Henninger: Transcendental typography

Henninger: Transcendental typography

By: Ed Henninger

Type this big just has to be looked at with a careful design eye.

Type this big just has to be looked at with a careful design eye.

Every once in a while, a design calls for big type.

I don’t mean just “big type.”

I mean “B-I-G T-Y-P-E”! Huge. Ginormous. Humongous. Yeah…that kind of big.

When that happens, the type transcends (a word I learned in sophomore philosophy class and have loved ever since!) the realm of typography and becomes a form by itself. Sometimes it becomes the dominant element on the page.

As a result, we have to deal with it as a form, just as we deal with the dominant element of any other design.

We have to look at its shape, especially. Though it may have been born as type, what is it now?

Is it rectangular? Is it round? Is it more freeform?
Does it have a diagonal force? Vertical? Horizontal?
Do the descenders/ascenders work with nearby elements?
Are you using it in color? What color? Why?
Does it say what you want? Can you say that more briefly?
Does the font work with the rest of the page?
How about the space between letters? Inside the letters?
How about the space around it? Enough? Too tight? Too loose?

Lots of questions, each of them forcing you to take a long, close look at what you’ve created—and to appreciate that transcendent type isn’t just something you can toss on a page.

There are times when bighugeginormous type is just the look you need for that special feature page. When those times occur, ask yourself those questions listed above.

If you get a lot of the right answers, then go BIG! If you don’t, consider another approach. Your type will love you for it…and so will your readers.

WANT A FREE evaluation of your newspaper’s design? Just contact Ed: edh@henningerconsulting.com | 803-327-3322

IF THIS COLUMN has been helpful, you may be interested in Ed’s books: Henninger on Design and 101 Henninger Helpful Hints. With the help of Ed’s books, you’ll immediately have a better idea how to design for your readers. Find out more about Henninger on Design and 101 Henninger Helpful Hints by visiting Ed’s web site: www.henningerconsulting.com

ED HENNINGER is an independent newspaper consultant and the Director of Henninger Consulting. Offering comprehensive newspaper design services including redesigns, workshops, staff training and evaluations. E-mail: edh@henningerconsulting.com. On the web: henningerconsulting.com. Phone: 803-327-3322.