Easy-to-follow video tutorials help you learn software, creative, and business skills.Become a member

Working with color and tonal weight: Exercises

From: Foundations of Typography

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.

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.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Foundations of Typography
Foundations of Typography

46 video lessons · 30488 viewers

Ina Saltz
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  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

Start learning today

Get unlimited access to all courses for just $25/month.

Become a member
Sometimes @lynda teaches me how to use a program and sometimes Lynda.com changes my life forever. @JosefShutter
@lynda lynda.com is an absolute life saver when it comes to learning todays software. Definitely recommend it! #higherlearning @Michael_Caraway
@lynda The best thing online! Your database of courses is great! To the mark and very helpful. Thanks! @ru22more
Got to create something yesterday I never thought I could do. #thanks @lynda @Ngventurella
I really do love @lynda as a learning platform. Never stop learning and developing, it’s probably our greatest gift as a species! @soundslikedavid
@lynda just subscribed to lynda.com all I can say its brilliant join now trust me @ButchSamurai
@lynda is an awesome resource. The membership is priceless if you take advantage of it. @diabetic_techie
One of the best decision I made this year. Buy a 1yr subscription to @lynda @cybercaptive
guys lynda.com (@lynda) is the best. So far I’ve learned Java, principles of OO programming, and now learning about MS project @lucasmitchell
Signed back up to @lynda dot com. I’ve missed it!! Proper geeking out right now! #timetolearn #geek @JayGodbold
Share a link to this course

What are exercise files?

Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course. Save time by downloading the author's files instead of setting up your own files, and learn by following along with the instructor.

Can I take this course without the exercise files?

Yes! If you decide you would like the exercise files later, you can upgrade to a premium account any time.

Become a member Download sample files See plans and pricing

Please wait... please wait ...
Upgrade to get access to exercise files.

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Learn by watching, listening, and doing, Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along Premium memberships include access to all exercise files in the library.


Exercise files

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

For additional information on downloading and using exercise files, watch our instructional video or read the instructions in the FAQ.

This course includes free exercise files, so you can practice while you watch the course. To access all the exercise files in our library, become a Premium Member.

Are you sure you want to mark all the videos in this course as unwatched?

This will not affect your course history, your reports, or your certificates of completion for this course.


Mark all as unwatched Cancel

Congratulations

You have completed Foundations of Typography.

Return to your organization's learning portal to continue training, or close this page.


OK
Become a member to add this course to a playlist

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses—and create as many playlists as you like.

Get started

Already a member?

Become a member to like this course.

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses.

Get started

Already a member?

Exercise files

Learn by watching, listening, and doing! Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along. Exercise files are available with all Premium memberships. Learn more

Get started

Already a Premium member?

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Ask a question

Thanks for contacting us.
You’ll hear from our Customer Service team within 24 hours.

Please enter the text shown below:

The classic layout automatically defaults to the latest Flash Player.

To choose a different player, hold the cursor over your name at the top right of any lynda.com page and choose Site preferencesfrom the dropdown menu.

Continue to classic layout Stay on new layout
Exercise files

Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.

Mark videos as unwatched

Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.

Control your viewing experience

Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.

Interactive transcripts

Click on text in the transcript to jump to that spot in the video. As the video plays, the relevant spot in the transcript will be highlighted.

Are you sure you want to delete this note?

No

Your file was successfully uploaded.

Thanks for signing up.

We’ll send you a confirmation email shortly.


Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

Keep up with news, tips, and latest courses with emails from lynda.com.

Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

   
submit Lightbox submit clicked
Terms and conditions of use

We've updated our terms and conditions (now called terms of service).Go
Review and accept our updated terms of service.