Local Flavor Typography

010In strolling through my town, I found this typeface not just on the sign for “Bill’s Music,” but also on three other storefronts. For “Music City Maryland,” I feel that this typography is appropriate. Catonsville is a small town, but not a cute, quaint one; rather, the growing downtown has a working class feel. This typeface is simple and straightforward, and the curves add fun; free of flair and intricacies, but full of a lively spirit, this typeface embodies the local flavor of this town.

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Industrial Typography

CAMIndustrial typographcockeysy: so simple, so graphic, so solid. For the sake of being a well-rounded researcher, I also document the typography of these industrial businesses. The CAM Construction sign may be found on Maiden Choice Lane in Catonsville, and the typography of Cockey’s Enterprises, Inc. is on the trash container in my yard.

Cockey’s typeface is clearly used for readability and identification, not branding or beauty. The CAM typography has more noticeable qualities, although it is still very basic and straightforward.

I understand the importance of using simple, direct, and highly readable typefaces; however, they are not visually stimulating to me. It is clear that I am more interested in creating a more recognizable typeface, with provocative contrasts and greater differentiation between strokes.

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Hand-Painted Typography

pcBeing a painter, I naturally wanpc2t to explore hand-painted typography. This paint-your-own-pottery studio in Catonsville, named The Pottery Cove, chose a hand-painted typography display for its storefront.

While ruminating on these images, I am drawn to the beauty of its imperfection. This typeface can never be reproduced in its original form, and, in this age of computers, that is such a strange thought.

I would be happy to design hand-painted typefaces. However, I am also drawn to the strictness and uniformity of designing a reproducible typeface. A conflict of feelings.

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Old Style Typography: An Example in Contemporary Design

Atwater'sHere it is! Venturing into my small town of Catonsville leads me to another display of Old Style text, only this time in a contemporary design. The typeface style displayed outside of Atwater’s instantly creates a timeless, nostalgic feel.

This typography is also interesting because it is distressed. Distressing is a new trend; however, it is utilized to make something appear old or used. Interesting juxtaposition…A contemporary design tool is used to age an actual historical typeface.

So now I have evidence that serif typefaces are used in contemporary designs. However, no research is complete without thorough investigation, and I cannot simply begin developing a serif typeface without learning about many aspects and fields of contemporary typography. The typefaces that illustrate a variety of contexts must be collected.

A Preface to the First Wave of Research

Wow! The past few weeks have been full of learning about and experimenting with typography.  As a preface for the following posts, here is a brief outline of my research from the past few weeks.

  • History (Secondary Sources)

I have never been a history buff, but the history of art and design has always been of interest to me, both for the sake of learning as well turning that newfound knowledge into inspirations for new projects. I will post about the highlights of my historical research: some facts about the founding of historical typefaces that I find especially interesting.

  • Encounters with Typography (Primary Research)

As I have immersed myself in the history and technical aspects of typography, I have begun to notice typefaces more and more. Type is absolutely everywhere. Now, as I drive down the road, I long to take pictures with my eyes so that I may remember and compare all of the different typefaces displayed on the fronts of buildings. As I watch a documentary, I recognize the typeface being used, and it is all I can think about for the entirety of the show. The following posts will display the pictures of my primary research: encounters with type that I have found throughout my apartment and town (Catonsville), the type that flavors my life and the lives of those in my community. This is another extremely important basis for the founding of a new typeface.

  • Inspiration

Continue reading to discover what this secondary and primary research has inspired in the business aspect of my life.