Type Basics: Anatomy

Book one was all about the anatomy of typography and the very basics. So, I thought, what are the foundations of a letterform? On Moodle, we had been linked a page that breaks down type, but I wanted to go further and research more into the composition. After all, I am hoping to spend the rest of my life working as a graphic designer so I figured it would be in my best interests to delve further into the field.

My book was all about how you can use typography to your best ability, once you have learnt the basics. I narrowed down the pages in my sketchbook as I knew that if I didn’t, I’d end up with a graphic novel rather than a 16 page book.

Here is the final book layout:


Overall, I’m extremely happy with the style of my books. They work well as a collection, you can tell they belong as a range yet they strive individually. I think the white space works well as the minimalist style really draws you in. The condensed black font contrasts well against the overall white page. I’m really proud of the final designs, I’m glad the books had to be black and white as if it had to be in colour I wouldn’t have any idea where to begin. It was a good starting brief, I particularly enjoyed it.


Grids, Guides and Baseline

The grid makes it possible to bring all the elements of design- type characters, photography, drawing and color – into a formal relationship to each other; that is to say, the grid system is a means to introducing order to a design. A deliberately composed design has a clearer, more neatly arranged and more successful effect than an advertisement put together at random” – Josef Muller Brockmann

Now, I wasn’t the biggest fan of InDesign but since beginning university I have to say I’m impartial, especially when it comes to clean layouts, and that’s because of the 3 musketeers that are grids, guides and the infamous baseline.

Let’s start with the baseline grid. This is practically lined paper in a digital format. Personally, I like the baseline as I’m a little bit of a perfectionist when it comes to order, I’m very particular when it comes to alignment and spacing within text. Using leading you can easily manipulate this, but using the baseline grid is much more efficient and practical as it knows where the text should be, rather than blind guessing by eye.

I am forever grateful for guides. Being the perfectionist I am, when it comes to symmetrical design, guides are second-to-none. They aid in the placement of text, images and everything in-between. They can be placed anywhere on the document and can be used in parallel with grids to reassure that inner perfectionist.

Everything should fit to a grid; vertically, horizontally or both. Grids are used to create a structure within your document, they’re popular for magazine and newspaper layouts as there is a clear structure to design within. Grids are useful as you can personalise them to structure whatever document you are creating. Whether it be a magazine layout, a poster design or a website; grids come in handy within all aspects of design when it comes to creating order.

Dalton Maag

Founded in London by Bruno Maag in 1991, Dalton Maag are an independent type design studio with offices around the globe. The team consists of 41 international font developers, software engineers and creative designers whom collaborate and have worked for big/small businesses alike. Their portfolio consists of work developed for Rio 2016, Toyota, Google, Vodafone, BMW, Amazon, Nokia and many more.

Dalton Maag offer a range of fonts on their website which you are able to buy a license for; the price varies depending on the font you want. For example, Setimo Family costs £90 whereas buying the family of Aktiv Grotesk would cost £240. However, you can buy individual fonts for around £15 each. So, whatever your budget, Dalton Maag has a variety on offer. Still, this is a lot cheaper than the Helvetic family which would set you back over £700.

The man behind the magic himself is Bruno Maag. born in 1962, he is  Swiss type designer whom started his career as an apprentice typesetter forSwitzerland’s largest newspaper; Tages Anzeiger. A typesetter is an individual whom is sent the images, text and any other illustrative material and they begin setting it out on the page ready for print. After his apprenticeship, his began to study a degree in Visual Communication at Basel School of Design in Basel, Switzerland. He had a placement at Stempel Type Foundry in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. This is where he met Rene Kerfante and was later invited to join him working for Monotype. This was a bold move for Maag as he worked for Monotype in both the UK and the US, where he later designed typography for The New Yorker; an American magazine published by Condé Nast (whom also publish Vogue). He has designed many typefaces in his career such as Aktiv Grotesk, Co, Elevon, Stroudley, Viato and many, many more. His is reknown for his severe dislike of the typeface Helvetica, which I am personally a fan of so I can’t relate.