exercise specifications, objectives, some examples below, most recent at top.

An interesting glitch exercise.

 printed output, InDesign file, using Roboto Sans, a Google Font. Crashed the printer, too. Image courtesy Ari Grosvenor. Problem courtesy James Hillmann.

Something about Roboto here.

the takeaway
Use fonts from the Adobe Fonts Folio (via FontBook, stored on Working Volume).
If using a web font, test test test.

an excellent resource : Butterick’s Practical Typography.

typo-philosophical letters
specsbook of aphorisms, doubling as specimen book
  1. 8-12 aphorisms
  2. typographic illustration/ornament
  3. specifications
time5 November
conclusion 8 December
objectiveswork with specimens (text/image) and aphorisms (text)
use paragraph and character styles

This project has several moving parts.
Eight-twelve aphorisms.
Specifications. One different typeface for each of the spreads, drawn from the style classifications provided in Adobe Font Folio, that is:

  1. Venetian Oldstyle (e.g., Adobe Jenson Pro)
  2. Garalde Oldstyle (e.g., Garamond)
  3. Transitional (think: Baskerville)
  4. Didone (Modern: think: Bodoni)
  5. Slab Serif (pending)
  6. Grotesque/Neo-Grotesque (Franklin Gothic, Helvetica)
  7. Geometric (Futura, Kabel)
  8. Humanist (Gill Sans, Myriad, Optima)

We’ll skip the script, Decorative and Display fonts. Have some sense of what these categories mean/imply. We’ll need to use FontBook to access these fonts.

Each spread will indicate typeface, and specify point size and leading for its respective aphorism. No size limitation.

The specimen designs may be ornamental or legible, or a combination of both. They might be one or two letters, or a word or even phrase.

Collections of aphoristic writing will be available; you may source your own aphorisms from elsewhere, however.

There may be a letterpress component of this exercise: collaborative aphorism broadside.

The Historia Type Specimen book (2010) — among the most luscious and quirkily intelligent specimen books I’ve encountered — here.

But see also Hermann Zapf, his Manuale typographicum, subtitled 100 typographical arrangements with considerations about types, typography and the art of printing selected from past and present, printed in eighteen languages. (1968)

architecture and alphabet
specsposter announcing talk by, or about, a significant architect or architectural practice.
  1. Poster to include title of event/name of architect; place and time;event description; contact information (e-mail); and possibly montserrat logo.
  2. Primary emphasis should be typographic.
timeassigned 5 November
conclusion December
objectivesStructure that in some way captures signature style of an architect. The type may embody that style, or play against that style if it is represented by other visuals.


Many are the metaphorical parallels and analogues between letters and buildings. Buildings have been laid out on alphabetical principles. Typography shares with architecture a concern with detail and a concern about shaping and giving character to a larger space. Architecture provides a language to space and, by defining (limiting) it, allows it to be this and not that, lets it speak. Typographic and building detail provide signposts: the entrance to a building can be indicated solely by design inflection, or by a conventional sign that says entrance; the various entrances into a text are indented, mutely, by a paragraph indent.

Architecture, engineering, letter and typographic design share concerns with proportion, weight, measurements, clarity of purpose, distinctiveness, aesthetic versus functional objectives, etc.


Mies van der Rohe, Louis Kahn, Frank Lloyd Wright, Zaha Hadid, Tadao Ando, Daniel Libeskind, Frank Gehry, Diller + Scofido, Shigeru Ban, Tadao Ando, Toyo Ito, Peter Zumthor, Samuel Mockbee (and Rural Studio), Rem Koolhaas, Reiser + Umemoto, et al.

Pritzker Prize laureates are listed, by year and name, here.


  1. The constructed space is open in all directions.
    Architecture begins before architecture.

    Heinz Tesar, Notate

  2. Architecture has its own realm. It has a special physical relationship with life. I do not think of it primarily as either a message or a symbol, but as an envelope and background for life which goes on in and around it, a sensitive container for the rhythm of footsteps on the floor, for the concentration of work, for the silence of sleep.

    Peter Zumthor

  3. Demoralization of the eye began: names obliterating everything. Names and what they would do for you or with you or to you for your money. Shutting your eyes didn’t end it, for then you heard them louder than you saw them. They would begin to mix with absurd effect and you need take nothing to get the effect of another extravaganza. Letters this time. Another ballet, of A. B. C. D. E. F. G., L. M. N. O. P., X. Y. and Z., the première-danseuse intervening in fantastic dances.

    It would have been a mercy not to have known the alphabet. One pays a heavy toll for the joys of being eye-minded. Ear-minded, too.

    Frank Lloyd Wright, on taking the cable car, first day in Chicago; An Autobiography (1943) : 65

  4. Architecture is a communicative art. All too often, however, architecture is seen as mute.

    Daniel Libeskind

  5. Move it down... a little to the right.
    That some years ago, some poor sign installer went to put the first letter of the name of the museum up on the wall, and someone screamed, No, you idiot! Lower! Much Lower! Get it down close to the edge. And a quarter-inch to the right. That the building is the Guggenheim Museum, and that the architect was Frank Lloyd Wright, makes this photographic detail especially interesting.


  6. To the statement that the twenty-two letters of the alphabet are capable of expressing everything (sono bastanti a esprimere il tutto) he adds that if the alphabet were to have been lost and someone were to have suggested expressing all known and recorded facts with twenty-two letters he would certainly have been declared insane.

    Giulio Camillo
    quoted in Werner Oechslin, Architecture and Alphabet. Via 8 (1986): 96-125

  7. What is important for our purposes is that architectural theory and practice of the past two decades has attempted to hone methods for generating “objects” from fields... While collage multiples and disorients the stable relationship between a figure and a ground, it does not abolish it, whereas folding, whose concept of form is no more (and no less) than a disruption in a continuous surface, precisely stages the becoming of form through variable intensifications and manipulations in a continuous structure. Moreover, folding, like the computer technologies with which it is typically allied, is scalable not only can it generate a building’s plan through the modulation of structural members, but it is a technique for folding the site into the buildings and the buildings into the site.

    David Joselit, After Art (2013): 25-26

specsA résumé of yourself, or a fictional or real other. Two versions:
  1. gridded, analytical (= contents broken down and arranged spatially); 8.5 x 11 inch paper; multiple pages ok.
  2. and, either
    narrative (contents handled in sentences, paragraphs; need not exactly duplicate content in #1), 8.5 x 11 inch paper;
    another form, any size, need not be flat paper, but appropriate to your strategy.
    a different story about yourself (maybe not the one you show future employer).


  3. business card (2 x 3.5 inches)
timeassigned 22 October
conclusion 5 November
objectivesPreparation of content for different formats (here, multi-column grid, and narrative);
differentiation of content types, and consistent formatting of those via paragraph styles (making use of space before and after, roman / italic / smallcaps; etc.
thinking how printed résumé might relate to web version.


A résumé seeks to describe us so that an interested party can determine whether there’s a match. It says, I know things. I know how to do things, more than one thing. It says this with text, but it also communicates a good amount about us before a single word is read.

The résumé groups attributes, chronologically, categorically. It tends to take the form of a list, or lists, often with multiple columns.

If your resume is of someone else, let it be someone of interest to you.

Groups of entries will have headings (either conceptual, e.g., education or body scars, or chronological, e.g., childhood, first Grade, 10th Grade, etc). Your design and use of grid might allow you to present these headings above those entries, or perhaps aligned to their left.

Employ paragraph styles, for every element. Give careful thought to grouping elements — separating them from other entries in same class (e.g., jobs, or schools) by judicious use of space after settings. For both versions, differentiate categories of entries by italics, small caps. Use proportional oldstyle numerals (glyphs or, better, Opentype Features > proportional oldstyle).

Résumés for some positions are digitally scanned, and subjected to searches/filtering for key terms. Some complex, multi-column resumes are evidently not suited to this process. We read an article on this topic, Your Résumé vs. Oblivion (by Lauren Weber, The Wall Street Journal, 24 January 2012). NPR covered the same topic, also with Weber, here. It is not obvious that this is the case for design positions; however, the article is worth a read.

Typefaces might include Garamond, Minion Pro, Futura Std, Univers only. Document must include date.

For the business card, remember there are two sides. It must visually relate to the résumé. Production of card will involve ganging 4 or 6 cards on a single sheet, that will include crop marks you will need to create. More on this later. Keep an bleeds in mind; your master page for cards with bleed, will be different from master page for cards with no bleed.


index, (ordered) list, cloud
specsIndex any source text (20 entries, more is better). Six columns

You may use the grid as you feel best suited to your material. This will depend in part on the length of text you will be indexing, the size in which it is presented, and the length of your index. See below for one possible organization of the page.

  1. Index indicates not page but line numbers.
  2. A second version indicates not page but paragraph numbers.
    See Bullets and Numbering discussion in Sandee Cohen InDesign CC, especially pp 64-65.
  3. Third version treats indexicality in a different way.
    By purely typographic means, draw attention to specific words or phrases in the source text, perhaps expressing something about them, e.g., their frequency in the text, or importance.
    For this third version, the solution might look something like our earlier typeface comparision project. Nicholas Felton’s Feltron annual reports provide an example of visualization (taken to extremes); tag clouds also were mentioned as a possible model.

size (all versions) : tabloid, six-column grid.

timeassigned 8 October
conclusion 22 October
objectivesThis exercise brings us into synch; we revisit paragraph styles for a deeper look; examine models; think of ways to present lists, tags, and the like.

First job is to create the index. We will be using our source text for an index, list, and some sort of tag cloud or other visual representation of frequency or importance of terms (final form yet to be determined).

For Monday, bring in your text, indexed by you; and bring in a single book with an index — chosen from your books, for the quality or interest of the index.

 index, one configuration: six columns: three for text, one for line numbers, one for index, one blank.
baseline grid is same as text (and line number) leading.
exterior margins not shown.

The baseline grid is a convenient way to align text and line numbers. To set baseline grid : inDesign > Preferences > Grids > Baseline Grid : increment every [     ] (0p18 above), relative to : top margin

 index, close view of text and line numbers.

text : MillerText 14/18;
left justify;
word spacing 90% 100% 110%;
measure three 9p2 columns plus two 1p0 margins = 29p6

line numbers : MillerText 9/18;
align right; right indent 8p0;
col width 9p2

 index, close view of line numbers and index.

index : MillerText 10/12.5;
align left (rag right);
left indent 1p0; first line indent –1p0
col width 9p2

The third version of the index project will probably present a more visual means of providing access to, and understanding of, the source text, compared with the conventional indexes.


poems and a book to contain them
specsA book containing minimum five poems, of any length (or shape) or size. Poems may be conventional or concrete/visual. If not from three or four poems provided by instructor, all poems are to be created from language in either lingodroids or geological text.
timeassign Weds 24 September
conclusion Weds 8 October

To work and gain fluency with

  1. expressive and informational aspects of typographic design, and synthesize these;
  2. master page-defined multi-page layouts incorporating content (poetry) and paratextual (e.g., title page, page numbers) elements;
  3. sequencing, expressive and conventional poetic forms;
  4. work within limits (page size)

the work

All language to be drawn from either

  1. Schulz et al, Lingodroids: Studies in Spatial Cognition and Language (2001), or
  2. Plate Tectonics and Geomagnetic Reversals, readings with introductions by Allan Cox (Freeman, 1973).
  3. Or, poems having to do with rocks, by Sarah Kirsch, Gary Snyder, Yves Bonnefoy (and perhaps others).

It is to be noted that both texts pertain to kinds of landscape or terrain: either movement of plates, or of two robots upon the terrain.

before the book, the poems

The poetry might take two forms: (1) conventional poetry, set up in lines, possibly involving rhymes and metrics, etc., and (2) concrete poetry, emphasizing form over literal meanings of words, and yet derived from those words.

Concrete poetry is a movement, sometimes also called visual poetry (often abbreviated as vispo) that derives meaning from physical elements of words and letters, arranged sometimes in shapes, but sometimes in ways that suggest process or some witty inflection of a word or phrase’s meaning or meanings. More typically, a concrete poem defies a conventional reading.

All five must be created by you. You may mix forms in the book (conventional, concrete). Vocabulary is limited to what you find in the text provided by the instructor.

Book size
6 inches (36p0) by 9 inches (54p0)
suggested margins : outside, inside and top : 6p0
bottom : 8p0 (to accommodate page numbers, say 5p0 from bottom.
document bleed : 2p0.

This size allows us to print on 11x17 tabloid (landscape orientation), as spreads (for inspection) and later print booklet mode for saddlestitched/stapled binding. However, other production modes are acceptable.

The instructor will endeavor to provide different paper stocks for final production.

You may use a full spread for one poem. And even more pages than that! You might also present five conventional poems, each illustrated by a concrete or visual poem.

after the poems, the book

The completed volume will integrate:

  1. front and back matter, including
    half title and title pages,
    table of contents,
    a two-page introduction (written by you, or extracted from your article),
    colophon or bibliography
  2. the poetry itself, and
  3. page numbers, running heads or footers (if any)

Typefaces : start with Minion Pro, Futura Std, Univers, Garamond Premier Pro.

Use paragraph and character styles wherever appropriate (that is, for any text content that is suited to consistent control, throughout the book).

More details on the lingodroid material —
Ruth Schulz, Arren Glover, Michael J. Milford, Gordon Wyeth, Janet Wiles. Lingodroids: Studies in Spatial Cognition and Language.
2011 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, May 9-13, 2011, Shanghai, China

PDF of the above text can be accessed via this University of Queensland page devoted to lingodroid publications.
Or see Robot species that evolve a common language (6 May 2013) here.

Their 30 lovely, dada-istic toponyms are

boho   —   fexo   —   fili   —   futo   —   gige   —   heto   —   higo   —   jaro   —   jaya   —   juhe   —   kiyi   —   kopo   —   kuzo   —   liye   —   mira   —   pize   —   pucu   —   qoze   —   reya   —   rije   —   ruhe   —   sihu   —   soqe   —   vaji   —   xala   —   xapo   —   yaro   —   yifi   —   zuce   —   zuya

Toponyms in red from the initial lexicon.


  1. Numerous examples of conventional, experimental and concrete/visual poetry books will be available in the room each day.
  2. Jost Hochuli, Robin Kinross, Designing Books: Practice and Theory (London: Hyphen, 1996), for examples of title, table of contents etc designs
  3. Richard Hendel’s discussion of the design of his On Book Design (New Haven: Yale UP, 1998), that includes the full typesetting specifications for that volume. Our work with paragraph styles in InDesign is our introduction to such specifications.


typeface comparisons
 Project is in two parts:
analytical, and
presentation in three posters, minimum size 11x17 inches.
  1. Compare two typefaces, each from a different category as grouped in the Adobe Type Library — Venetian Oldstyle, Garalde, Transitional, Didone (Modern), Geometric, and Humanist.
    example pairs:
    Adobe Garamond (Garalde), and Baskerville (transitional); or
    Bodoni (Didone) versus Optima (Humanist).
  2. Look for differences and similarities between x-height (at a given type size), stroke width, relationship of thicks and thins, axis (for letters like o and e; also other features like ears, loops, tails, legs, terminals.
  3. Compare letters/groups of letters via overlapping. Use paragraph styles, so you can know what you’re looking at. You might differentiate by using different colors (or percentages of black) for the different typefaces.
  4. Compare words/phrases in terms of readability, when subjected to decreasing amounts of information (from bottom, from top).
  5. From these studies, derive designs for three posters, each emphasizing a different facet of comparison for the two typefaces.
timeassign Monday 15 September (?)
conclusion Monday 22 September (tentative)

Close analytical inspection of different typefaces.


See examples of overlay analysis in Karen Cheng, Designing Type (2006). See examples of type, pushed to extremes, in Sam Barclay his I wonder what it’s like to be dyslexic (2013).

More examples below —

 Indesign CS3
 Photoshop CS3 (layers and transparency)
 Illustrator CS3 (using opacity)

Not shown above, but conceivable for this project, would be to draw or trace the letters, e.g., draw a 240pt Fournier e over a 240pt Adobe Garamond Pro e.

Alternatively (and this would probably work best in Illustrator, you might show only the differences between the two, or probably better, the common denominators between the two in solid color, and their respective separate areas (no overlap) in two respective differentiating colors.

 Jack Truong, typeface comparison poster, 11x17 inches, one of three versions

One observation about Jack Truong’s version is that it does not include discussion, captions, etc. In this earlier iteration of the project, the instructor did not encourage/require use of grid (e.g., 6 columns 9 rows).


paragraph studies 1
specsparagraph (style) settings — alignment, hyphenation, word spacing, maybe letter spacing.
  1. Create letter-size page (51p0 x 66p0). Facing pages off.
    Margins 3p0 all the way around (which is the default).
    Two columns (margin 3p0).
    This setting yield two columns 21 picas wide.
  2. note —
    You can also do this in the layout > margins and columns menu. Do this for the master page (by double clicking on it, and then adjusting layout); or if you do it for the first page, drag that new layout up to, and drop into, the master page.
  3. Create text box, pour in text.
  4. Typeset in three different sizes and leadings (justified) and three different sizes and leadings (unjustified / ragged), either at the default margins, or at different margins you may decide to use (column widths, often called measures).
  5. Text to be distributed by e-mail. It is a single paragraph from An interview with Susan Howe, conducted by Lynn Keller. Contemporary Literature 36:1 (Spring 1995): 1–34. That paragraph begins At the time, Marcia and concludes with Just as a sailboat needs wind and water, also available via yaleunion.org).
  6. Note that there is one italicized word, and two m-dashes.
  7. We will create a paragraph style for each version, with a name that makes sense.
  8. All using Minion Pro Regular.
  9. Our job is to get the cleanest, most even read we can achieve, with the settings available via Indents and Spacing (for alignment), Hyphenation, and Justification.
  10. At the bottom, you should present the settings you’ve used on that page.
time8 September
conclusion Wednesday 10 September
objectivesgetting a sense of what we can control in paragraphs to achieve comfortable reading, even grays, avoidance of excessive white spaces between words, and rivers of white down a column.

Highly recommend a glance at the Rrose Sélavy (Marcel Duchamp): Some French Moderns Says McBride (1922) (low resolution scan, at 12MB, quite good enough!) for interesting example of increasing type size through successive pages.

 ex Rrose Sélavy (Marcel Duchamp): Some French Moderns Says McBride (1922); Beinecke Library copy

Duchamp described his idea for layout in a June 1922 letter to McBride: The brochure would have 26 or 27 pages (front–back) since each letter is on a page of its own. Now, if I have enough room, I propose the following: Set off on the first page with minute characters, ending up on the last page with big characters, making the characters progressively larger with each page. [..] I have already chosen the typeface ranging from 5 pt for the first page to 12 or more for the last page which will have 5 words (I think). With each page, the typeface, from the same family, will gradually increase in size. The first two articles on Cézanne will have to be read with a magnifying glass. And about the illustrations: My idea is to incorporate them into the text by gluing them onto the binding strip. I think it will be better to spread them out. (from Duchamp, Selected Correspondence, 2000)


grid studies
specstypographic compositions, InDesign, tabloid
  1. text from Gertrude Stein Sentences (handed out in class) or anywhere in her Matisse Picasso and Gertrude Stein (1911-1912, also known as G.M.P.) (available via gutenberg.org).
  2. minimum two compositions, all Futura Std Book.
  3. each composition will contain text from Gertrude Stein, which it will integrate with a somewhat arbitrary
    graphic shape.
  4. The graphic shape shall be the space between two letters. More than one such shape can be used on a page. You may derive it by hand (and then scanned), or via Photoshop or Illustrator. See Cyrus Highsmith for example.
  5. Structure your information in a disciplined, interesting way that takes full advantage of limitations (grid, margins, the shape) and the opportunities that result.
  6. Type may be reversed out of the shape (by changing its color from black to white)
  7. all type should respect the grid.>
  8. We discussed the importance of counter space, letter space, and line space to the creation of an evenly textured paragraph and page. See the important discussion of this matter — and the examples — in Cyrus Highsmith, his Inside Paragraphs, pages 12-25.
  9. See examples of an earlier version of this exercise, using only type (no graphics) here. And scroll down to see two examples by Lisa Martinez, from Spring 2014.
timeMonday 8 September
conclusion Wednesday 10 September
objectivesuse of grid, for structured typographic elements, and unstructured graphics

We’ve incorporated a grid in the digital version of the form and space exercise; now we work with a grid on a larger canvas, wherein we compose with grid-behaving typographic content, and some graphic stuff, that may be either randomly or intentionally placed.

first, some extracts

A grid breaks space or time into regular units. A grid can be simple or complex, specific or generic, tightly defined or loosely interpreted. Typographic grids are all about control. They establish a system for arranging content within the space of page, screen or built environment.
      Ellen Lupton, Thinking with Type

The use of the grid as an ordering system is the expression of a certain mental attitude inasmuch as it shows that the designer conceives his work in terms that are constructive and oriented to the future.
This is the expression of a professional ethos: the designer’s work should have the clearly intelligible, objective, functional and aesthetic quality of mathematical thinking...
Working with grid systems means submitting to laws of universal validity.
The use of the grid system means submitting to laws of universal validity.
The use of the grid system imples the will to systematize, to clarify...

      ex Joseph Müller-Brockmann, his Grid and Design Philosophy (1981),

There’s nothing like putting stuff in boxes. (or something to that effect)
      Muriel Cooper (somewhere)

The grid is an important underlying principle of typographic organization : spatial organization; hierarchies; rhythm; structure. Judicious use of grids gives permission for empty spaces, if there’s nothing to occupy them.

the work

two grid studies, using Futura Std, with type of same sizes/weights — e.g., Book weight, 8pt). Any more than the minimum two may include type of different sizes (and weight).
large graphic elements (derived from space between two typographic letters).

specifications — 11 x 17 inches (66p0 x 102p0).
six columns, nine rows.
exterior margin 3p0, but 8p6 at bottom.
each column 9p2 wide
each row 9p2 high, with a
1p0 margin between rows.

Open InDesign CC.
New document. Tabloid (66p0 x 102p0). Turn facing pages off.
Go to (and click on) master page (top of the little layout window at upper right; if not there, top menu > window > pages)
Change default margins from 3 picas (= 1/2 inch). Make them 3p0 at left, right and top, and 8p6 at bottom). Open.
Choose Layout > Create Guides. Enter 6 columns, 9 rows. important: Options: Fit guides to Margins.
OK, look at your document. Should have six columns, nine rows with 1p0 margins between them. To add pages, Layout > Add or insert pages.

You’ll need to bring your graphic into the document, too. Scan, copy and paste, or place the image file into the page you’re working with. Make it large. Low resolution is ok.

To see full page, View > Fit Page in Window.
To view page without grid/guide lines, go to bottom of vertical tool bar, click and hold on the small black arrow at bottom right of icon, and select preview.
To view page with grid/guidelines, same action but click on normal.
Finally, to see type rather than grey greeking rule, go to InDesign > Preferences > Display Performance > Greek Type (change from 7p to 4p). It will be too small to read, but will look more like type.

reminder 2
See also Cyrus Highsmith, his discussion of Type Design, in Nancy Skolos and Thomas Wedell, Graphic Design Process : From Problem to Solution, 20 Case Studies (2012) : pages 78-87


 Lisa Martinez, Grid Studies, 11x17 inches, example no. 1
 Lisa Martinez, Grid Studies, 11x17 inches, example no. 2


form and space, 2
specstypographic compositions, InDesign, presented in four 11-inch squares.
  1. Content is words (in English and/or Spanish) of a short poem by Alejandra Pizarnik.
  2. Two versions using Minion Pro, two using Futura Std Book.
  3. In one each of the Minion and Futura versions, all type is to be horizontal baseline.
  4. Each square must use all 18 words at least once.
  5. All squares must use grid that we will set up in InDesign: 1/2 border, and four columns and four rows. (We may use a 1 pica margin between those borders and rows.)

    I will demonstrate this in class.

    May repeat words and/or individual letters, or enlarge. Individual letters may be cut (using scissors tool, if you know how).

time3 September
conclusion 8 September
objectivessame as previous (tracing and bristol) versions

When we print, type that bleeds off the edges will not fully print (toner is not deposited on 3/16 edge. You may decide to work and deploy elements with this knowledge; I would also allow you to print at 95% scale, if you wish.

For Monday, read pages 13-25 of Cyrus Highsmith, Inside Paragraphs: typographic fundamentals (2012)


form and space, 1
specstypographic compositions, presented in four 11-inch squares (two pencil, two cut paper).
  1. Content is text of a short poem by Alejandra Pizarnik.
  2. All type is to be horizontal baseline.
  3. All versions using Futura Medium.
  4. Each square must use all 18 words at least once. The words need not be legible.
    Two are traced, from type previously set.
    Two are cut, and aligned to a grid. The grid is 1/2 inch border, and two-inch columns and rows. (In both versions, you may trace only sections of, or cut through, single letters or words.)
  5. We’ll return to the same project next week, using InDesign.
time27 August
conclusion Wednesday3 September
objectivesThis is largely a 2D design exercise.
As long as the words can be read, we’re more interested in activating the square space. Densities. Relationships. Masses. Relationship of massed shapes (of any size) with each other and the edges. Textures / grays.
at larger sizes, spaces between letters.


To access these fonts, we’ll need to use FontBook, which is in your applications (and perhaps on the dock). Go in, create new collection (e.g., type 1), and then add the two fonts to that collection. Add from where? Working Volume > Font Folio Fonts (new) > Western Fonts... ok, slow down... scroll down to, and click once on, Futura Std. Click on open. Now that font is activated for you.

Unless otherwise directed, this semester we will use only fonts from the Font Folio II Collection. I will provide you with a classified list of those fonts, soon.


This project is devoted to the dynamics of the 11 inch square space, texture, and its typographic content.

Typography is, in the first place, 2-dimensional design. There are exceptions and, indeed, the 2-D world is an abstraction : books are three dimensional, pages exist within them. Signage exists in space, within which we move relative to the sign. Etc.

But staying on the flat plane, for now, typography is about activation, control, modulation of gray (and colored) matter in space, across a sequence of such spaces.

(The exercise was originally intended to emphasize that what appears on screen has no direct reference to what is printed on paper. Type that looks one size on screen, for example, looks very different when printed.)

We’ll work with the (English) words in this poem —

The Great Words
      To Antonio Porchia

it is not now yet
now is never

it is not now yet
now and forever
is never

Las Grandes Palabras
      a Antonio Porchia

aún no es ahora
ahora es nunca

aún no es ahora
ahora y siempre
es nunca

Alejandra Pizarnik (1936-72), from Los trabajos y las noches / Works and Nights (1965)
Alejandra Pizarnik, Selected Poems (translated by Ceclia Rossi), Waterloo Press (2010)

more on Alejandra PizarnikAlejandra Pizarnik, Selected Poems is in the Montserrat Library.
See also wikipedia.

Read Craig Mod, Let’s talk about margins. We’re making a book. The margins are important. Do you know how important?
Medium. here.

the underpinnings of the class: objectives, expectations, criteria for credit

Project briefs, resources.

  1. Form and Space 1 (tracings, collage on bristol)
  2. Form and Space 2 (same, InDesign)
  3. grid studies (6 cols, 9 rows; text plus graphic material
  4. paragraph studies (justification, hyphenation, wordspace, etc. settings; InDesign)
  5. typeface comparisons (analysis, presentation)
  6. poems and a book to contain them (poems provided, or derived from text in papers on lingodroids, or on plate tectonics)
  7. index, (ordered list), cloud
  8. résumé (two versions, plus card).
  9. architecture and alphabet (poster)
  10. aphorism / type specimen book (possibly including EPUB output; letterpress exercise included)


Sandee Cohen. InDesign CC (Visual Quickstart Guide, 2014) — highly recommended

Adobe Font Folio 11, Type Reference Guide
recommended (and always in classroom)

Cyrus Highsmith. Inside Paragraphs (2012)


Adobe Typography Primer pdf
a 20-page concise and useful overview; includes glossary. recommended.

bookmarks on design related anythings at pinboard.in/u:disegno.

montserrat design tumblr

imposition press tumblr

Comments/questions to jmcvey.