COMD1167 Type & Media, Fall2016

A foundation course in typography

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Type Book Assembly and What to Include

Every type book exercise is to be included. All of the exercises are listed below, including the very last one, is a poster showing all that you’ve learned so far from this project. The titles are based on the assignment sheets. Some of those handouts included more than one exercise. Hopefully this list is clear. If you have question, please ask for clarification.

  • Front Cover
  • Anatomy
  • 5 Families (5 pages)
  • Variations (6 pages)
  • Alignment
  • Alignment 2
  • Leading (2 pages)
  • Tracking (2 pages)
  • Kerning
  • Type on a Path
  • Legibility (in color)
  • Type Color
  • Hierarchy
  • Grid (2 pages)
  • Pattern
  • Embellished Quote
  • Logotype
  • Putting it All Together Poster (a poster design that incorporates everything you have learned about typography. In the 5th column, the Title will be Putting it All Together. You will use columns 1-4 only for your design)

These books will be printed out and bound along the short left edge, where we left space for such details. They should have a clear vinyl front cover and a black vinyl back cover with spiral binding along the left side. You can print the pages out in class, in lab or your own printer. The only page printed in color is the Legibility: Type Color page. The spiral binding is done at Staples or FedEx Kinkos. Don’t wait until the last minute to get this done because they may require that you pick it up later.

The finished books are to be submitted no later than Monday, October 31, 2016.  All projects submitted late will have lowered grades.

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.

Housekeeping Rules for Google Drive

When using Google Drive and submitting your assignments for review, please keep these rules in mind.

  • PLEASE BE CAREFUL – When you are trying to add or delete YOUR work, please pay attention to what you are doing. Someone inadvertently  deleted the class folder for the SELF POSTER project and I quite a bit of time trying to find it and restore it. Delete YOUR item and NOT the whole folder. 
  • UPLOAD YOUR WORK AS PDFs ONLY – When I ask you to submit your work to a folder for grading, DO NOT upload an InDesign document. Save your InDesign file to as PDF file. If your file is not submitted correctly, I will not acknowledge it. If you’re not sure how to save your file as a PDF, please ask.

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.

How to Draw Thumbnail Sketches

When it’s time to begin a new project, before you sit at the computer and open InDesign, Photoshop or Illustrator, the first thing you should do is a series of thumbnail sketches. Thumbnails are a way of brainstorming and getting your ideas out of your head onto paper. Thumbnails are not perfect, detailed drawings, but instead they are very rough, quick sketches. Watch the video below, then get your pencil and paper and begin sketching out the ideas for your next project. Do as many sketches as you can, then you’re ready to select the idea you like the best.

Watch the documentary before class on Monday, Oct 17, 2016. You should take notes of the key points that you learn and be prepared to answer questions and discuss in class.

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.

InDesign Help

During the last class we explored several different things in InDesign—using paragraph and character styles, creating drop caps, and type on a path. I’ve added a collection of videos to help you if you need a refresher with any of these features and topics.

How to Create InDesign Paragraph Styles


How to Make InDesign Drop Caps


Setting Text Vertically in InDesign


Type on a Path Tool Adobe InDesign

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
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