close you can come to matching the color or tonal weight of the text. Here is another exercise, you can try for yourself which shows the difference in tonal weight based on the choice of typeface. For this exercise, we'll compare serif typefaces that are appropriate for text settings, but you can also try the same thing with San Serifs. Start by creating eight blocks of text type.

20 picas by 26 picas and fill with solid placeholder text, no paragraph breaks in eight different text typefaces. I'm going to use Sabon, Hoefler Text, Palatino, Georgia, Bodoni, Baskerville, Minion Pro, and Perpetua, set them all in eight point type with 10 points of leading, print them out. Now squint to see the differences in tonal weight. Even though the size and leading are the same, you can see that each typeface has a different color based on the design of its letters.

Small differences in the stroke width, contrast, set width, and X-height, give each a different overall weight or tonality. You can take this exercise one step further by increasing the point size in those eight text blocks by one point. Keep the leading at two points larger than the point size. For example, starting with Georgia, set the text at nine points on 11 points leading, 10 points on 12, and 11 points on 13.

Print them out and look at the differences in tonal weight or color. You can't see these differences on screen, you need to print them out, spread them out, and compare their appearances. You can also try subtler changes in half points or quarter points. These exercises will help you really see the density of typographic color on a page so that when you need to choose a text typeface or to compare some text typefaces, you will know what you are looking for, and you will see the subtle, but sometimes critical differences in typographic color.

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