Archive for the ‘Typography’ Category

As we all know, there are many clichés and faux pas in both print and web design work that irk and upset both the design savvy and non-design savvy alike. Designers often react to these clichés with sneers, rude gestures, and loud commentary. Both Modern Life and Underconsideration have great lists that include—but are not limited to—some classic clichés such as rampant diagonal lines, the always horrible wet-floor effect, pixel fonts (which I am totally guilty of abusing), swirls and drips, cartoon mascots, textured backgrounds, globe and compass icons, computer code speak, and the dreaded ‘swoosh.’

The three lists linked to include some of the biggest perpetrators, however I have listed a few more for your pleasure.

1. Hand-written type
Hand-written type has become synonymous with naive, child-like, and hipster-cool.

2. The White Box website
For some reason, a ridiculous number of graphic designers’ portfolios follow the template of having just a white background with small text links on the left side of the screen and image on the right.

3. Distressed/Graffiti-esque type
“Grunge” typography has been, and will be, around for a really long time. Unfortunately.

4. Shepard Fairey’d
Once considered an underground, rebellious street-artists, Shepard Fairey is loved by all, even the government Fairey is rebelling against. Now, everyone is riding the OBEY wave, from Facebook photos to billboard ads to Optimus Prime.

5. Helvetica Bold
The most popular, most  clichéd typeface of all time.

6. Rounded edges, and the Apple-esque
Many—if not every—website nowadays seems to conform to the web 2.0 standard of rounding off the corners of each and every rectangular box on screen. This is epitomized by Apple’s style that is copied over and over again in advertisements and posters. How many more iProducts must we suffer before the fad dies?

That’s all I’ve got for now. Be sure to look for a  Clichés Continued post in the future.



Designer, Tobias Battenberg, projected huge Akzidenz Grotesk letterforms on urban surfaces such as underneath an overpass, on chain-link fences, and concrete pillars.

The juxtaposition of the ghostly, white, see-through, crisp letterforms to the gritty urban textures is very visually pleasing. Plus, I will just go ahead and say that Akzidenz is probably my favorite typeface–it has a crispness and cleanliness that I think outshines even Helvetica; it has everything to do with tail of the capitol ‘R’ and the terminals of the numerals.

Projecting typography on various surfaces can be a very cool experiment that I would love to try.

The Graffiti Research Lab of Manhattan takes this idea one step further and adds an interactive component to it: projector/laser graffiti. It allows the user to create a graphic element basically anywhere, on a huge scale, allowing for a massive audience.

This idea of creating or projecting something for all to see without much choice definitely appeals to me. I like the idea of challenging people–for better or worse–and creating spectacle. This use of spectacle in this fashion was first written about in Guy Debord’s Society of the Spectacle, along with the use of détournement–using spectacle to break through disillusionment caused by the ever-present spectacle of mass media and marketing. Détournement is something I would definitely like to employ when it comes to my thesis work.