Assignment 4: Show Me


Typographers and type foundries (the companies that commission and produce typefaces) have always had to promote their latest designs to printers and designers to show off a particular typeface, its different fonts in a variety of sizes and contexts, and the unique features of it. Once Specimen Sheets were the main way of doing this. Nowadays most of that marketing takes place online – research type foundries on the internet.

A type foundry is a company that designs and or distributes typefaces according to Wikipedia. Before desktop publishing they used to manufacture metal and wood typefaces. All my grand uncles, as well as my grandfather, were in the business…

Okay Type: This is a one man band run by a guy called Jackson Cavanaugh.It is hard to tell from his site what he stands for. He seems to follow briefs but does not have a special style. I guess he has to earn his living…

HVD: This is a really attractive site to display the work of Hannes von Döhren. The work is displayed simply on screen. The drop down menu idea is a little gimmicky but once you have found it you can see the amazing work being done here. He says of his print organisation,

“A principle of HVD is that we want to deliver fonts of the highest quality level: optically AND technically.”

Colophon:  is an international, award-winning type foundry based in London (UK) and Los Angeles (US). The first impression when I clicked through to their site was “WOW”. The image on screen had the word ROAD and two arrows, the background was blue. Nothing extraordinary here but go take a look. Everytime you click there is a different image. Clicking “Typefaces” one can browse their wares. The work looks clean and practical to me. I’d go there if I needed something serious.

I was searching for a woman typographer and came across Typetogether. Roxane Gartaud Bely seems to be a hardworking typographer and a prize winner in addition. her site is workman (or workwoman) like. I found her winning typeface Bely a little weird. Not sure for what it could be used.

NeuBau: All I can say about NeuBau is that I hope their work is better than their web site. Trying to read anything on it is difficult. Since the purpose of most typefaces is readability I am not sure about this foundry….

Or Type is an Icelandic type foundry, founded in 2013 to publish typefaces designed by GUNMAD (Guðmundur Úlfarsson & Mads Freund Brunse). Their site is complicated so it is difficult to have an opinion about their work.

There are thousands of these small type foundries around the world. Then there are the giants like FontShop.


Design the font for use on the cover of a magazine called type and write a short article for the magazine using a range of typefaces, with typographic illustrations, drawing on all that you have learned in this section. The article should include sections on:

  • what makes a typeface interesting
  • how a typeface is constructed
  • question marks

With my limited knowledge of the design programmes I decided to start with trying to develop some ideas in my log book.

  1. My first attempt was to use my own handwriting
  2. Then I created the word ‘type’ with watercolours and a brush:


I then opened this in Illustrator and used image trace and sketched art


2. Working with charcoal and felt pens.


3. I then used felt to create an image of the word TYPE


I do not think this suits the word or the project

4. The next image was created with buttons.


I don’t think this fits the topic either.

5. I liked the idea of wood since paper is made from wood pulp and then we type on it. So I created the word in wood bark.


6. I then went to Illustrator having read several online “How to” blogs and articles. I found this one and this one the most helpful.

I created a very simple typeface using straight lines and circles. I had difficulty removing unwanted ‘bits’ of the letters despite being told to use pathfinder and minus font. I managed (if somewhat crudely with the scissors tool… I then  moved the letters closer together and used free transform to ‘tuck’ them into each other



7. I then created a ‘fun’ example using the word and then converting it to a scribble. I then created a 3D effect. I like this one but am still unsure if it is suitable for the project as i did not create the original text I had begun with Myriad.


8. I took this into photoshop as a smart object and added a stamp filter and converted to B&W and used levels to increase the intensity of both Black and white.


I like this too but not sure if it fits the brief – self created typeface.

9. I had the idea that I would like to use an old Newspaper with the word cut out. I was not sure if I would use the letters as a cover or the newspaper itself.


I decided to research typography magazine covers. First, as usual I went to Dr Google.

Clicking on some of these I was brought to different blogs(1, 2). In these I found some amazing typography based covers



I love the first two black and white. I think all of these covers are keenly suited to the project e.g. the Maigret cover with the hat, the interesting design in the graphic design cover, the idea index forming a cross at the “E” etc.

With these amazing covers in my head I set about trying to create a typeface for my cover as I was not too satisfied with what I had created so far.


Do a mock up of the magazine cover to show where and how your title font will appear along with other cover elements.

Produce a magazine article that is attractive and interesting enough for someone to want to pick it up to read, and which shows off what that you have learnt so far about typography.

Add illustrations, photographs and colours as you want.

On researching this the first piece of advice in this blog was to have a brief. This is clear here: design the typeface for a magazine called Type using the word TYPE.

As I was lying in my bed I was watching my clock which projects the time on to the ceiling. I liked the shape of the numbers so I decided to try to make a typeface like this in Illustrator. I used “effect, round corners” and the thickness of the stroke to develop these rounded rectangles. I wanted to introduce my very old newspaper too. I put this on a separate layer and using the “knife tool” I cut a “V” shape to show the old newspaper through the black foreground. I then added the text of the “contents” picking up the colour of the old paper as a gradient fill for the circles.

Here is my cover:

I decided on a double spread in InDesign. I used different typefaces for each section. This meant three different ones – thus breaking one of the Golden Rule of magazines… One should use two typefaces maximum. But rules are made to be broken and I was never one to keep too many rules. As always this was a steep learning curve and I feel I am only scratching the surface. But here it is


I completed the assignment to the best of my present design skills. I like my cover but am not so sure about my double page spread. Because I was using an image of the Martin Silvertant typeface this had a white background. I felt it would improve things if I used a couple of other images with white backgrounds to balance this. I am not sure if this worked.



I was very grateful that my tutor took the time and effort to work with some of my designs to create two different covers for me.

I think my problem is that I overwork things and am afraid to strip away unnecessary additions. I am used to working with computer based solutions to things. I forget that original creations can be translated into computer based design. My tutors design using my ‘scribbles’ look infinitely better than my contrived work.

My tutor used my hand created work to great effect in her re-designs. I see this is recommended in one of the ‘pointers‘ she gave me:

I also have difficulty with layout. I leave things ‘floating’ in my designs. This is a critique I receive from almost every ‘professional’ design or art person I ask to review my work. But it is still difficult for me to get my head around this once I have assembled all the elements of a design. It is certainly something I will try to take from this course. I am continually amazed when someone suggests moving something in my design, that the end result looks so much more pleasing.

But despite all this I like my cover and my double page spread. This is probably because it felt like I had learned something in its making….