Not to add to the “what do kids know these days anyways” whinge, but well-crafted typography seems to be the oft-ignored sibling of special effects, screen-resolution graphics, and social-media links. Whether we can fully blame it on online design, which still is so limited for expert typographic tools, or lazy designers who believe that the “optical” setting in InDesign is a substitution for kerning and wordspacing (hint: it is not), typography still seems like some unattainable profession only for academics and Europeans.
I am most certainly not a typographer. Perhaps I am more of a working typophile, and I just don’t think that great type needs to be the exclusive domain of type specimen sheets, art posters and design firm self-promotional materials.
Great typography can live in all its glory from a headline on a rack brochure to a wordmark to the flavour name on a bit of packaging. Using a canned typeface for a logomark is just not the same as custom drawing every character to work in harmony with each other. The extra effort is not superfluous. After all the strategic-marketing-big-idea-breakthrough-design work is complete, custom kerning the nutrition facts table and net weight is the very craft of what great design is all about.
I guess that’s why I am so happy that the folks over at Working Format (creators of the Cheaper Show poster above) here in Vancouver are officially celebrating their launch this Thursday. Dedicated type designers are a rare breed. And a local one is rarer still. Check them out online, or show up at the launch. I wish them all the best (and really hope I get to work with them soon!)
Matthew Clark is Principal and Creative Director of Subplot Design Inc., an internationally-recognized brand design firm based in Vancouver, BC