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

For last major project, choose either architecture and alphabet poster, or book of aphorisms/type specimens, as described below.

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 16 April
conclusion 5 May
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

typo-philosophical letters
specsbook of aphorisms, doubling as specimen book
  1. 8-12 aphorisms
  2. typographic illustration/ornament
  3. One different typeface for each of the spreads, drawn from the style classifications provided in Adobe Font Folio, that is:
    Venetian Oldstyle (e.g., Adobe Jenson Pro)
    Garalde Oldstyle (e.g., Garamond)
    Transitional (think: Baskerville)
    Didone (Modern: think: Bodoni)
    Slab Serif (pending)
    Grotesque/Neo-Grotesque (Franklin Gothic, Helvetica)
    Geometric (Futura, Kabel)
    Humanist (Gill Sans, Myriad, Optima)
timeassigned 16 April
conclusion 5 May
objectiveswork with specimens (text/image) and aphorisms (text)


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.

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)

letterpress broadside
specscollaborative exercise, each person sets one aphorism.
  1. 36 pica measure, no indents.
  2. type between 14 and 36 points.
timetypeset 7 April
print 14 April
objectivespractical experience with lead type, and opportunity to observe actual printing, on a Vandercook proof press.

Detail below —

collaborative specimen sheet
letterpress, cropped (maximium line length 36p0 / six inches)
Typography 1, Spring 2014

top to bottom

Tomorrow, the birds / EG / Caslon Bold Italic 18 pt
If you can't convince / KD / unknown 48 pt
The year of / TB / Keynote 30 pt
Let's let the grass / ZF / Franklin Gothic 24 pt
Evil knows of / KE / Caslon Bold Italic 18 pt
An Amen face / SH / Gothic 24 pt
The early bird / RK / Masterman Roman 18 pt
Makeup – too bad / JC / Helvetica Bold 24 pt
Every tragedy could / AM / Bernard Modern Bold 18 pt
Quantification is / JT / Bernard Modern Bold 24 pt
In case you didn't / BM / Folio Bold Italic 24 pt
No rose without / KP / Caslon Bold Italic (and A and S Heavy Caslon 24 pt
Anything worth saying / LM / Bodoni Book 24 pt
Fear a fatal / AM / Franklin Gothic 24 pt
Time, which strengthens / BP / Keynote 24 pt
I drank to drown / JT / Franklin Gothic 24 pt
Common sense and sense of / DS / Caslon Roman 14 pt


specsA résumé of yourself, or a fictional or real other. Minimum two versions:
  1. gridded, analytical (= contents broken down and arranged spatially); 8.5 x 11 inch paper.
  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.
timeassigned 2 April
conclusion 9 April
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.


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.

Start with a list. As you compile this list, and then review it, you will see that entries group themselves, suggest yet other like entries. This will form you substance of your cv.

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.

Both required versions should employ paragraph styles. With the multi-column résumé version, 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.


specsIndex any source text (20 entries, minimum). Six columns, as follows:
  1. author, title, source
  2. text
  3. text
  4. text
  5. line numbers
  6. index, indicating not page but line numbers
timeassigned 26 (or 31) March
conclusion 2 April
objectivesThis exercise falls between our typeface comparison and next (résumé) exercises, to bring us into synch and to remind us about employing grids and paragraph styles.

for line numbers, use tab (align right)
for paragraph styles, remember Opentype Features, figure style > proportional oldstyle
Indent index entries, e.g., 0p6, but first line indent -0p6)

Showing grid and (blue lines) baseline grid.

Presentation view.

Look at some indexes. Have fun with these, whatever your source text.


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 Wednesday 5 March
Spring break
conclusion 17/19 March (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.


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. All language is to be drawn from a single (unpromising) source.
No limit on book size, but keep in mind production realities.
timeassign 10 February
conclusion 24/26 February

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.

the work

All language to be drawn from a single (unpromising) source, from either

  1. Schulz et al, Lingodroids: Studies in Spatial Cognition and Language (2001), or
  2. any of the scientific papers that won, for their authors, the 2013 IgNobel Prize. Those papers are listed and briefly described
    here, and are available from the instructor in pdf form.

The first job is to develop some poems.

On Monday, I distributed the lingodroid paper and a list of IgNobel prizes.

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
Stephen Ornes, Robots Invent Their Own Language / But no word yet on when they plan to overthrow us. Discover Magazine, 12 September 2011 (here).

Whose 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.

There are two essential categories of information in this book :

  1. its content —
    the poetry itself, which can be understood as exhibits (exhibit A, exhibit B, and so forth, as in a technical book); and
  2. the paratext —
    the parts that belong more properly to the book — identification and explanation of the content, navigation through the content, navigation through the book.
    One category must not be confused for the other.
    There’s the book, and the poems. We do both.

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.

Create your poems on page sizes that you think you might develop into a book. Thus, any page size larger than 8 1/2 x 11 will be a bad idea (because spreads must be printable on 11 x 17 paper).

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).


  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.

Wednesday February 5
Classes are cancelled. Life and work goes on.

Repeat same (Paragraph Studies 1) exercise, now at 24 point (leading your choice, try 30). You will see that 24 point is large.

Same as before, left (unjustified) and left justified. The size is large for the column width (otherwise known as measure.It will make sense then to play more with letter-space settings.
Copy won’t fit on one page, so let it flow to second (remember, red plus sign at bottom right of text box: click with black selection tool to load, then click on new page to continue on with new text box).

Get both justified and unjustified as clean as you can manage. You don’t need to do the less good versions, this time.

Plus, do the same, at 18 point, for Minion plus one other typeface, to compare. I suggest ITC New Baskerville Std (because it sets slightly wider than Minion Pro). Do the same settings work for both Minion and Baskerville? Are adjustments needed?

What will you have for Monday?

  1. The four original pages (Minion Pro, 14/18, justified and unjustified, good and less good — even intentionally extreme — versions of each)
  2. two versions (Minion Pro, 24 point, leading maybe 30 point, justified and unjustified)
  3. four pages — two versions each, Minion Pro and New Baskerville, 18 point (leading 22? you decide), justified and unjustified, to see the implications of using different typefaces (for flavor, for settings).

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)


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. 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).
  5. Note that there is one italicized word, and two m-dashes.
  6. Minion Pro Regular.
  7. We start with Minion, 14/18. one page justified, one page unjustified.
  8. We will create a paragraph style for each version, with a name that makes sense.
  9. e.g., Minion 14/18 just, hyphen-on.
  10. 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.
  11. Will want to see the best and next-best you can achieve, for both justified and unjustified.
    that next-best should probably be, the worst you can intentionally achieve — the point being, take some variable (e.g., word spacing), and change its desired setting to an extreme (e.g., from 100 to 300), to see what kind of control you have.
  12. At the bottom, you should present the settings you’ve used on that page.
time3 February
conclusion Wednesday 5 February
when we will work with at least one other type size (probably 18 pt, maybe 24 pt).
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.

For a larger type size than this first iteration.

 Instructor’s example, for a larger type size.
A second version would show some preposterously exaggerated setting for at least one of the variables.


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 this semester.
time29 January
conclusion Monday 3 February
Wednesday if necessary
objectivesuse of grid, for structured typographic elements, and unstructured graphics


Apologies for clumsily adjusting exercises, to bring the class to where it needs to be following our untimely snow emergency missed day, in same week as the MLK holiday. 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 CS6.
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 10-inch squares.
  1. Content is words (in English and/or Spanish) of a short poem by Alejandra Pizarnik, or text from Gertrude Stein Sentences.
  2. In two of the versions, all type is to be horizontal baseline.
  3. Two versions using Minion Pro, two using Futura Std Book.
  4. Each square must use all 18 words at least once.
    May repeat words and/or individual letters, or enlarge (and enlarge) and trace those. (The only way to trace, obviously, is to prepare a page with the phrase, print it out (perhaps with the type at different sizes), and proceed. Photocopier may also be used to enlarge type for tracing.
time27 January
conclusion 29 January
objectivessame as previous (tracing) version,



form and space, 1
specstypographic compositions, pencil on tracing paper, presented in four 10-inch squares.
  1. Content is words (in English and/or Spanish) of a short poem by Alejandra Pizarnik.
  2. In two of the versions, all type is to be horizontal baseline.
  3. Two versions using Minion Pro, two using Futura Std Book.
  4. Each square must use all 18 words at least once.
    May repeat words and/or individual letters, or enlarge (and enlarge) and trace those. (The only way to trace, obviously, is to prepare a page with the phrase, print it out (perhaps with the type at different sizes), and proceed. Photocopier may also be used to enlarge type for tracing.
  5. We’ll return to the same project later in the semester, to think about what’s different, and what’s the same, between doing this exercise on paper, and later, on the machine.
time15 January
conclusion 27 January (22nd was snow day)
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.
Recognition (and avoidance) of default thinking — e.g., reading starts at upper left of a page where it is inappropriate or uncalled for.


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 10 inch square space 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 words (English or Spanish) 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.

elaborations, objectives, expectations, criteria for credit

Project briefs, resources.

  1. Form and Space 1 (tracings)
  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. poems and a book to contain them (derived from text in lingodroids or IgNobel prize papers)
  6. typeface comparisons (analysis, presentation)
  7. index
  8. résumé cv (two versions)
  9. letterpress broadside (collaboration)
  10. and either
    aphorism / type specimen (book)
    architecture and alphabet (poster)


Sandee Cohen. InDesign CS6 (Visual Quickstart Guide, 2012) — 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.