51–261 ⋅ Project 3–2 Typeface Poster

Typeface Poster — Garamond

Part One: Research into History

Garamond: a family of old-style serif typefaces derived from the work of Claude Garamond in the sixteenth century。

Type Classification: Old-style

Category: Serif

Garamond-style typefaces are popular and particularly often used for book printing and body text.

Contemporary versions: Adobe Garamond, Garamond Premier, Stempel Garamond, EB Garamond, Sabon, ITC Garamond, etc.

Distinctive features about Garamond:

  • an ‘e’ with a small eye and the bowl of the ‘a’ which has a sharp turn at top left.
  • Clear stroke contrast and capital letters on the model of Roman square capitals.
  • The ‘M’ is slightly splayed with outward-facing serifs at the top (sometimes only on the left) and the leg of the ‘R’ extends outwards from the letter.
  • The x-height (height of lower-case letters) is low, especially at larger sizes, making the capitals large relative to the lower case, while the top serifs on the ascenders of letters like ‘d’ have a downward slope and ride above the cap height.
  • The axis of letters like the ‘o’ is diagonal and the bottom right of the italic ‘h’ bends inwards.
  • Besides general characteristics, writers on type have generally praised the even quality of Garamond’s type.

Part Two: Sketches

These are the three different sketches I did for the initial poster idea. From my research, I got to know that Garamond is more of a standard typeset used mostly in texts, books, newspapers, with highly praised even quality. Thus, I want to imitate the feeling of newspaper by creating blocks of text as the texture of the poster.

Part Three: Attempts

1. Attempt One

Attempt One

This is my attempt One, I was trying to incorporate more features of Garamond in, I am capitalizing the G such that readers will know it’s serif without having to explicitly state it. I also put the lowercase g as the background because G/g is the starting letter and also symbolic of Garamond.

Advice I got from instructors and peers: Try to make both G’s larger and see what happens, try to fit the words along side the smaller “g”. Try to make the distinctive features blocks of text instead of creating a newline each time.

2. Attempt Two

Attempt Two — 1

This was an experimental attempt, as I am playing around with daring to overlap the G’s, putting the alphabets on the background gray g, and also making the words fit the curve of the background g. I guess this is a bit too much of a change, or involving two many elements, so it was a bit too chaotic and not so great.

Attempt Two–2

After removing the alphabets, the poster looks less chaotic, still, the curves and the word looks weird to me, and it was taking me a long time to structure the poster and its feeling.

Attempt 2–3

This was another add-on attempt, I was trying to make the letters more of background texture, but didn’t have too much of an idea how to move forward.

Attempt Three

I decided in the end to do a completely new poster, as I feel a bit trapped in my old designs. Thus, I looked more into the Garamond and its inventors’ history, and researched newspaper formats back in the days.

Here’s my final poster, and several variations of it.

Attempt 3–1
Attempt 3–2
Attempt 3–3

Explanations for inspirations:

I looked at the first every Wall Street Journal published in 1889 and used some of its design. I also researched and used Claude Garamond’s Dedication as a quotation in the upper text block. This whole poster follows the structure of a newspaper. I took care to use different variations of the typeset Garamond, such as using the subhead font for the subheadings, using bolds for the first letter of the sentences, etc.

In the middle I have a huge block of the word typeface, written in Garamond, and small bullet points coming off the word to describe the different special characteristics of Garamond. On the left and on the right are other information about Garamond.

Attempt Four

From the peer reviews I got, attempt three feels too stagnant, thus I returned to my previous idea and tried working more on the designs and incorporating more letters.

Here’re my final iterations.

Attempt 4–1
Attempt 4–2
Attempt 4–3

Here’s my final poster.

Final Poster

Final Poster

I decided to go with this one as my final poster. In the poster, I included text in a block form to incorporate the fact that Garamond is often used as body text. In addition, Garamond has been praised for its evenness, thus I put several letters that Garamond is characterized by (G, C as initials of the creator, e as a letter that has characteristics different from other fonts) and emphasized their similarity in curvatures. I formatted their curves in a way that is both playful, interactive and still firm and vertical (all of the letters are not rotated or rotated exactly 180 degrees.) I also intentionally let the text box form a similar outline shape along with the curvature of the letters.

Places for inspiration/words or Citation of this poster: