What Makes and Breaks the Similarities between Typography and Design
Graphic design is usually perceived as everything pertaining to images, graphic and color elements, decorative elements which may stand alone to convey a message, or enhance a text. This definition is mostly correct, but not complete.
Just remember how many texts stand out not just by their meaning, but also by their font, color and special effects (such as 3D or drop shadow). A copywriter wrote the word, but a typography artist found the best font and color to create the eye-catching impact.
Typography artist? Why not the designer? Well, technically speaking, a typography artist is a designer, in the same manner in which a dentist is a doctor. Just as medicine has various fields of specialization, so does graphic design. Here are a few explanations to clear up the confusion.
Typography Is More Than Design
Designing typeface is not just about creating nice effects and colors. It means building an entire alphabet and the whole sequence of numbers. And you start doing it by hand. You draw a specific set of letters that have similar characteristics in terms of curves and straight lines.
Okay, this is design, right? Not exactly. Your imagination cannot fly very high up in the creative skies. The typeface you design must be legible. It must be easy to implement and compatible with various design software. It must be unique, yet give the familiar feeling of letters and numbers. Each letter and number must be tested for scalability – it must look good and be legible whether it is 1 inch or 1 foot in size.
Typography Is No Less Than Art, Either
Designing fonts is still a work of art. Once he worked out the technical issues, the typography artist can let his imagination run wild a bit. Look, for instance, at the reinterpretation of Helvetica font by Peruvian artist Redak Anderson.
This is art. Not something you can use to print the currency exchange rate of the day or the breaking news of the moment. Probably, it will never be used, but displayed as a work of art in itself.
And if the artistic element of typography would not matter, why would designers, design magazines and end clients fight so hard over their favorite font? Why would respectable designers dissect movie titles design?
In the end, what really matters is that design and typography work together and do not clash, creating a confusing or unpleasant effect. While not all designers are specialized in typography, we must recognize that typeface is a form of design and it involves just as much talent and creativity as any other form of design.
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