Exercise 1 – Mixed messages

What kind of messages are the statements below sending?

ENJOY YOUR STAY – The choice of this Old English font speaks to me of reliable, traditional values associated with staying in a pleasant, quiet and retro style little hotel in the countryside

DO NOT FEED THE ANIMALS THEY ARE DANGEROUS – serif typeface, capital letters, with a rather formal and weak feel. I don’t think it particularly suitable to a warning signal like this. Perhaps I would have chosen a sans serif typeface for a more straightforward and forceful effect

WE ARE PROFESSIONALS – Simple, minimalist, elegant choice of a typewriter classical typeface, it seems to imply attention to the details and bespoke service

LUXURY – This is a leisurely modern typeface looking like being hand drawn, it does seem fit to express a laid back easy luxury style

HAND MADE – Clean and informal feel for this lower case typeface. It does not say much about the product, which I imagine simple and unpretentious. It’s a neutral and in my opinion a tiny bit impersonal choice


My own examples



I think that this script typeface on a barber’s sign looks old-fashionably pompous and trite and that the addition of the face silhouette and of the lines below makes it unpleasantly cluttered. I found this example at: http://reallybadtype.blogspot.it/ and I cropped the image so the place cannot be easily recognized.




At: http://bonfx.com/bad-typography/

This example is made up and it makes the point. Certainly the combination of words, font and colours is not soothing or reassuring.



At: http://www.lottomio.it/2014/03/chi-ha-acquistato-i-nostri-giornali-ha-vinto-noi/

The front page of this lottery magazine is nightmarish but perhaps is not typographically wrong, the reader’s gaze is frantically drawn in every direction and the idea is that there are so many possibilities to win that it would be a shame to not try.

The effect is not very different from the cover of a gossip magazine like this one


At: http://it.ibtimes.com/kate-middleton-incinta-su-chi-i-giornali-inglesi-imbufaliti-con-alfonso-signorini-1328430

Here the mix-up of fonts, colours, images are competing for attention in a garish way, no search for refinement or polish in this case.

Below are some other examples I have cut out from different types of magazines and arranged in ‘families’.

The ‘hand made’ group


Both examples want to convey an hand-made feeling, but I think the script font above is rather predictable while the one below shows imagination with a contemporary feel.


The script family


All three are included in advertisements for jewellery:

the first on top is for a line a children jewellery and seems to be written by an orderly primary school girl in a neat hand-writing, maybe nothing spectacular but correct

I really don’t like the script in the middle, it looks hackneyed and uninspired but perhaps reflects the style of the jewels

the third font below speaks of classical pearls and stones and seems to be tailored to its product.


The combination of fonts



Combining fonts looks tricky!

Above the luxury brand Louis Vuitton takes on an avant-garde turn with a combination of a grunge style and typewriter fonts, while below the slick design magazine Elle Decor strikes in my opinion a less convincing note with a confusing combination of underlined, bold and italics all together in the same page.


A refined group


The three typefaces above exude refinement and tradition in different ways.

On top a custom-made sans-serif font, with a play between round and elongated letters, in the middle a traditional serif typeface with the elegant touches of the initial J and the Q letters, at the bottom the generous space left among the letters give a feeling of open air and transparent skies.


The use of colour




These examples all show variations in the use of colour in typography. On top a grunge looking typeface which seems collaged – in a not too pleasant attempt to reflect the subject. The other two are traditional choices with an interesting touch, somewhat flippant in the middle, established at the bottom.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s