the Anatomy of Typography (assignment 1)

Although you probably know the difference between serif and sans-serif fonts, typography is actually so much more interesting than that. Discover the anatomical characteristics and some history. According to Ellen Lupton: Typography is what Language looks like.

#1 Watch the prezi about the Anatomy of Typography by Ellen Lupton. This is mainly straight forward theory on the Anatomy of Type. But to learn to work with type, these basics can be helpful.

Type classification is a system used to divide typefaces into categories. This is useful for several reasons: to help identify them historically, to distinguish them visually, and to assist in combining them. Most typefaces fall into four broad categories: serif, sans serif, scripts, and decorative. But within these groups are many subcategories. (source:

#1 Assignment

Look around you, keep it close (and save). Can you find typefaces which are not meant as Type? Could the tape roll be an “O”? Is your chair a “B”? See if you can find enough glyphs to form a word with 8 different letters (f.e. sandwich).
Photograph, scan, draw etc.

#1 a Make at least 3 words, with the glyphs. And post them.

#1 b Can you anatomize the glyphs and words? Are there any ascenders to be found? Are there any classifications to be found?Try to find them and mark what it is in a 2nd post.

#1 c Style exercises

The designer as a reader

Letters make words and words have a meaning. Scale, tone, texture and composition are important for the recognition and meaning of words, this must be taken into account when designing text. Reading and understanding copy is vital for the decisions about ordering the information. It is important for a designer to distinguish between main issues and side issues and to play or to draw attention to text or words, for example quotes or highlighting words or pieces of text. This with the aim to get in touch with the reader or viewer and attract attention. In order to achieve this, you have to look as a designer with the reader’s gaze and interpret the hierarchy in texts as a reader would.

Exercises in style,

‘Exercices the style’ of Raymond Queneau appeared in 1947 is not a real novel but the same story told in 99 different ways, some subtly different abstract but all with its own narrative form.

A Parisian bus passenger sees how a man with a long neck and a strange hat argues with a fellow passenger. Later in the day he comes across the quarrel again; this time he is accompanied by a friend who advises him to put an extra knot on his coat.


 You choose three variants of those ninety-nine. You are going to display the style of these three typographically. Take the time to read well and understand what the style entails. Some texts are ‘loud’ or ‘silent’ Some will immediately raise an idea others are more difficult to solve. The challenge lies in making an interesting composition and not in making the text readable. Make sure your font(s) match the style and make the layout appropriate to the style. This can mean that you rotate letters or words, work with enlargement and reduction, bring strong contrasts, everything is allowed for the style as long as possible. Do not be too careful! Mention your style on the poster (is the title).

Format A3 black / white no illustrations

End result post three A3 posters Here you find all 99 variations starting on page 5

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