Skill Level Appropriate for all
- In prep for my display type course, I came across the typeface Erotica, which is the most beautiful script I've ever seen. The Type Directors Club, in 2013, awarded it a Certificate of Excellence, and it's really easy to see why. When a friend saw it for the first time, she said, "It sort of takes your breath away." And it does. It's sexy, gorgeous, very calligraphic, ravishing swashes, very high contrast between the thick strokes and the hairlines.
Which brings up the topic today, and that's that hairlines, when reduced to small sizes, almost disappear. Sometimes they do disappear. And when those fine lines are a key part of your look, with them goes some of the beauty. This is a common issue. So how do you solve it? In this case, the designer drew a second version of the typeface, where the hairlines are now heavier. Did you see that difference? It's subtle, might be hard to see in the video, so let me zoom in.
This is the original. It's called Erotica Big. Super fine hairlines. And Erotica Small. Hairlines are heavier. No longer hairs, really. The thick strokes are the same. Big. Small. The purpose being this: that those hairlines hold up at small sizes. If it's done well, the two settings appear to be the same, like you see here.
It's an optical illusion, but it works. Here's the same idea in a different typeface. This is HTF Didot. If you've seen my course Logo Design Tips & Tricks, you've seen this before. Beautiful, very fashiony, super high contrast of thicks and thins. Because it's less specialized than Erotica, Didot is drawn in seven different weights. I'm showing four. You can see the progression here, left to right, from light to heavy, we're looking at the thin strokes.
Didot is a gorgeous display face, and you want to use the lightest version wherever possible. In print, that's for everything from 96 points up, and as your settings get smaller, all the way down to 6 points, you use progressively heavier versions, the goal being to look the same at all sizes, which you can see here. These two look alike, but they're actually on opposite ends of the scale, as are these ones.
This whole issue of thin lines at small sizes applies to graphics too. I've borrowed a page here from my Learning Graphic Design Techniques course. The Acacia logo is a miniature skyline made of vertical hairlines, that at small sizes clog up. The solution is to create a second version of the logo that's simpler and bolder. First step is to redraw the skyline. Use fewer lines.
Bolder lines. Then bold the type just a little, and that should do it. Side by side you can see the the new version is less elegant, but when it's reduced, they look the same. It would take a very attentive viewer with a sharp eye to notice that these are not the same image. Before we quit, here's Erotica again. It comes in Big and Small, as well as Standard and Pro.
If you like it, and can get only one, the Small version if more versatile, the trade-off being that at large sizes, it loses a little of its breathlessness. If you can, get the Pro version. It's the one with all the elaborate swashes and alternate characters, some of which you see here. Fantastic typeface. Quick review. Big sizes, thin lines. Small sizes, bolder lines and wider gaps.
And that's your design for today. See you next time.
Q: Why can't I earn a Certificate of Completion for this course?
A: We publish a new tutorial or tutorials for this course on a regular basis. We are unable to offer a Certificate of Completion because it is an ever-evolving course that is not designed to be completed. Check back often for new movies.