A foundation course in typography with emphasis on using type for a multiple of industry related applications

Category: Class Notes

Classes 9 & 10 – Tracking, Kerning and Type on a Path

Tracking and Type Alignment

We took a look at how to digitally control tracking and the different type alignment options.  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).

justified text

This is an example of what can happen when text is justified. The paragraph can end up with rivers–indicated by the red lines.

Continue reading

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

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.

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

Continue reading

Class 6 and 7 — Multiple Pages in InDesign and a Review of the 5 Families of Type

We have discussed the five families of type since the early days of the semester.  Sometimes these are referred to as type  categories. Make sure you learn to identify the differences.

Here is quick review:

Old Style: Garamond
(15th-17th century)

  • designed in France in 1615 by Jean Jannon (Claude Garamond was
  • given credit originally)
  • designed in a time when inks and paper were coarse and type
  • technology was still rather rough
  • relatively thick strokes and heavily bracketed or curved serifs
  • emulated classical calligraphy

Continue reading

Class 5 — Introduction to the Grid, Templates and the Type Book Project

Here’s a brief recap from last Thursday’s class. We had a quick introduction to the grid system and templates as they will be used with InDesign.

A grid is a non-printing system of horizontal and vertical lines which help the designer align the elements of the layout. This system of alignment helps to create a more organized layout. In multiple page documents, the grid assists in the consistent placement of design elements. Think of the grid as the skeleton of the layout—similar to the frame that you see on the construction site when a building or house is being built. We will go more in depth with grids a little later.

In InDesign we learned how to use a template, and how to name files before submission. We did this as we were introduced to the Type Book project.

We also covered using the line tool to create rules, strokes, and arrows in InDesign.


Continue reading

Class 4 — Controlling Space, Leading, Tracking and Kerning

We covered three main topics during our last class that deal with spacing—tracking, kerning and leading. It is important to understand the difference between tracking and kerning.

  • Tracking deals with the adjustment of letter-space which will affect entire lines or blocks of text. By adding tracking, the letter-spacing, which is the amount of space between the characters, will be increased or decreased. The goal is to have consistently even space between all the characters
  • Kerning is often confused with tracking but kerning deals with the letter-space adjustments between a specific pair of letters. You only have to be concerned about kerning display or headline text. Certain letter pairs don’t fit well together, so the designer’s goal is to adjust the space so that letter-spacing looks consistent.
  • Leading is the amount of space between lines of text. It is measured from baseline to baseline. It is important that line-spacing is not too tight or too far apart.
  • All three of these—tracking, kerning, and leading—are important to the overall look and to make reading easier.

Continue reading

Class 3 —Variation in Type

During our third class, we not only covered The History of Typography and the Five Families of Type, but  we also reviewed Typographical Anatomy.

  • If you missed the lecture on the Variation in Type and the Five Families of Typography, you can download the slides Variation in Type.
  • We learned the parts of type of similar to our body parts. Download the Type Anatomy sheet and keep it handy to help you identify the different parts of letters.
  • We watched several videos in class:

Continue reading

Classes 1 and 2 — Introduction to Typography & InDesign

So, we’ve made it through the first week. Hopefully everyone is feeling a bit more relaxed and you’ve made some new friends.

Here is a recap of some of the topics that we covered the first week of class. Hopefully this will be helpful if you need to review.

  • On Tues, Aug 28th we reviewed the syllabus, and if you need another copy, it can be downloaded COMD1127SyllabusFA18
  • At this point, of course, everyone should have access to their City Tech email. This will be the way that I will communicate with you. Please check it at least every few days so you don’t miss any important information. Usually when I make a new post, you get an email notification.
  • We viewed a few videos on the history of typography:

Continue reading