Monday, January 23, 2012

A History of Type

Due to the fact that I had to film this day, I was not able to attend the lecture. I did however borrow Ryan's notes to get a jist of what it was about as the powerpoint itself was just examples of different type.

The age of print commenced in 1450 and since then there have been many categories which define certain types of font. Old Style or humanist, was created to mimic human handwriting which would therefore make it easier to read. Transitional type face lie in between Old Style and Modern, they have the most widespread fonts in our society today such as Times New Roman and Baskerville. The Modern (Didone) typeface came about during the late 18th Century, the most common being Bondoni. Slab Serif is a type of Serif typeface which is distinguished by its thick blocked lines, because of those characteristics, they are mainly used in headlines and advertisements. 

Different fonts can communicate different ideas and create a difference in impact that it will have compared to another. We look at font without really taking any notice of the meaning behind the choice, whether it was a conscious decision or just because it was default. For an advertisement you would want something strong and bold that would capture you eye, something elegant and more calligraphy styled would not jump out at you enough, it would take longer for you to establish what it says.

In relation to digitial film, games and animation you could look at how type is established during the title sequences. There are some companies or specific people who work entirely on opening sequences, I found this PODCAST explaining what title sequences are all about and a brief background to whats involved. The people who created this are purely title designers, Gareth Smith and Jenny Lee, who created the titles for 'Juno' and 'Up in the Air' for example. Art of the Title is a website that is mentioned in that podcast which curates title design. The site itself is quite interesting as it explains the process behind a range of many famous title sequences and interviews with the people who created them.

There are two aspects that come with title sequences,
  1. A list of names of crew, actors, anyone who is associated with the film itself - almost like a legal document that is being presented to tell you who has done what. 
  2. They can establish the storyline of the film before it has even began and set the whole tone and atmosphere for at least the first shot that would be to follow.
However there are specifics that come into this about how certain names have to be a certain size in relation to everyone else. Yes it is a creative job however with anything there are restrictions. An interesting topic that was bought up was how title sequence designers have more of a longevity than commercial type designers as they tend to only last a couple of weeks at the most. Whereas film design, it stays with the film for all its time, you have to think about will the design of that sequence stand up in 20 years time? Also what comes with that is it needs to support the film itself, the title sequence is the first thing someone will see of the film. It has to be good, memorable even, otherwise films can become forgotten with poor sequences. In my mind, the one title sequence that has always stood out for me is 'Catch Me If You Can' and as a task I will be writing a short summary of this sequence in my next blog.

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