Giant Typography Part 2
2nd edition — by Patrick McNeil — Jan. 31, 2008
The Design Element
The use of jumbo sized typography leads to two interesting results. First, it often inspires the designer to rely more on traditional typographic methods. And secondly, it frequently leads to a semi minimal design approach. Lets take a look at both of these results by analyzing some samples!
When I was in design school one of my favorite topics by far was typography. I can only presume it is due to the somewhat technical nature of it. It is one of the most quantifiable aspects of graphic design. As such, I find many of the samples below incredibly beautiful. A nice example of this is the
Why We Whisper
book site. This type heavy site has been wonderfully designed and demonstrates how beautiful typography can be. In fact the only true image on the site is the book itself. Of course there are a few images that contain text, but that doesn't really count. In terms of elements of type at play here there are countless things to notice, and yet it would appear there is nothing to notice. This is of course a sign that it is well designed, problems stand out. It is clear though that the designer, and the person implementing it, worked very hard to get every little detail in place. Perfect line height on the quotes, a nice balance in the text sizes of the text links on the left, perfect placement and balance of the ornaments and names, the lists goes on and on. The last point I want to make about this site is regarding it's use of red. When was the last time you thought about setting type in red? I can't say that it has ever occurred to me. If my goal was to use red to communicate power and authority I would have looked at supporting structure I could make red. Instead, the very words of this page are red, and they are thereby filled with the power the color carries. I find this to be rather inspiring.
Another example I want to look at is 256tm. This perfectly demonstrates how type focused design can lead to a minimal approach. For starters this is a site that sells typefaces, it is only natural that they focus on them. So this is of course a bit of an extreme sample. But it is the extreme examples which tend to teach us the best. Here the type has grown to enormous proportions to fill the page. By doing so, the need for any supporting elements is nearly eliminated. Only a small thin line is used here and there. As you dig deeper into the site, the type shrinks a bit, but only as the page requires more content. Interestingly this becomes a subtle indicator to the user of how deep they are into the site. I love it.
Perhaps a more practical demonstration of these two ideas combined with jumbo type is the Pop Art blog. Here we find some rather over sized post titles. These are certainly some of the largest article titles in a list i have ever seen. But man do they allow you to scan the list. It is remarkable how much easier this site is to use thanks to this single design choice. Part of the beauty at play here is that they refrained from filling the site with a bloat of useless content. Instead the focus is simply on the blog posts. It is this sort of minimalism that gave them the real estate to make some giant titles. One look at the Design Meltdown home page and you quickly realize there is no where to put giant titles.
of Typographic Style Applied to the Web
simple steps to better typography
sizing (tons of screenshots showing variations by browser and platform)
Type Tester (great tool for deciding on typefaces)
The Elements of Typographic Style Applied to the Web
Based Image Replacement (Replace text with an image of text)