Warren – Typography Hierarchy + Expression

February 10, 2014 § Leave a comment

In today’s session with Warren, he talked us through the hierarchy of typography in design, and the considerations we should have when proceeding with our own design work.

Considerations in the hierarchy:

  • size of type
  • weight of type
  • colour of type
  • position / isolation of type
  • type contrast

Projects that contain information and/or data will/should require an organising order of importance to an given information. How well this is executed should support and ease visual navigation through the given content. Understanding the mission of the project should focus the intention of the designer towards a visual response on behalf of the viewer or customer. Whatever you get from the client you need to make it easy for the audience/end consumer to digest.

For example, an Adshel poster (that you get in city’s and bus shelters) will have a powerful copy line with a minimal copy to engage with the passing / transient passer by, hopefully to catch their eye within a few seconds viewing.

Where as a poster inside, a gallery for instance, will have sufficient information for the viewer to identify – times / key dates / venue etc. to ponder at leisure.

With all this in mind, subject knowledge is a good start to inform a plan of design intent:

Generally, the larger/boulder the type, the higher up in priorities that text is, so in terms of a product, the brand name (including logo) would be the 1// Primary Information. Other considerations include:

2// Secondary / Incidental Information – (creative copywriting) product related description expanding on characteristics / lifestyle affirming / smell / flavour associations additions of unique qualities to the brand etc.

3// Composition – design considerations within a given format, that isolate and prioritise information by means of typographic design and creative expression.
This is where I express myself as a designer.

4// Type Contrasting – bold/medium/light/italic/condensed/expanded/size: all add to visual power of eye play.

5// Graphic Devices / Illustration – these are visual supports to the brand product stylisation, or an expression of the brand name, basically as an enhancement to reinforce the graphic / illustration styles / devices should show some form of affinity with the typographic style, otherwise you may be expressing mixed messages (though sometimes contrasts work very well together (bare that in mind)), Type can also support the design by being used as an image – enlarging/distortions/cropping etc.

6// Colour – used to support and possibly clarify visual navigation, particularly through complex design issues and to stimulate visual appeal. The designers can also experiment in visual effects e.g. warm colours visually grab attention, cooler colours recede.

7// Added Value-Product Enhancement – foils / embossing / gloss-matt varnish, card – paper with a wide variety of textures and most importantly printed outcomes (how does it look and feel) does it convey my design message as intended? Does it reflect the desires of the client? Will it fulfil the mission to be attractive to the given audience/consumer?

Additionally, it’s good to establish a good relationship with a printer, they can help you out a lot!

Research reference:

Wim Crouwel

Max Huber

Josef Müller-Brockmann

Saul Bass

Karel Martens

Milton Glaser

These designers established a modern template for designers of today.

Warren put extra emphasis on the point of composition, these are the points he had to make on the topic, as well as my own:

– Where do I sit in design?
– What’s my niche? It’s like music, there are so many different genres, which genre of art & design do I put my self? What’s my flavour? My personal expression?

  • My characteristics
  • My mind set
  • My culture
  • My sub cultures
  • Hobbies
  • What defines ME (in the context of design)! etc. (refer to my design preferences/skills/hobbies sheet)

– Find a visual expression in my work > when given work from a client, attempt at making a link, try and integrate my expression/style into the work (within reason).
– Find my visual designs/outcomes that distinguish me! My individuality and uniqueness.

– Incorporate mixed media, dont simply rely on the use of a computer to get by in design, mix it up! Photography, fine art skills such as drawing, painting, crafts etc. Look at design values.
– Keep on gaining inspiration, reading books, magazines, design sites.

All of this effort comes with having passion!

We were given the task of following through with an experiment:

  • attain 4 examples of adverts / packaging / posters
  • give these to a friend and tell them to draw with a pen where their eyes are lead to on the design
  • put this on blog and bring to next week’s session



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