THE LANGUAGE OF LETTERING HAS IT'S OWN "ABC'S"
The printing press and computer have brought us far from the days of stone and chisel. With thousands of font styles, communication has a plethora of selections for effecting its purpose. Lettering has a specific vocabularly and the examples below will define them before proceeding to other aspects of Letter Design, Posters and Calligraphy.
|There are 3 "cases" in lettering: UPPER, lower and Mixed--demonstrated easily by those very 3 words. We usually sign our names in mixed case. Titles, logos, newspaper headlines, store ads, and millions of other printed things can be upper or lower case--and mixed too. Designing and drawing these letters requires the use of "guide lines" which keep letter heights equalized. For more on this see Drawing Letter Forms, part 3 of this series.|
Now "style" is the essence of lettering and gives certain character to the words it forms. We define 4 types, the first being "Script"--a style very familiar to "handwriting". It is a "thick and thin" letter form, is usually slanted (italic) and can be anything from very bold to very delicate.
The most common style, and most economic is "Condensed" in which height is greater than width. This extension of height allows more letters and therefore words, to fit on an advertising line.
The least used is "Extended", the very opposite of condensed. Instead of squeezing the letters upwards, it stretches and exaggerates them in a horizontal spacing. It requires lots of room.
"Unusual" or Trademark lettering is special letter forms, logo designs for company identity and usually copyrighted. Nike, Coca-Cola, Spearmint are all recognizable practically the world over. A designer may create hundreds of ideas until that perfect one is approved.
And the last category, "New" is an active state of creating and designing new fonts, headings or other eye catching words for brochures, logo offerings, or to suit specific the needs of a client. All the art elements of balance, texture, line, color, pattern, etc. are an important background for these applications.
|Each style of lettering has particular characteristics. These are presented in the the next section, Lettering 2 with definitions and examples.|