The following are a few excerpts from a much longer presentation describing my senior thesis. I am posting it here because the designers who heard it at school were not type designers, and so were unable to provide much useful feedback. I apologize if the grammar is a little wonky, but this was written to be read aloud. If you’re interested and want to read the whole thing, get it here.
To start with, here’s the thesis statement
Good typography is an important part of effective visual communication. As identity programs and typography converged, new typefaces emerged that could be used in a wide variety of media, from fine print on labels to signage to printed pages to computer screens. I shall address these faces as multiplatform types. Multiplatform types offer organizations exceptionally readable typography that remains consistent across more media than ever before.
To Follow that, I’ll define the term multiplatform typeface in detail
Multiplatform typefaces generally include a variety of weights designed for use in different situations. The designs are often very similar for use in very small and very large media; as Erik Spiekermann has pointed out, this is because legibility-promoting features applicable to one extreme are often applicable to the other extreme. A book or text weight that leaves out some of these special features may also be designed, as they are not needed under more reader-friendly conditions. These various weights may be clearly named for their intended media, or it may be left to designers to make such decisions.
In signage words must often be read quickly, from a distance, and at angles, causing the brain to process words letter-by-letter. Thus multiplatform typefaces are highly legible, and characters are intentionally dissimilar, as opposed to the strikingly similar character designs of Univers and Helvetica. Counters and apertures are large, this is facilitated with large x-heights and short strokes that do not extend into the apertures. Special attention is given to the glyphs lowercase i, uppercase I, lowercase l and the lining figure 1 to prevent them from being mistaken for each other.
And the goal and form of the work (this is not a written thesis project)
My goal is to examine, via direct experience, the design of multi-platform typefaces, and use the results to present their value to my audience. This will be done by presenting the history of the typefaces as well as examining design elements of the typefaces that enhance legibility and readability. The information presented will be used to explain why a multiplatform typeface is more appropriate for corporate identity systems than older superfamilies such as Helvetica, Univers, and Frutiger.
I will design a new multiplatform typeface and present it in a series of specimens designed as a brochure targeting businesspeople rather than the graphic designers that type specimens often target. The typeface will be produced in four weights; light, medium, semibold and bold. Because of the limited time available, complete fonts will not be developed—the character set will be limited to a Latin alphabet for the English language only, along with basic punctuation and lining figures. Only light and bold weights will be drawn, and I will leverage interpolation software to produce the regular and medium weights.
My typeface will be presented as part of the graphic design senior thesis exhibition at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, DC. I plan to present my typeface in a specimen designed as a brochure targeting businesspeople rather than graphic designers.(We are required to not target designers with our thesis work) This brochure shall be given away at a trade-show style booth designed using the typeface in a variety of sizes. If possible, the booth shall sit in front of a large horizontal banner featuring the typeface.