Communications Mini Project 3: Exploring Typesetting
Time Frame: 1.5 weeks
Typeface: Eva (3 styles: Maria, Duerte, Peron)
Applications: Adobe InDesign, Photoshop
Day 1: Initial Type Analysis & Research
EVA - VOCAL
EVA is a font family inspired by banners carried during a1957 women's demonstration in Buenos Aires in front of the…
Tré Seals wants to diversify design through typography | Design Week
Seals set up foundry Vocal Type - which takes inspiration from past protest movements - in the hope of celebrating…
Vocal Type Co (or: Studio Seals)
Vocal Type Co (or: Studio Seals) [Tré Seals] During his studies at Stevenson University in Washington, DC, Tré Seals…
Amid the rise of anarchism and the socialist party in the early twentieth century, during a period of time riddled with instability and uncertainty, resilient women in Buenos Aires fearlessly held banners in front of the National Congress during a 1957 Universal Suffrage demonstration. Eva Perón, the Argentinian first lady, a politician, activist, and a philanthropist, pioneered the women’s suffrage movement, demanding equal rights for men and women. Not only shaping a more just future for generations of women, Eva was also a monument of providing freedom for the less affluent through establishing the Eva Perón Foundation which was responsible for the construction of thousands of hospitals, schools, orphanages, and old age homes. Her notable efforts in Argentina were not forgotten.
“I tried to figure out a way to introduce a non-stereotypical piece of minority culture into the design itself, starting with the basis of any good design — typography” — Tré Seals
Less than one century later, in 2018, Tré Seals, an American graphic designer who strived to diversify design through typography, was inspired by the underrecognized banners in the women’s suffrage demonstration to create Eva, a typeface with deep-rooted historical relevance. Pioneering a movement of drawing influence from and appreciating pivotal historical moments, Seals started a type foundry named Vocal Type, which develops empowering typefaces from a variety of protest signs dating from the Vietnam War to the George Floyd protests.
Analyzing the Typeface
Eva represents a significant but perhaps overlooked step towards social justice, epitomizing typography that portrays power and solidarity. With every letter written in capital case consisting of thick strokes and thin crossbars, the font is immediately reminiscent of the strength and resilience carried with the original handwritten banners. Used in protests consisting of thousands of people, the type is easily seen from a distance, quickly readable, and provides a strong emphasis on each word, capturing attention to the suffrage movement as a whole. Each letter acts as a separate entity on the page with its bold, undaunted, empowering feeling, yet fits in line with the others. With a strict baseline and the same letter height, it embodies consistency with a focus on legibility, allowing text to be stacked in lines easily and noticeable from a distance when written across banners larger than 10 feet wide. At the same time, the type is deliberate and carefully executed with 3 vastly distinct styles used for different purposes.
- Particularly used for quotes and subheadings in the banners, with short, slanted, and flat serifs with an overall short letter height, making it easier to read when it is stacked in multiple lines.
- Several quirky, more feminine moments of contrast including curved and curly crossbars, fitting to their movement.
- Large contrast between thick and thin in the letters
- Stable and consistent design, with little contrast between the thickness of the letters.
- With large counters and a taller height, the text appears breathable, used in the original banner to scribe the most important information — “Maria Eva Duarte de Peron.”
- This large negative space is also due to the uncentered crossbars, pushed high up or down low, almost at a 2:3 ratio within the letterform, which creates intriguing, rounded spaces inside of letters.
- Meticulous uses of white space also includes leaving a sliver of space between the crossbar and the inside of the letter, creating tension and continuity between letters.
- The noticeable alternating curved and right-angled edges corroborate this fluid design.
- Rigid, with bold, block letters, used to emphasize specific words and phrases on banners — such as the word “presidente.”
- The broad and wide letters appear as if the beginning of each has been stretched, creating a visible emphasis on each individual letter — like a music note that is continually being pressed.
- This bold appearance along with the use of sharp right and 30-degree angles succeeds at catching the viewer’s attention.
- This effect is corroborated by the use of little negative space (small geometric, circle and triangle, counters) where each letter takes up approximately the same amount of space, establishing a sense of conformity, making the text harder to read but dramatically emphasized.
All 3 styles work in unison to achieve the women’s purpose in their protests as they march to hold their ground, leaving a memorable impact on viewers. Tré Seals successfully discovered a way to preserve and honor history’s crucial moments, which have shaped our standards of social justice today.
- Undaunted — prominent
- Historical/ Deep-rooted history
- Dramatic (Peron style)
- Versatile (3 styles)
Font Samples on Vocal Type
Day 2: Exploring Typesetting & Thumbnails
Body Copy Font Exploration
Trying both serif and san serif fonts to complement 2 styles of EVA, I believe since Eva is a quirky and niche font, a more subtle simple body copy font would be ideal. If I was to use the Serif Eva style (Maria) I believe a simple geometric san serif would complement its complexity. Futura (first column, second row) I works with these 2 styles of Eva with its geometric and simplistic attributes. The kerning is also a little wider, giving the text room to breathe, especially since Eva can be a little overwhelming with its all capital case.
Vicki mentioned that I should try to find a Sans Serif that is grotesque, and perhaps from Mid-century/ the 1950s. Based on that, I experimented with Franklin Gothic, Aktiv Grotesque, Universe, Helvetica, Monotype Grotesque, Undeka. After printing them out, I think Futura (1927), Franklin Gothic (1902–1967), and Monotype Grotesque (1926) are the most effective with Eva, and I chose to further explore these 3 with typesetting.
Experiment: Different typefaces, same font size (10pt), same 2 column left-aligned format, changing leading
Using a font size of 10 overall seems to work well for the body copy text, especially because I have a lot of text to work with. Leaving white space on the sides of the column also makes it more readable. The versions where the hangline matches up across the spread creates more consistency. Monotype Grotesque is a little distracting because the first letter of each sentence is semi-bolded. It’s barely noticeable in print but visible on the computer. It also has a larger x-height which doesn’t work as well with the Eva Peron font style. This font-size could also be made slightly smaller. Futura works more effectively due to its strict geometry which corresponds with the geometry in “Eva.” Trying 13.5 and 12 leading, I think 12 is adequate for readability and limits distracting white space. I think the 10 font-size could also be reduced to perhaps 9.5. On the other hand, Franklin Gothic Regular should stay at a size of 10. I also noticed the font appeared a little light, I might explore a thicker Medium version of it.
Experiment: Exploring Franklin Gothic Medium, different font size, leading, and 2 column size/organization
Comparing Monotype size 11 to Franklin Gothic Medium size 10 and 12, font size 10 is definitely ideal for these typefaces in order to have a measure in between 45–75 characters and not compete with the heading. For the 12pt font size, experimenting with leading, I discovered that 15 was ideal, however, the font is much too large for me to use. The medium version of Franklin Gothic is a little bit too bold and competes with the title “Eva.” Trying a leading of both 13.5 and 12, for Franklin Gothic Medium, the 13.5 is more effective since it’s semi-bolded the white space allows for the text to be more readable. With the Franklin Gothic regular fonts, the 12 leading works well. Experimenting with full-page columns versus placement on the left of the page, the full-page text seems overwhelming with no room to breathe. Trying several different layouts, I thought staggering the tops of columns created some visual interest.
Experiment: Exploring Futura, different font size, leading, and 3 column organization
Comparing different sizes of Futura with different leadings, for a font size of 12, a leading of at least 14 was ideal so that the text didn’t run into each other. However, that makes the measure very short. Since Futura is very geometric and spacious, even the font size 10 with a leading of 13.5 seemed a little too large. In the end, I tried a font size of 9, and since there are 3 columns in this layout, that makes the measure 35 characters, which is better than the 30 with a font size of 10. If I was to continue with the 3 column layout, I would stick to a font size of 9 with a leading of 11 which still feels large enough to easily read. I also experimented with different layouts, and appreciated when columns on both pages lined up or if it fit on one page if I shortened the text.
Experiment: Miscellaneous Explorations
Top Layouts to further explore
I’m hoping to create a bold, empowering, and historical feel with my spread. This may be through using limited colors. I also think it would be good to incorporate geometry into my spread because of the strong geometry the font contains.
Random InDesign command to remember: Flowing pages —draw threads on master spread, hide objects with ctrl : (not the same as w), ctrl shift click to get threads to show up
Day 3: Designing Spreads
Making decisions on typesetting and fonts
Based on my typesetting explorations, changing the size, leading, and body copy font between Futura, Franklin Gothic, and Monotype Grotesque, I realized that a font size of 9 (Futura) or 10 (Franklin Gothic) with a leading of 13 or 12pts depending on the font was the most ideal combination for my body copy to be readable, and for each measure to be an appropriate length. Also exploring number of columns, I believe 2 columns of 5/12 columns on the grid was the most effective because it leaves some helpful white space on the top and bottom, and 3 columns seems a little too choppy and difficult to read with the short measures. I also think the columns were more effective with a consistent hangline or when the bottom of one page’s columns aligned with the beginning of the other one. In terms of typefaces, I’m leaning towards Futura since it’s very geometric synonymous with the Eva font or Franklin Gothic because of its contextual relevance. I also decided to add space between paragraphs (about 40% of the leading) instead of using indents because I thought it ensured the flow of my body copy text more, and emphasized every section, aligning with the “bold” purpose of the spread.
Starting to integrate color into my spreads, I still wanted to maintain a strong empowering feminine feeling to the spread. I started to explore with the most obvious color choice- different shades of pastel pink. I also began to incorporate more soft and rounded shapes into the spread because I think it complements the harsh geometry of the Eva Peron style font.
Feedback from Yoshi
- Try something where the extensions from the text wrap around the image.
- Prefer it when the image is a square because of the corner edges.
- Try to separate the text from the extensions because otherwise you are altering the text a lot.
- The circles seems a little too flowy, not related to the geometric nature of the typeface.
- Futura may be a little hard to read, leaning towards Franklin Gothic.
- Don’t think of the spread as a poster to be visually aesthetic, don’t think of the text as design elements but rather their purpose — I think the circles aren’t as effective as intended.
Day 3: New Spreads
Thinking about the best way to actually explain these 3 distinct styles of Eva, I drifted away from simply using them as design elements in bubbles, and thought of them more as type/characters that needed to be understood within this spread. I decided to pull out specific letters in the fonts and highlight important components of the letterform. I wanted to find a way to incorporate all 3 typefaces into one spread, and I think this is the more effective way of doing that rather than scattering the letters across the page
Creating New Indesign Spreads
Day 4: Developing Spread
Trying to incorporate the image
- Version with photoshopped image (all brown) has too little contrast and the text is difficult to read
- The text on the cream color is very readable
- I think I can work on the rag more
- The half-page of color is preferred versus the 3/4th page
- Vicki recommended I try different colors for the spread- replace the brown
- The color of the vote aligns with the ballot box- people liked that
12.01: Revisiting Spreads
Drawing from the feedback from my previous critique, I tried new colors for the spread. I tried using the blue and pink color from my animation but soon realized the pink was too bright. Also, the dark blue is more reminiscent of a poster instead of a spread. After changing the colors, I also realized I needed to change the duotone for the ballot box depending on the foreground colors, and changed it to dark blue with underlying cool colors instead of warm. I also wanted to maintain the “vote” text in the same color as the ballot box. I tried variations of pink and blue to use as accent colors.
Since realized the pink color was a little too bright when put on a light-colored background, even though it works for the video, I tried a cooler off-white color (the right two spreads). The third spread works well, but I’m concerned it may be stereotypically too masculine.
Straying away from that blue color, I experimented with a salmon pink and varying warmer shades of off-white. I also think making the left section pink and the shapes pink will move the reader’s view across the page from the beginning to the ending. In the last iteration, I also returned to using the brown for the ballow box instead of the dark blue; it fits the warm color scheme.
I went back to my earlier iterations and tried using a less bright-colored pink. I think the pink and the blue together clash too much- the pink appears too bright.
These are the most effective iterations so far…
12.02: Refining Details
I experimented with different rags for the quote to see which one works the best with the flow of content but also the appearance of the text. I eventually landed on the furthest right iteration, and also increased the leading a little for better readability since it was now more lines.
Editing the typographic element text section
- Made the elements the same color as the lines that extend from the letter vote, which meant that I needed to change the text to be the darker pink color as well.
- Played around with the placement of the specific style text (tried below the letter, on top of the elements, below, and above the letterforms)
- Depending on the placement of the style text, I reordered and reworded the element pullouts.
Experimenting with layout
- Added some white space at the top so the text isn't overwhelming, and it lines up with the Eva flowline on the left size
- Experimented with alignment on the bottom of the text (also shortening the text)
- Aligned with the book and the start of the ballot box
- Experimented with the location of the shapes, top vs bottom
New Body Copy
I edited my text in order to fit the page with blank space at the top. I also split the very large paragraph to increase readability and added some hyphens to make the rag smoother. I decreased the word count from 763 in the original to 655 words.
The best iterations so far with new body copy text that fits the particular layout. Left: style names above the descriptions, body copy aligned on the bottom, Right: style names centered above the letter, body copy staggered ending
More Changes: Tried headers on left and right sides and the top and bottom- top right is the most effective without drawing too much attention to it. Made all of the text the same font (9pt) — reduced the size of the “Vote” so that it matches the body copy text
From this project, I learned how small changes can have large effects such as typesetting which I didn’t realize was so important in terms of readability for whatever I am designing. The typeface, leading, and hyphenation I chose affected the spread as a whole, and how likely someone would actually read the entire text. Next time I read a book or magazine, I hope to pay more attention to these intentional choices the designer made. I also learned about the differences between designing a poster versus a spread, and how a spread is concerned with being informative rather than capturing attention quickly and conveying short pieces of information effectively. A spread is more conventional with readers typically starting in the top left and moving down to the bottom corner, and reading it up close in their hands, unlike posters which need to stand out from afar. This also plays into the use of color, where spreads can be simple and still extremely effective in allowing the reader to understand the content, whereas color can be used more creatively and extravagantly in posters. I also tend to be invested in small details and inclined towards organized designs, which is why I think I enjoyed this project more than the poster one because of the innate rigidity of spreads. I also found it interesting to apply our grid knowledge from project 1 into a more traditional setting, where my spread strictly abides this grid, not putting content in the center gutters, etc. From this project, I also learned about the compatibility of different typefaces, such as exploring what Eva would work well with, and understanding how diverse typefaces can be. Doing research into its unique historical background, I thought it was amazing how meaningful typefaces are and how I barely know the background behind many of them.