Type Specimen Book
|University of Washington
|Design History, Graphic Design, Print, Type Design, Typography, Visual Communication
|Color Theory, Design History, Grids, Printed Matter, Publication
Design a single “type specimen” sheet that presents the following information:
- Typeface name
- Multiple weights/widths/sizes of the typeface (as available)
- Type specs including classification (serif/sans serif etc), type designer, date released, foundry, a brief description of key typeface characteristics, where it works well and where it doesn’t (best on screen, for display only, used as body copy, etc), and where it might be seen in public
- At least one typeface that pairs well with it (you can find suggestions online or you can make your own). You can use other typefaces on your specimen sheet.
- A six-word memoir (Write your own or find one online. Ex: “Not quite what I was planning.” Be sure to credit the author if you don’t write your own memoir.)
- One randomly assigned typography term (ex: ascender, kerning, x-height). Give the definition and show an example within your composition.
- Design with only two colors (choose between red, black, blue, yellow, pink). The final set of pages will be printed commercially with a Risograph. We will use an industrial sewing machine to bind books for every student to keep.
- Create a compelling composition using several disparate pieces of information
- Research and learn about the history and usage of a particular typeface
- Work with a grid to create a strong hierarchy
- Learn about basic printing techniques (Riso Printing) and production of files for two-color printing
- Document size should be 10.25 by 16.25 inches, portrait orientation only
- Deliver one final Epson print plus two digital files, one for each color in the layout
This project was a fun way to introduce basic type knowledge and history while studying some of the more widely used typefaces. I ran this project over two sections of an autumn quarter Advanced Typography course. Sections had 22 students, mostly VCD and IxD majors, with some Industrial Designers in the mix too. Each student was assigned a typeface. He/she had to research the history and usage of the face in addition studying the designer of the typeface. In the end the books were about 45 pages long and every student got two copies of the bound piece. The Risograph printing is a fun process too. It’s really low fidelity so the students got to see how overprinting colors often results in a third color. They also had to embrace (or deal with) the lack of precision with this type of printing.