Typography is more than just a font.

I think an important thing to know about me is that I love words.  I love their use, their origins, their power, and their ability to persuade or affect.  I think it’s an amazing thing that some marks on paper are recognisable as something funny, something offensive, or something that can provoke you.  Having spent most of my school life focussing on my literary musings, having Olwen our tutor reaffirm all of these things definitely peaked my interests for the day’s discussion in type.

“They can entice and persuade, and their power should not be underestimated.”

When you look back at the Egyptians who were the inventors of the pen and paper as a way of legitimate communication, where shapes and symbols and drawings represented their language and their storytelling, through to Arabic and Chinese and the languages of the ancient civilisations on earth, there is one common denominator; that is that without a widely recognised language that could be used and shared, there could be relatively little in the way of advance whether socially or academically.  An interesting point was that typography has changed in response to social, political or cultural changes within society, much in the same way as art and music have done.  We looked at several artistic movements mostly throughout the 19th and 20th Century and how these were influenced by the world around them.

Art Nouveau

Art Nouveau typography often contained letters that were elongated, embellished and feminine in nature. Asymmetry, or the use of irregular shapes in design, was an important feature of Art Nouveau typography. The Art Nouveau style was inspired by the curved lines of organic shapes found in nature and was distinctly different from more common geometric typeface designs. Rather than having a manufactured appearance, Art Nouveau typography had a calligraphic or handmade look.

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Russian Constructivism

Russian advertising did not promote the desire for an object, rather inspiring a feeling of guilt or duty.  It was an art form that conformed to the needs of the State, with Constructivism advertisements promoting industry or political propaganda.  The work was often dominated by the colour red.

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De Stijl 

This was a movement that relied upon total abstraction.  Simple white spaces, lines and rectangles were the cornerstone to the movement, and the central colours being primary colours or black and white with little to nothing else.  There is nothing superfluous to distract from the meaning of the text.

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