A foundation course in typography

Category: Class Notes (Page 1 of 2)

Class 19 – Anatomy of a Magazine Page

There are 2 basic categories of elements in a magazine layout: architecture which stay consistent from issue to issue (grid, margins, standing heads, folios, typographical style sheet, etc) and content which changes with each page and each article.

The crucial elements of a magazine page that you should know:

  • headline – also known as the “hed.”
  • art – photo, graphic or an illustration.
  • deck – not all articles or features have one, but when they do, it is usually longer and provides more information than the “hed.”
  • byline – the name of the person who wrote the article or feature.
  • lead – the opening paragraph to the article that is written and designed to engage the reader.
  • caption – a description used to identify the photograph or art element. Usually small in size.
  • spread – the 2 facing pages of magazine article. The spread needs to be designed as a unit.
  • folio – not only a page number, but may contain the magazine’s name and issue date.
  • bleed – all elements that are to print off the page should “bleed” off the edge of the page.
  • pull quote – used to explain photo or used to pull important information from the story. Usually larger in point size than captions. AKA call-out text that invites the reader into the story.
  • subhead – used to break up large chunks of text and help the reader understand what will follow.
  • credit – photo credit or credit for other art element; names the photographer or person who created the art element.
  • sidebar – a small story related to the main story. Sometimes set off by a colored box.
  • infographic – presents additional information in a graphical format, usually in the form of table, chart or graph.
  • margin – the white space at the top and sides of your page helps to make the layout feel open and inviting. Keeps everything organized.
  • gutter – AKA the alley; space between columns.
  • grid – helps to keep the page layouts consistent throughout the magazine.

Read Elements of a Magazine Page for more explanations and definitions.

The crucial elements of a magazine cover that you should know:

  • masthead – the name of the magazine. Sometime referred to as the logo of the magazine.
  • main image – large image or photograph that relates to the content or subject matter of the magazine.
  • main coverline – the largest most visible coverline; relates to the main image.
  • coverlines – titles of highlighted stories that appear in the magazine. The main coverline is usually larger along with smaller ones. They appear around the main image.
  • barcode – used by retailers, contains the price and other information about the publication.
  • tagline – AKA the “selling line.”
  • dateline –  the publication date, which is usually the month and year.

Review this marked up cover for clarity.

View the following video, Understanding the Parts of a Magazine Cover.


As a resource to this lesson, download the PDF file, Anatomy of a Magazine Layout.

Homework – Due Monday, 11/21

  • Your Chap Book should be ready for in-class critique. It should be at least 90% finished since it is due on Wednesday the 23rd.
  • Prepare for Quiz #2 which will be on Mon, 11/21/16. It will cover information we’ve covered since the mid-term, including anatomy of a magazine.

Class 17 and 18 – Working with Paragraph and Character Styles

When working on large documents, knowing how to use  paragraph and character styles will be very important and come in handy.

One of the best ways to format text in a long document or a document that has repeating formats is to use paragraph or character styles. When we use styles we’re creating a style sheet that will be used to format text whenever that format has to be repeated. For example, to make sure body text and/or subheads are consistent throughout a document, we would style sheet. Using a style sheet will make it quick and easy to make universal changes formatting if you need to change some aspect of the formatting, like point size, font or font color.

To help refresh and clarify the demo we did in class, use the videos below.

Paragraph Styles in InDesign CC (includes drop caps also)

Character Styles in InDesign CC

The Type Book – Putting it all Together

Here are a few things to add some clarity on assembling your type books, which are due completed by Monday, Oct 31, 2016.

The Cover

Using the entire page, create a balanced and well-conceived cover with the following information:

  • Student Name
  • Type & Media, COMD1167-D143
  • Professor Mary Brown
  • Typography Book (if you choose to add your character’s name that is up to you)


Other reminders

Once you are certain you have all the pages and they have been revised, then you can print them out. The page for Legibility: Type and Color should be printed in COLOR. You can have the printing done at Staples or FedEx if you don’t have access to a printer.

  • Print on one side only
  • 8.5″ x 11″ is the page size
  • If you have to print your files at Staples or FedEx, you will need to save your final files as PDF documents to print from.
  • Once all your pages are printed and assembled in the correct order, you have to get the binding done.
  • Get plastic/acetate for the cover (clear) and back (black).
  • Get coil binding
  • It may take more than 1 day to get your book bound, so don’t wait until the last minute.
  • You can refer to the previous post that includes the proper order of the pages. You can also download a copy of the handout.

Class 12 – Grid Variations and Typographic Embellishments

In Wednesday’s class we covered how one grid can be used in many different variations. The more columns in your grid, the more variations you can have. It gives you more flexibility. We’ve covered the use of grids and we’ve been using grids to help us with your type book.  Please review Using Layout Grids Effectively to refresh your memory of some of the things about grids that we covered. Also, it might be a good idea to go back to the notes from Lesson 5.


Zapf Dingbat font set.

We also talked about using decorative type and some of the decorative elements that might be a part of a typefaces.

Terms to know:

  • dingbats – Also known as ornaments, these are characters or font sets that are symbols and decorative ornaments. Zapf Dingbats is a popular set of symbols, icons and pictographs.
  • glyphs  – a symbol within an agreed set of symbols, intended to represent a readable character. In typesetting and InDesign, the Glyphs panel is used to insert glyphs and special characters.


Homework – Due Monday, Oct 24

  • Complete the Type Book exercises:- Typographic Grid, Embellished Quote, Logotype, Typographical Patterns
    On the exercise for the grids, only do the first portion and create your six variations. We will select the best in class on Monday.
  • Begin to prepare for the mid-term exam on Wednesday, Oct 26. Come to class on Monday with question for a review if you have them.

Class 11 – Typographic Hierarchy

During Monday’s class we spent time learning about typographic hierarchy—the priority in which the view should read and design .  Part of our job as graphic designers is to communicate words in a visual manner. We do that by using the tools and techniques of typography. If the words are all cluttered together with no distinction, it will be difficult for the viewer to no where to start. Therefore, we must determine prioritize and then emphasize what is most important, what has second level priority and what has third level priority. We accomplish this by using  contrasting fonts, color, line spacing, alignment and groupings.

Hierarchy is created and supported by your use of:

  • typeface(s)
  • weight or style (bold, italic, etc)
  • type size
  • case (U&lc or all caps)
  • alignment and line spacing
  • color

We viewed several videos to help explain the concept:

Typographic Hierarchy


Typographic Hierarchy: Explained




The Typographic Hierarchy from these videos is can be downloaded to use for studying.


Homework – Due Wednesday 10/19/16

  • Finish the Type Book—Typecolor
  • Finish the Type Book—Typographic Hierarchy
  • Watch the movie Helvetica. Take notes and be prepared for a test on the relevance of the typeface and it’s place in typography history.

Classes 9 & 10 – Using the InDesign Pen Tool; Working with Character & Paragraph Styles

During these class times we learned how to use the PEN TOOL in InDesign and create type on a path. After an in-class demo, the class had an opportunity to experiment with the type on a path. The PEN TOOL in InDesign is very similar to the one in Photoshop and Illustrator. Once you learn to control the curve, it is easier to master to tool. The more you use the tool, the better you get with it. For help, here are a few videos:

How to Use the Pen Tool in Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop and InDesign


Correct Way to Format Type on a Path with InDesign

We also spent time working on a layout of a chapter from the book Alice in Wonderland. While using this text, we explored paragraph styles and character styles.

Using InDesign, we also took a look at how to digitally control tracking. We were able to see what happens when tracking is too tight or too loose. We also took a closer look at what happens when we use justified text alignment. I discovered that one of the advantages of using justified text is that it can save space when a lot of text is used. We also saw a disadvantage that is awkward or bad word spacing that creates too much white space in paragraphs. Sometimes we see streams of this white space, which we call rivers (rivers of white space).

typography rivers

The red lines indicate rivers in this text sample.



  • rivers (rivers of white space) = gaps between words which appear with text justified on both right and right edges. In paragraphs, when these gaps of space line up the appear to create a stream.
  • readability = how easy the text is to read
  • legibility = how easy it is identify text.
  • cap or uppercase = capital letter of the alphabet [example: ABC]
  • lowercase = small letter of the alphabet [example: abc]
  • all caps = all capital letters
  • small caps = small capital letters set at the height of the lowercase letters
  • type styles = modified variations of a typeface, such as italic, bold, condensed, extended/expanded
  • visual hierarchy = the arrangement of elements on the page according to their order of importance


Homework – Due Monday, Oct 17, 2016

Since we will not meet this week, I’m including a video assignment with the required reading assignment.

Class 8 – How Text and Paragraphs are Affected by Different Alignments

We took a look at the various formats of text alignments and how text is affected. Here are some the things we noticed:

  • flush left/ragged right – when using this text alignment, we are given a bit of breathing room, or negative space. This makes the page seem less crowded with text and allows places for the eyes to rest. In our culture, we read from left to right, and setting type flush left gives the reader an exact starting place on each line. The reader isn’t slowed down by trying to find the starting place for the next time.
  • flush right/ragged left – when using this text alignment, the reader is slowed down because the eye has to find the starting point of each line. Have the left margin set as ragged means each line will begin at a different location. It is ok to use this very small amounts of type such as for captions, but you wouldn’t use this for large bodies of type.
  • center alignment – not a good choice for large bodies of text. Again, each line of text has a different starting place and this slows down the reading. Poetry and songs often use this alignment.
  • justified alignment – both sides of the type are justified and line up evenly. Because of this, type is pushed out which can cause excess word spacing, which can cause rivers. In order to fix the word and letter spacing problems, each line may need tracking. Another problem that may arise might be too many hyphenated words. InDesign will try to fit as many words on each line as possible but so justified text can also fit more text on a page.


Homework – Due Wed, 10/5

  • Type Book – Type Alignment exercise. You can download the pages of instructions here.
  • Type Book – Type Alignment 2. This packet contains the rest of the exercises for alignment, leading, tracking and kerning. Download that file here. Both assignments are due Wednesday, 10/5.  Write the directions for each exercise very carefully.

Class 7 – Text Alignment, Tracking, Weights and Variations

This class was dedicated to the variations in type styles that are available. We discussed the differences in type — width, weight, posture, stress, serifs, and contrast. We also did an in-class exercise to help the class understand how to use the type variations to create emphasis and expression.

width – condensed or extended

weight – light or bold

posture – italic or oblique (fake italic)

stress – vertical or diagonal

contrast – extreme or medium or low/none

serif – bracketed or unbracketed

For more details on this topic, and new terminology, you can review with article: Styles, Weights, Widths — It’s All in the (Type) Family

You can download a copy of the slide presentation here to use for review.

Homework due – Monday 9/26/16

  • Study for Quiz #1 which will cover EVERYTHING from the beginning of the semester.
  • Type Book—Weight & Variations exercise that was handed out in class. You can download an extra copy here.
  • Due for next Wednesday – Textbook reading: Letters, Words, Sentences, pgs 51 – 79

Class 6 – InDesign: MultiPage Documents and Master Pages

During Monday’s class we went through a couple to things that will be helpful for upcoming assignments.

  • Adding fonts using the Font Book app on the Mac
  • Where to get quality free fonts – using Font Squirrel
  • The process of creating a multi-page document and using master pages. If you missed the class or need a refresher, use the following videos for help:

How to Format Master Pages


How to Override Master Page Items


Vocabulary Terms:

  • master pages – when you have a multipage document, a master page is a non printing page used in InDesign that serves as a template for the rest of the pages. Master pages can contain text and graphic elements, such as photos, headers, footers or page numbers, etc.
  • running head – sits outside the text area of the grid; these may be the title or chapter name of a book that appear on each page in the exact same location.

Homework Due Wednesday 9/21

  • Type Book – Complete the 5 Families of Type exercise. You can download the instructions here.
  • Prepare for Quiz #1 – Monday, 9/26
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