S o u n d   A l p h a b e t


Typography Terms

Key to image: 1. Bowl; 2. Stem; 3. Counter; 4. Arm; 5. Ligature; 6. Terminal; 7. Spine; 8. Ascender; 9. Apex; 10. Serif; 11. Ear; 12. Descender; 13. Crossbar; 14. Finial; 15. Ascender height; 16. Cap height; 17. X-height; 18. Baseline; 19. Descender line


Small decorative strokes that are added to the end of a letter's main strokes. Serifs improve readability by leading the eye along the line of type.


The conjoined but non-identical twins of the typographic universe. Ligatures pull two forms together to produce a new glyph.



The height of the lowercase x in any given typeface. This delimits the size of the glyph's detail and therefore also of its ascenders and descenders. The x-height can vary greatly from typeface to typeface at the same point size.


The open space in a fully or partly closed area within a letter.


The baseline is where the feet of your capital letters sit. Below this line are descenders and loops.


The shapely, enclosed parts of letters such as 'p' and 'b'.


The part of a lower case letterform that projects above the x-height of the font. Ascenders are important for ease of prolonged reading, though the combination of too much ascender-height and not enough x-height can cause problems.


The double-storey a is a lowercase a comprised of a closed bowl and a stem with a finial arm over the bowl creating a partially enclosed area above the bowl.



Tangible: High Touch Visuals


Hubner, M. 


The art of adjusting the proximity of adjacent letters to optimize their visual appeal and readability. The objective of kerning is to create visually equal spaces between all letters so that the eye can move smoothly along the text.


Ball Terminal

A circular form at the end of the arm in letters.


The part of the letters that extends below the baseline.


The height of a capital letter measured from the baseline.


Leading describes the vertical space between each line of type. In olden times actual strips of lead were used to separate lines of text vertically; the naming convention persists.


Also known as Old Style Figures, non-lining figures are numbers that don't line up neatly on the baseline.


The direction in which a curved stroke changes weight.


3D Type Book 



I Wonder


Marian Bantjes

Early 20th Century

Jan Tschichold

Jan Tschichold was a german typographer and designer. He played a huge role in British book design, creating modern layouts and fonts for Penguin Books. Between 1926 and 1929, he designed a “universal alphabet” to clean up the few multigraphs and non-phonetic spellings in the German language.

He worked closely with Paul Renner who designed Futura, and fled to Switzerland during the rise of the Nazi party. His work on new typography and sans-serif typeface was a threat to Germany because they traditionally used Blackletter Typography, he was denounced as "cultural Bolshevists"


  • Transit (1931)
  • Saskia (1931-1932)
  • Zeus (1931)

Sabon is a style serif typeface designed by Tschichold to be a typeface that could work on both Monotype and Linotype systems. The typeface is frequently described as a Garamond revival. 


Penguin Books

Between 1947 and 1949, the German typographer redesigned 500 Penguin books and left Penguin with a set of influential rules of design principles brought together as the Penguin Composition Rules, a four page booklet of typographic instructions for editors and compositors.

I found very interesting the legacy he left to the British publisher (Postwar), showing the instructions of making the cover of the penguin books by creating grids even after his death the same structure remains in each cover. He believed design should be clear and efficient and I think we all agree with that. 

The canons of page construction are a set of principles in the field of book design used to describe the ways that page proportions, margins and type areas (print spaces) of books are constructed. The notion of canons, or laws of form, of book page construction was popularized by Jan Tschichold in the mid to late twentieth century.

Mid 20th Century

Wim Crouwel 

Wim Crouwel was a dutch graphic designer, type designer, and typographer born in 1928. He studied Fine Arts and Typography. He was responsible for the design of the posters, catalogues and exhibitions of the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam.

He designed his first poster in 1952. After leaving artschool he became a painter leaning towards Expressionism, but as he designed this first poster he discovered the pleasure of organising visual information in an aesthetical context.

New Alphabet

Wim Crouwel created this typeface called New Alphabet consisting of horizontals, verticals and diagonals. He never mean it to be used because it was indecipherable. He had good and bad reactions on typographers because of this typeface. 

Crouwel's graphic work is especially well known for the use of grid-based layouts and typography that is rooted in the International Typographic Style.


Gridnik is a geometrical typeface designed by Crouwel in 1974. It is a Sans serif monoline typeface. It was use on a series of Number Postage Stamps for the Dutch PTT. All characters are based on a square grid, with the 45-degree corners. 

Crouwel designed the Number Postage Stamps for the Dutch PTT, well known in the Netherlands during its circulation from 1976-2002

“It was actually quite difficult to avoid Wim Crouwel’s work. In the 1960s the Netherlands was inundated with posters, catalogues, stamps designed by him, even the telephone book.” 
- Karel Martens

 In the 1950s he worked as a teacher at the Royal Academy for Art and Design in 's-Hertogenbosch (currently called Akademie Voor Kunst en Vormgeving St. Joost)  and at the predecessor of what is now the Gerrit Rietveld Academie.

He was fascinated by the ideas (Bauhaus) about serial and mass production, as he stated “we need the machine since we have no time”. But he also believed “the machine cannot replace the precision of the human eye and human feeling”. Crouwel’s work has always consisted of these two essential elements: the emotional aspect and the rational one.

Late 20th Century – 21st Century

David Carson

I found this clip from the documentary of the Revolution of Helvetica which I saw and it was very provocative and attractive because it has different views from artists like David Carson, who states in the video "Just because something's legible doesn't means it communicates. More importantly, it doesn't mean it communicates the right thing. So, what is the message sent before somebody actually gets into the material? And I think that's sometimes an overlooked area."

I found amusing the relationship between Tschichold and Carson, the second one plays more with the freedom of his work. Carson interprets something like the title of an article and plays with it even if this one doesn't have any sense while Tschichold follow the rules of his foundation to design a cover of a book or a poster. 

I liked what he did with the article of the singer Bryan Ferry that was very boring for him, so he decided to change the font that was impossible to read because the article wasn't worth it to read. That's when he likes to attract the viewer's attention by the image and not the words. 

Grunge Typography Era


He has been considered as a god of design by young and new generations, but is also seen as a traitor to design by more conservative designers. His work is criticized and labeled as "Illegible". He evokes a love / hate reaction on people, sometimes he plays so much with his work that it makes you hate it. He consider his work as subjective, personal very self indulgent. He doesn't follow rules, he interprets what he thinks it is. Ray Gun was the most famous influence on his work, the magazine allowed him to design breaking the traditional layout systems for the editions without having no one to look at it before sending to the printer. I think that gave him more confident on his work and he could break the paradigms of editorial design. 


( Born on September 8 )


10 August 2018, 8:53

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