Type: Process Essays
Sample donated: Betty Alvarez
Last updated: June 19, 2019
It would be a mistake for the designer or typographer torely on what is on screen when designing for print, especially when minuteadjustments and attention to detail are so important. Proofs should be printedto ensure the final outcome is as intended, as the screen cannot promise todisplay the correct colour, resolution, character shape, and spacing that isintended by the designer (Gordon, 2001). Upon mentioning colour it is also important to discuss how it affectslegibility and readability when combined with type. It is a common belief that the most legible colourcombination for typography is black type on a white background.
Although thistheory may stand to be true, evolving printing and digital screen technologiescan now offer alternative combinations that can match, if not exceedlegibility. The legibility oftype can be drastically affected for the better or the worst when colour isincorporated. Depending on the nature of content, the appropriate contrastbetween the type itself and the background it sits on is paramount. (Maxa,2015) Hue is another name for colour, as is tone. Value representshow dark or light a colour may be, and saturation refers to how bright a colouris. Hue, value, and saturation are three properties all colours hold and shouldbe carefully considered by designers when combining type with a colour. (Albers,2009) An example of this would be orange and blue. They are complimentarycolours that are both very saturated and have a high hue contrast.
Because bothcolours fight to grab the eyes attention when combined with type, vibrationsbetween the two can happen, causing the eye to strain. If legibility is to beimproved when using this colour combination, either the background or the typeitself should be lightened or darkened in hue. (Maxa, 2015) Analogous coloursare those that appear close together on the colour wheel.
Although thesecolours can be fully saturated, they can still work together as their valuescan contrast each other. Take blue and green, blue has a much lower in valuethan green, meaning little to no adjustment is needed.(Albers, 2009) The typeface itself should be taken into consideration whenselecting a colour as each typefaces can have a number peculiarities andquirks.
Characteristics such a fine stroke width or ultra thin serifs cangreatly hinder legibility when paired with an unconsidered colour. In thiscircumstance, legibility can be improved by creating a higher value contrast. (Maxa,2015) The same principle applies to the types point size. A drasticallydifferent value and hue contrast is required for type at much smaller sizes. (Albers,2009) Typographical colour is an optical effect that is relevant in bothdigital and in print.
It refers to how light or dark text can appear fromcertain attributes such as kearning, leading, line length anf typeface choice.When type is set in a block of text it can often appear darker and more dense.Extra line spacing should be considered to help create some breathing room andreduce the value effect. (Maxa, 2015) Even the worst designed typefaces can be drasticallyimproved in the hands of someone with a strong knowledge of line length, typepoint size, and interline spacing. Harmonizing the bond between these variablescan dramatically improve its legibility. In order for a reader to relax into apleasing reading rhythm, it vital that line lengths are of an acceptable span.When reading longer lines it can be increasingly difficult to locate the nextline, and shorter lines can result in the reader having to adjust their eye tooften. Both outcomes can help strain the readers eyes at an accelerated rate.
(Maxa, 2015) Since people commonly read from twelve to fourteen inches away,research suggests that the optimal size type should be is between nine totwelve points. (Maxa, 2015) When type is set too large or too small, readingcan become exceedingly demanding. Large type set over twelve points tends to bebroken down and read in sections instead of as a whole. Fixation pause can alsooccur with larger type, which is when the readers eye stalls on a line of text.Visibility is greatly reduced when type is set smaller than nine point,effecting word recognition by abolishing internal patterns created bycounterforms.
(Maxa, 2015) The alphabet has been slowly evolving for centuries tobecome what we know today. The need for communication has developed and moldedeach individual shape of the twenty-six letters. “As the alphabet has evolved,it has become a flexible system of signs in which all letters aredistinct, yet all work together harmoniously as visible language.
” (Maxa, 215) We do not read letter by letter, but by words and groups,this is because we follow two rules with the reading process. The first is thepatterns we find inside of words created by counterforms, and the second is thecharacteristic shape of the word itself. Both of these create visual cues forword recognition.