Typography with depth

Type with depth.

Type with depth. Looks cool, doesn’t it? This is in JPEG form because it is an image.

Another thing that I love right now that I feel like I can never use in a realistic work setting is type with depth. This is another one of those “no-no’s” in my graphic design classes that I feel like can look really interesting when put in a simple design. I must say, I can’t actually think of a time when I would have wanted to use it in my own designs… but then I get on Behance and everything that looks like that looks great!

I love how the typography becomes part of the image it’s placed in. Or it looks like you could stick your hand up and grab it right off the page. It is obviously one of those elements that only works in very rare instances and I just wish that I got the chance once in a while to use it. I would even like to learn how it’s done! The image shown looks so real it might even need to be done in Cinema 4D or something similar….. yikes!


Type as visual punctuation

There’s one thing in graphic design that I simply cannot get enough of right now and that’s type as visual punctuation.

Whenever I start a project such as a brand identity, editorial design, or something that needs to be unified, I always try to design something that can be spread across all applications in order to make everything look cohesive. I always do something simple like a shape, line, etc. In my most recent project, I strayed away from shapes and decided that I wanted to simply use elements of type as unifying factors.

For example, I was restricted to only two colors, so I obviously used the colors to unify everything. But, I made my quotation marks very large and lightly colored in the background of my pull quote to pull it out. This added a splash of color that matched the rest of my newsletter as well as a very nice element of design.

The picture below shows how simply making a special character larger can add a lot of spice to a project!

Visual Punctuation

Type as visual punctuation. This image is GIF because it is flat color.


Nike Font

Maybe not all of us own a NIKE shirt, but we can sure spot one from a mile away. What is it that makes Nike clothing so identifiable?

….. the font! Nike uses Futura Condensed Extra Bold for nearly everything they print words on.

Nike shirt

An example of a Nike shirt. Notice the overlap, large type, and small logo! This is in JPEG form because it is an image.

Nike uses its font SO well that it continuously blows my mind. I don’t know if it’s the consistency of application, the size, the weight, or what… but everything about Nike’s branding is remarkable. They don’t even need their logo to appear very large on a shirt for everyone to know that it is a Nike shirt.

I personally think the way Nike spaces every letter, the size, and also the use of overlap is what makes it so known throughout the world. They don’t put a lot of information on a shirt. They simply put one phrase, very large, in the same font EVERY TIME.

That’s what you call simple, great brand identity.


GOOD goofy typefaces

I’m using this blog page as more of a page where I vent about graphic design “rules” that I think are a bit ridiculous. My next one… goofy typefaces! This is one that I am ALWAYS told “No” to in my graphic design studios. There are some pretty awful typefaces out there. In fact, 70% of them are hard to look at and poorly designed. But… yep, here comes the “but” … there is an exception to every rule!

A good example of goofy type!

A good example of goofy type! This image is a JPEG because it is an image.

The example to the left is a design I found that uses a goofy typeface well. The typeface really makes the design complete. It adds personality and spunk that couldn’t be found with any other typeface. Imagine Helvetica used in its spot….. it would look weird, am I wrong? Sometimes, when the focus of the design is based around the typeface, it needs to be a little different. Typical typefaces don’t always work, contrary to my professor’s beliefs.

Goofy typeface

Another awesome example of a weird typeface. What a great piece! This is a JPEG image because it is not flat color.

I do need to get them credit where credit is due though. In most cases that are realistic in the work world, goofy typefaces just don’t work. I know that they are just teaching me realistic methods that I will need to abide to 90% of the time in the workplace. I’ve included another example of goofy type that I really, REALLY like. This is such a beautiful design and I think with any other type it just would NOT look the same!


Outlined type… is it really that bad?

Every one of my graphic design teachers always gives me a scolding when I use outlined type. I, obviously (being a somewhat testy and experimental student) have to try it once in a while. But, whenever I get told NOT to do it, I simply don’t understand why it is that awful? Sometimes, I do think it looks pretty tacky… but can’t it work every once in a while!?

I think the obvious answer to that question is, YES! I love outlined type in some cases. Below is one example of outlined type that works. Some cases of outlined type that work (IN MY OPINION) are when used in front of an image. Sometimes if you don’t have the space to place the text separate from the image, you have to place it over. But, maybe there isn’t a great place to put it without obstructing an important part of the image. This is where outlined type comes in. If you simply use outlined type in white and then place it over the image, it solves the problem of not losing any of the picture while still placing the text over it.

The example I show down below is when outlined type can give something character. I will admit, this design isn’t exactly sophisticated, BUT, without the outline around the type there wouldn’t be nearly as much character to this piece. It really works in this example to help create contrast between the background design and type.

This is an example of a design that uses outlined type. Without it, the design would not have as much character. This image is a JPEG because it is a poster.

This is an example of a design that uses outlined type. Without it, the design would not have as much character. This image is a JPEG because it is a poster.

See, outlined type CAN work! I really don’t think it is always that bad, in fact… sometimes it can make a design look great.



All capital letters on household decor.

An image of one of the household decorations I’m speaking of. Notice how every letter is capital? This image is in JPEG form because it is a photo.

It seems that one of the new fads among design, brands, editorials, and many more-is all caps! Everywhere I look, it’s capital letters here and capital letters there. For example, you know those cute quotes on Pinterest? The ones that people hang up on some nude colored canvas in their homes? EVERY letter is in capital letters! I’ve included a picture of one of these, in case you have never been on Pinterest (what?!) and seen them.

I must admit, they are pretty adorable and meaningful. BUT, people forget that the little button to the left of your pink finger can actually be turned OFF once in a while. What happened to the good ol’ days in grade school when we learned that you only use capital letters at the beginning of sentences and with proper names?

As a designer, I actually think this canvas would be just as cute if you included some lower case letters. It almost makes it more personal. Like, instead of me yelling this quote at every person who walks in the door, I’m simply telling them that “Hey, this is the way we roll around here. If you have a problem with it, the door is that way.” See? Just as rude, but not so in your face. Lowercase letters are actually pretty useful, and they look just as nice!


Gotham – The ULTIMATE Sans Serif Font

Weights of Gotham

The many different weights of Gotham. Take a look at the perfect “O’s”!! This image is a PNG so that it will have a transparent background.

Helvetica reined the sans serif world for some time. However, there’s a new sheriff in town. The sans serif typeface that strikes my fancy nowadays is Gotham. There’s something about its perfect “O” shapes and great variety of thicknesses that looks beautiful on a printed page. Take a look at the first image to see the different thicknesses I’m talking about…. AWESOME, right?!

Where did Gotham come from? According to Wikipedia, GQ was looking for a typeface with great “geometric structure” that would look “masculine, new, and fresh” for their publication. The creator actually based its form off of the typeface, Futura.

The typeface is so simple and modern that a lot of brands nowadays are switching their logos to use the font. For example, when The Today Show changed their font, they switched it to Gotham. The image to the right is an example of their new logo using this typeface. Some people think that Gotham is used too much, but I strongly disagree.

The Today Show Logo

The Today Show logo using Gotham as their main typeface. This image is a JPEG because it is not a flat color photo.

The beauty with Gotham is that it’s simple enough that you can have crazy designs around it, and it doesn’t clash with the designs. Me, being a crazy graphic designer, I love bright colors, great lines, interesting visual punctuation. Therefore, when I’m looking for a typeface, I always look for a simple one that doesn’t cloud my judgment when I’m switching other things in my design. At the end of a rough computer draft, when my designs look rough and there is stuff EVERYWHERE on my page, Gotham brings in great negative space and geometric proportions and helps me tone back my designs to match it.

A few other brands that have used this typeface previously are the Chicago 2016 Olympic Bid and Obama’s 2008 logo & slogan used for his first campaign-both can be seen in the images below. For Obama’s 2008 campaign, this slogan was put on shirts, signs, hats, bumper stickers, commercials, etc. They used Gotham because it’s not hard to read, easy to identify, and has a variety of weights that can be used to pull out important lines of text. In the Chicago Olympic bid logo, Gotham is a great contrast from the complicated and colorful Olympic rings and potential logo.

Obama's 2008 Slogan

Obama’s 2008 Slogan. Two different weights of Gotham are used. This image is in GIF form because it is flat color.


Chicago 2016 Olympic Bid Logo. Gotham is used for both lines of text and contrasts the busy image very well. This image is a JPEG because it is not a flat color photo.

Obviously, even after reading this, I’m sure many people disagree with me that Gotham is the ULTIMATE sans serif font. However, I think it is beautiful and provides great visual hierarchy and unity within designs without needing to use other graphic elements.