Type Specimen Critique


While learning about type we explored layout of magazines, newspapers and posters. We learnt about how text should be placed on a page, hierarchy, hyphenation, leading, line lengths, and we sketched out some compositions from original art and design magazines.

We were asked at the end of the lesson on Layout, Hierarchy and Grids, to create a type specimen on typefaces each of us had been allocated. Included in the brief of designing and producing the type specimen, we needed to discuss the history of the typeface and who it was created by, the classification, and the context of the typeface and how it is used today. I was allocated to produce a type specimen on Caslon Pro.

As you can see I completed my research for the type specimen a week ago on my blog. The information in that post is what I put into my type specimen poster.

I sketched out some initial ideas I had for the poster by taking inspiration from type specimen’s and typographic posters I had researched beforehand. I tried to keep the design simple and traditional because of the age and style of Caslon Pro. Then, I trialled ideas out in Adobe InDesign and chose my favourite and strongest design.

I first thought that two columns would work on the A3 page, however it limited me as to what more I could put into the type specimen other than information about the typeface and its’ history. I also needed to include an image of a piece of context that the typeface is used in, the alphabet, numbers, punctuation, and ligatures. I first decided to place all of these under the text, after adding another column into the grid to make three columns to work in. I also tried to change the size of the text so that I could fit the remaining contents in below. And again I tried switching the columns around so that the poster was more readable and flowing. The ligatures, I decided, looked best in the top left hand corner of the page set in angle against the large letter ‘A’. I also decided to add an ampersand into the background to fill space up and make the poster more interesting.


After printing out countless copies of different stages of the production of the poster, I printed out my final copy before the class critique. The tutor gave us feedback on all of our type specimens.


To improve mine, the gutters needed widening between the columns, the ampersand in the background needed to be larger, and the information needed to be set to a bolder font to make it clearer on the page.



Author: jennifertaylorgraphics

First year student studying Graphic Communication at the Cardiff School of Art and Design

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