What is Typography?

  • The visual arrangement of letters and language
  • Something more systematic, modular, repeatable and reproducible using a predefined set of characters and a mechanism of formal spacing.
  • A way of visually managing information

How does it visually manage information?

  • By its structure - formal and informal
  • Coding - Through its level of importance/hierarchy
  • Modes of expression - clarity/interpretation
  • Materials - Awareness of physical text/context
  • Letters as forms - personality/functionality 
  • The words themselves
  • The little things - attention to detail - making sense of the differences 

Designing Typefaces

  • The key factor when designing a typeface is to notice that its main function is to be used for reading and communicating
  • The tiny quirks of form you see at large sizes contribute to the texture the typeface brings to the page
  • It is important to pay attention to its details - e.g. the aperture affects readability through the use of negative space in the counter. 

FF Meta

  •       Humanist sans-serif typeface family designed by Erik Spiekermann
  •       Released in 1991
  •       Intended to be a complete antithesis of Helvetica which he found to be “boring and bland”
  •       Throughout the 1990s, FF Meta was embraced by the international design community
  •       FF Meta has been adopted by numerous corporations and other organizations as a corporate typeface, for signage or         in their logo. – imperial college London, the weather channel, herman miller, and fort wayne international airport
  •        A general feature of FF meta is relatively open apertures, in contrast to the more folded-up appearance of Helvetica –        this is believed to promote legibility and make the letterforms more clearly different from one another.
  •        Meta was designed to be a readable, sturdy, basic sans serif typeface, working on the postage stamp scale, but also          as livery for post boxes.
  •       Attention was paid to creating a face that was easily readable from an angle, and in smaller point sizes
  •       “this hard-working text face seems to pair well with – and even elevate – just about anything it accompanies.”
  •       Swift, Minion, FF Clifford are serif typefaces that Spiekermann believe best complements it. 

Existing Products (Postage Stamps)

  • After brainstorming countless ideas, I decided to create postage stamps and therefore had to research into the format/dimensions/features of postage stamps to be able to effectively design my final outcome. 

Christophe Barneau - Stamps Voyager

  • He designed this typography based on Futura and inspired from the vision of the future in the 70's and the Vienna Secession. 
  • In his stamps, the fonts is shown in a retro style. They are made with ornaments from an old foundry book in the 30s and the illustrations are inspired from 50's poster. 

Jeff Stock - Postage Paid

  • Jeff Stock's postage paid project is an ongoing project that is inspired by Duane Dalton's Basic Stamps series
  • I like the use of basic colours that adds a more modern and simplistic feel to the stamps. 
  • He is inspired by a range of things and creates stamps based on them which I found really interesting as an ongoing series. 

Paul Breen - Five Senses Stamps

  • He issued a set of stamps illustrating the five senses. However, I really like how he added another level to his stamps by incorporating elements such as heat sensitive ink for touch and incorporated a scratch and smell technique for smell. 
  • They also incorporated image recognition technology, which when scanned on a mobile phone using an app automatically connects to online content on each of the five senses. 
  • I really like how he has taken ordinary stamps to a new level and re-marketed postage stamps as a design format which is very interesting. 

Final Outcome

My final outcome were a set of stamps that encapsulated the FF Meta font. FF Meta is a typeface that is described as being very basic and sturdy and is ultimately an antithesis of Helvetica. Although the German Post didn't end up using the typeface for their branding, the international design community embraced and recognized the typeface as a very iconic typeface. For my project I decided to design a set of stamps that encapsulates this through the use of Iconic buildings from around the world. I designed the stamps using very basic vector lines to mirror the serif features of the typeface. The typeface itself has a range of different weights and styles ranging from hairline to black which has been developed between 1991 and 2005. I included these facts on the stamps itself and incorporated the year each weight was released. The background of the stamps mirrors the weight of the font, the thicker the line the bolder the font. 

Developing Postage Stamps

Laura Zucker - Architecture Stamps

  • She created a set of four drawn postage stamps featuring abstract, colourful illustrations of modern architecture from around the world.
  • The use of bright colours adds a contemporary feel to the stamps.

Fabian Fohrer - Letter Inspired Stamps

  • Each letter of the Latin alphabet is based on geometric shapes. He separated these shapes, duplicated, scaled and cut them to create unique compositions. 
  • He utilizes interesting shapes and horizontal lines which I really like. 
  • As a collection, the stamps work really well together because of the use of colours. 


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