Join Ina Saltz for an in-depth discussion in this video Other type categories, part of Foundations of Typography.
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We're going to look at some other categories of typefaces, the kinds of typefaces that don't fit as neatly into classification categories. These are all display typefaces. So, remember that they should be used at larger sizes and in small quantities. One category that is easy to identify and that is hugely popular right now is Scripts. These are letterforms that are based on handwritten letters. They are mostly or partly attached to one another with connecting strokes. Here are some common examples, they can vary from very formal to very informal.
One of my favorite formal scripts is Bickham Script, because it is fabulously elegant, and it comes with hundreds of alternate flourishes in its character set. For example, look at 15 possible variations of the lowercase H in Bickham's Script. You will see scripts in use everywhere. Informal scripts can look like handwritten or brush written letters. There are hundreds of wonderful new scripts now available with varying degrees of weight, fluidity, and alternate characters.
Scripts like Zapfino can be tricky to use well, because they sometimes have big swashes which can get tangled up when lines are stacked. Used with restraint, flourishes can add a bit of pizzazz to your layout, this is a page from a cookbook designed by one of my students. Here is a beautiful modern use of a script face, notice how all of the flourishes on the left echo the swirls of the carrot stocks in the photograph. I love the visual pun between the lovely curves of the stocks and the fanciful swirls around the title.
Another very popular category of type is Blackletter or Fraktur, you can see how these letters do indeed look fractured or broken, because each letter is made up of individual strokes. In this category there are also hundreds of wonderful choices. My favorite is called Fette Fraktur, it is just so juicy. These spiky letters are often erroneously called Old English. In this example you can see why typefaces are called Blackletter they tend to be heavy in appearance, they have very small spaces within the letters, there is very little space between letters, and very tight spacing between lines.
So their overall color on the page is heavy or black. Here's a modern take on Blackletter. Beyond the world of Blackletter and Scripts there are huge numbers of decorative and ornamental typefaces that were invented to respond to the needs of advertising, brand identity, and promotion. Some of these over-the-top and outrageous styles justify classification. Display Typography is as volatile as the fickle winds of fashion.
There are unexpected reinterpretations or revivals of previously dated styles and all kinds of eccentric experiments. Some of these become new classics and others fade away. Browsing through the endless type choices available it might seem overwhelming, but the more you really look at type with a critical and informed eye, the more educated your eye becomes, and you will develop a deeper awareness of what to look for. This will help you find a display typeface to match your specific needs.
- 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