This week’s materials on Typography were really interesting. I especially enjoyed Morris’s article «Hear, All Ye People; Hearken, O Earth.» I’ve always been interested in Typography but I had never realized the extent to which a typeface can affect the credibility of a site. Typography is one of the most important, if not the most important, element in the design of a website yet it’s something that we rarely consciously think about. The question Morris asks is «Can we separate form and content?». Many of us can but that’s because as historians we’re trained to do so. The majority of users on the internet aren’t checking the facts presented, aren’t looking at the site’s metadata, and are judging the site based on its visual appeal.
What struck me while watching the Helvetica documentary was how many different companies use Helvetica, yet how they all have a distinct brand that you know immediately. It had never dawned on me that American Apparel, Coke, and so many others used the same font.
I’ve been looking at examples of typography on the Web Fonts Gallery Website and I’ve been paying attention to the ways designers mix fonts and font weights to communicate their messages. What I like about this gallery is that you can select a font and view examples of how other designers have used it. For example, I think there are some really good examples of sites that use Futura in one way or another and how they mix it with other styles to showcase a clean, simplistic, yet modern design.
One site that I thought was particularly well done is the American Imagery Bank. The design is simplistic and centered around Futura and SchoolBook Web. There are very few graphics or distracting elements and the main focus is really on the text. Yet the futura font along with the stars at the top of the page and the color pallet communicate a 1940s/World War II era feel.
I’ll have to start thinking about what fonts I could incorporate into a site that looks at Physical Culture in the progressive era.
Here is the link to my portfolio page.