Blog Category: Typography2

Compare & Contrast: Dan Mall & Erika Goering

By Erika Goering,

I’ve recently stumbled upon the original slideshow in which Dan Mall states that technology over technique produces emotionless design. (Slide 13 is where that happens.)

And for comparison, here’s what I did with his quote (this is before I ever saw his slideshow, by the way):

What struck me as interesting is that we each approached the communication and composition of this statement in a completely different way. The hierarchy has a totally different feel from one composition to the next. In my blue composition, I have “technology over technique” as an eye-catching, “I wonder what this is about” kind of moment, with “produces emotionless design” as a quiet, passive, cautionary message at the bottom. My red composition aims (but ultimately fails, because of an insufficient hierarchy) to send a message of “technology produces emotionless design” before elaborating that it’s in contrast to technique. Daniel Mall has the hierarchy set up so that “emotionless design” is the large, menacing warning in all-caps, with “technology over technique” as the explanation.

It’s amazing how different typographical hierarchy can show different aspects and dimensions of the same statement.

Design is awesome.

  Filed under: KCAI, Random, Typography2
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Lupton: Linearity vs. Spatial Arrangement

By Erika Goering,

Response to Thinking with Type:

Linearity is something that happens when text is presented in a straight line, such as a news ticker or a banner. There’s no dimension to it, therefore it’s not as engaging as something more spatial. For example, a PowerPoint presentation is linear because, one frame after another, you’re given a little bit of information that is drawn out over time. It doesn’t give the viewer much in the way of interaction, though. And that’s why it’s so boring.

Spatial arrangement of text gives the viewer something to interact with. The viewer is more engaged and interested, because there’s something deeper than just one layer of information. This is seen often in the internet (think blogs or news sites with tags and categories, or searchable keywords). The internet is so engaging because information is being utilized in such a way that is specifically meant to be user-friendly.

With online typography and information distribution, content has become more accessible and legible. Technology has not killed typography; it has actually helped it evolve. Type has grown to become more fluid and flexible to accomodate the content and the user/viewer, as opposed to more concrete and static printed text.

The density of information that is happening now has encouraged interaction and intimacy among people and ideas. The transfer and transmission of information is so important. Typography helps it stay coherent and cohesive.

  Filed under: KCAI, Read&Respond, Typography2
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Read & Respond: Experimental Typography

By Erika Goering,

Experimental typography is an interesting kind of work, where letterforms and words become more than just a way to communicate. They become the communication themselves. I know that’s kind of hard to understand, but so is the webpage I just read. So bear with me, here.

Experiments and processes go hand-in-hand. They both result in a final outcome that leaves the designer more enlightened than before. In the process of experimentation, there is a goal to reach and a method to be explored. Experimental typography isn’t experimental once it’s finished. Because any finished work is no longer an experiment. Got it? Good.

Experiments are meant to be for gaining experience and knowledge about a topic. And the person performing the experiment gains the most knowledge from it, on a very intimate level. This is why it’s important for me to play around with typography and see how things work together when I’m starting a project. I’m experimenting. And I’m learning. And that’s what process is for.

  Filed under: KCAI, Read&Respond, Typography2
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7 Type Explorations

By Erika Goering,

If there’s one thing I like about letterforms, it’s their inherent sexiness. So many lovely shapes and personalities in letterforms. I loves me some letters, yo.

So this exploration of experimental typography was a lot of fun. I got to step away from actual words and just focus on these beautiful shapes in relation to other beautiful shapes.








  Filed under: KCAI, Typography2
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Letterpress Adventures 2: The Return of the Letterpress

By Erika Goering,

In the last episode, we chronicled our journey through the depths of the letterpress dungeon and told tales of our quest for the letter n and our encounter with a deceptive p masquerading as a q.

Things have calmed down since then. I got my cards printed without much fuss, and there is peace in the kingdom.

Behold, the artifacts of the letterpress adventure:

  Filed under: KCAI, Typography2
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Speaking of Printing… (Find & Share)

By Erika Goering,

Imagine a book about printing, made by various desktop printers from history. Printed through a chain of 4 printers representing a point in desktop printing history, each with an assigned color in the CMYK process.


I know. Crazy.


Xavier Antin uses an array of four vintage printers to print this book. Each one prints one of the CMYK colors, then sends it through to the intake feed of the next printer in the queue. So, there are four types of technology, progressing through 100 years of history on one sheet of paper. And this happens with every page of the book. The registration of colors (or lack thereof) shows both the separation and the unity of these technologies. All of them serve the same purpose. All of them have small, convenient form factors. But the method of getting an image on paper is different for each printer. These methods include inkjet and laser printing, as well as a stencil duplicator (mimeograph) and a spirit duplicator (the ones from back in the day that made grade school worksheets smell good when they came off the press… Mmmm…. printing…).

Stair-stepping through history.

Just In Time, via BoingBoing

  Filed under: Find&Share, KCAI, Random, Typography2
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Letterpress Adventures

By Erika Goering,

After watching the film “Typeface,” I was pretty inspired and excited to do some letterpress work of my own. So I was pretty happy when I heard we were actually going to do it in class.

This week went by pretty fast. I went from pencil sketches to using the press in just a few days. During this week, I’ve learned a few tricks. For example: Always have a mirror handy. It’ll reveal typos that were invisible before. That one’s a lifesaver. I almost printed the word “technipue” instead of technique. Letters are hard.

The week in review:

Pencil sketches

(All of them in one spot.)

(The best two of those, revised.)

Pencil and digital side by side

(Digital versions of those two.)

(Sexy digital closeup. Ooh, baby.)

Real-life metal, almost ready for printing! The suspense grows!

(Kind of figuring things out as I’m going along.)

To my surprise, using the letterpress wasn’t as difficult as it seemed. After the agony of searching for a rogue lowercase n (which I eventually found!) and swapping out my backwards q, everything after that was pretty peachy. A bunch of other people had way more issues than I did, and I’m very grateful that I paid close attention to their mistakes before printing my own work. It really helped a lot.

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Daniel Mall

By Erika Goering,

Technology over technique produces emotionless design.

At first glance, this quote feels like it came from the mind of a jaded veteran of 1960s design. Honestly, before I researched who Daniel Mall was, I figured he was some grumpy old man who already passed his prime. But, nope. He’s a young, contemporary dude who actually specializes in interactive media. Mostly digital. Mostly websites. (At least that’s what his portfolio shows.) Naturally, I find it interesting that such a quote could come from such a young guy who works so heavily in high-tech media. But what makes his work so well-made is not the fact that he’s using certain technologies and media. It’s well-made because he’s using basic elements of design. And he’s using them coherently. He’s putting design first and media second. It’s his wisdom and experience that makes it seem like he’s much older than he actually is.

His work focuses on clean, cohesive design, with elements of hierarchy, alignment, and the overall user experience. His projects are very easy to navigate and explore. He believes that every aspect of every project should be carefully conceptualized. And that’s what design is. It’s the practice of being careful and creative with presenting content to a viewer.

You can find out what makes Dan Mall tick at the following places:

I specifically chose a quote about technology because I wanted the medium itself to have meaning in relation to the quote. I want to show that postcards can be well-designed without being high-tech.

As I’ve said before, I greatly appreciate my time at KCAI because we’re not constantly glued to computer screens. We have to step out of our comfort zones and work with our hands from time to time. It’s the aspects of design that are span from one medium to another that really stick in my mind.

  Filed under: KCAI, Typography2
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