May 1, 2008

CMYK Presents "The TypeOff"

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It takes alkynes to make a world. While we in the Sun Design Department are definitely not nerdy enough to crack such a crude chemistry joke, we do have our own “geek sessions”. One such event took place this past Saturday when Design Editor Carol Zou, Assistant Design Editors Deb Tan and I, sat down for an informal conversation about some Daily Sun fonts, moderated by Arts & Entertainment Editor Julie Block.
As Carol mentioned in her last post, designing Sun pages involves many nightly choices regarding the look and feel of the page: should I box an article, or separate it from the adjacent one with a photo? Should the Men’s lacrosse headline be italicized, or the women’s basketball (italicizing Women’s Basketball might seem like conforming to gender stereotypes—drama!). One of the best decisions a designer can make is which font to use. While our headlines, captions, body text, and masthead all appear in the same fonts on a daily basis, less rigid elements of the page (like special features and info graphics) have introduced new choices to the Design Staff.
Our cast of characters today will be the Sun fonts, as they appear throughout our pages. Before watching, perhaps we should get to know our stars a little better:

Adobe Garamond (body text):
Garamond is one of the classic serif fonts used throughout publishing. It’s form is very much similar to the infamous Times New Roman, but is often described as more fluid. According to Wikipedia, the font is named for famous font “punch cutter” Claude Garamond, who “came to prominence” in the 1500s. Garamond is a versatile and universal font in the spirit of Claude Garamond’s works, and has many different incarnations. Our version was “tweaked” by Adobe (of PhotoShop fame).

Helvetica Neue (special features):
In contrast to Garamond, Helvetica is a new kid on the block, having been design in 1957. The font’s name was eventually derived from the Latin word for Switzerland, the typeface’s country of birth. It is one of the most widely used sans serif fonts, and roughly resembles Arial. Its biggest mark of distinction is the strictly vertical and horizontal cutoffs. Helvetica exploded onto the Graphic design seen, and has been widely accepted as the go-to font for clean-cut modernity.
Helvetica Neue (New Helvetica) came to prominence in the 1980s, and features more consistent line thicknesses and weights than the original.

Cronos Pro (captions):
Cronos, according to its company of origin, Adobe, was “created by Adobe type designer Robert Slimbach, Cronos is a new sans serif typeface family that embodies the warmth and readability of oldstyle roman typefaces.” According to Adobe, the font was inspired by Renaissance typefaces and features an almost hand drawn feel.

These three fonts provide a perfect sampling of the business of designing typefaces: many like Garamond are nearly as old as the printing press itself. Some like Helvetica are passionate emblems of a modern historical movement. And some, like Cronos are recent inventions by the modern masters themselves. Whatever the case, it truly takes all kinds (of fonts) to make a world!
Be sure to check out CMYK as we update throughout the summer, and without further or do, enjoy The TypeOff.

Click here to watch The TypeOff