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Essential theories of type

From: Motion: Principles of Motion Graphics

Video: Essential theories of type

Now I'll admit it, I am a bit of a type nerd and I found that most people don't really seem to get too excited when they hear someone talking about the theory of just about anything. So if you're watching this, thank you, and I have to tell you that understanding the anatomy of type has made my life so much easier as a designer. For instance, different kinds of types send different messages, either subconsciously or overtly, but either way it's saying something. Also by understanding the basics, you can come up with some interesting solutions for some common design problems.

Essential theories of type

Now I'll admit it, I am a bit of a type nerd and I found that most people don't really seem to get too excited when they hear someone talking about the theory of just about anything. So if you're watching this, thank you, and I have to tell you that understanding the anatomy of type has made my life so much easier as a designer. For instance, different kinds of types send different messages, either subconsciously or overtly, but either way it's saying something. Also by understanding the basics, you can come up with some interesting solutions for some common design problems.

Like, I don't know, how many of you video folks have ever had issues making a large amount of type more readable on the screen? Well, if you knew about x-height and Serifs you'd know what to do. So enough talking. Let's go ahead and look at what we have here on the screen. As you can see I have a couple of different typefaces here and a font. So a font is the file that you install on your computer that renders a typeface. So the typeface is the actual graphic representation created by the font.

So that being said, let's go ahead and move on and start at the top. At the top we have Sans-Serif, which directly translated means without Serif. Now I was always taught never use the same word in the definition, but since we have Serif right underneath, I can explain what that is. So if you look at the bottom or edges of the letters, you'll notice you'll have these little marks and these marks are Serifs and they're designed to help me type more readable. You may notice it in newspapers or anything else that's rather small and printed.

Now as a video designer you have to be careful of Serif fonts, because if you pick a Serif font where the Serifs are too skinny, they'll possibly ring on the screen and you definitely don't want that. Now to jump to the next one, Slab Serif, and the only difference between Slab Serif and Serif is the fact that we have really fat kind of chunky Serifs. Now I put this in here right now because this seems to be all the rage amongst designers. To be really precise, this is a condensed Slab Serif typeface.

If we go to the next one, Ornamental, pretty straightforward. Anything that has designs on the front of the letters. The next one down is Script. It's pretty straightforward any typeface that creates letters that look like they're scripted cursive. It's script. Now this last one down here is your typical wingdings, weddings, what have you. It's your symbol fonts and those fonts are great to install on systems if you want to have a library of graphic elements that you can pull from to incorporate into your motion graphics.

So now that we've covered fonts and the anatomy of a typeface, let's go ahead and look at some of the terms we'll be using for setting type. So I'm just going to press F5 and open up my layers here and turn on my base group here. Now as you can see we have three lines of type and I'm going to use these lines of type to talk about different terms used in typesetting, which is the process of just putting your type on the screen. So the first thing is leading. This is the amount of space in between the lines of type.

Ascenders are just the top part of letters. Descenders fall below the baseline. Now if you're unfamiliar with the baseline, that's coming up next. The baseline is where each letter sits. Now if you notice, a lot of times letters that have a round bottom actually sit slightly below the baseline. That's to play off the optical illusion that they're all sitting on the exact same point.

Now the x-height is really important, if you look at the x-height obviously that's the height of the letter X, and every other letter in that typeface is based off of that height. So here you can clearly see your ascenders and your descenders, so let's go ahead and keep going. Tracking, this is the space between all the letters in the line of type. Now that shouldn't be confused with Kerning, which is just the amount of space between two individual letters.

Now here's an example of a typeface with a tall x-height. If you notice it makes the type look pretty large. Now let's go ahead and go to the next example here of short x-height. Notice with the shorter x-height, it actually looks like there's a little less type on the page. Now let's go ahead and keep watching and you can see the difference between the two when we zoom in here. So a tall x-height versus a short x-height, and the reason I zoomed in is just so you can see, even these tall letters, they are actually still lining up.

So it's really just the difference in the x-height and that's the best easiest way to fit a large amount on screen. Choose a typeface that has a short x-height. So now it's time for you to go enjoy reading messages in a whole new way and for all you new type nerds, welcome to the club!

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This video is part of

Image for Motion: Principles of Motion Graphics
Motion: Principles of Motion Graphics

41 video lessons · 14653 viewers

Ian Robinson
Author

 
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  1. 13m 59s
    1. Welcome
      55s
    2. Using the exercise files
      1m 37s
    3. Defining motion graphics
      1m 27s
    4. Workflow for creating motion graphics
      4m 49s
    5. Working in real time
      2m 13s
    6. Setting up the workspace
      2m 58s
  2. 7m 49s
    1. Finding visual inspiration
      2m 35s
    2. Listening to imagine
      2m 28s
    3. Using real-time inspiration
      2m 46s
  3. 28m 47s
    1. Essential theories of type
      5m 30s
    2. Shortcuts for previewing and setting type
      4m 41s
    3. Exploring principles for animating type
      6m 38s
    4. Using type as a design element
      11m 58s
  4. 23m 52s
    1. Creating elements with paint strokes
      9m 29s
    2. Building transitions with the Replicator
      5m 37s
    3. Creating transition effects with filters
      8m 46s
  5. 15m 40s
    1. Exploring the use of color in motion graphics
      3m 30s
    2. Creating and using color palettes
      7m 2s
    3. Applying colors to motion graphics
      5m 8s
  6. 15m 6s
    1. Creating textures with generators
      4m 4s
    2. Creating textures for type
      5m 40s
    3. Working with particles to create depth
      5m 22s
  7. 16m 19s
    1. Using material settings to enhance lighting
      5m 51s
    2. Adding final details with lights
      6m 54s
    3. Camera animation techniques for motion graphics
      3m 34s
  8. 22m 19s
    1. Understanding the role of timing in motion graphics
      1m 28s
    2. Creating and using markers to sync animation with audio
      10m 55s
    3. Using audio to drive animation
      2m 45s
    4. Editing techniques for graphics
      7m 11s
  9. 51m 22s
    1. Pitching the style
      3m 5s
    2. Creating elements in real time
      9m 25s
    3. What's next? Storyboards and/or animatics
      9m 32s
    4. Building and animating the title sequence, pt. 1
      6m 44s
    5. Building and animating the title sequence, pt. 2
      9m 8s
    6. Polishing the animation and timing
      13m 28s
  10. 24m 25s
    1. Preparing a map for animation
      7m 40s
    2. Animating and styling a map
      8m 9s
    3. Animating a lower-third graphic
      6m 42s
    4. Creating a bumper animation
      1m 54s
  11. 3m 51s
    1. Finishing a project
      2m 55s
    2. Next steps
      56s

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