Monthly Archives: September 2014

Viewing 1: Helvetica


What did you learn from watching the documentary Helvetica?  How will you notice typography differently after watching this? What have you noticed is written in Helvetica that you have seen numerous times?  Support your answer through photos in your blog post.

There is a lot more thought put into creating a font than one would predict.  Everything from the thickness of each letter, the spacing of lines in the letters, spaces between letters, including or leaving out serifs and other such factors are considered and changed depending on how the font needs to be presented.  Whether the presenter wants to be professional or playful will depend on what font is used.  Like other typography and forms of art, different fonts provide different feelings to the viewer and artist alike.

I was surprised at how many major-name companies use the Helvetica font, including but not limited to Microsoft, Target, Sears, CVS and way more.  It is one of the most simple yet relied on fonts, apparently, and that is fascinating.  We kind of take it for granted when we see the written or printed word on a book cover, on a billboard or other means of advertising, on a food label, and we don’t generally take into consideration that even though this appears to be a default font, someone was behind the thought of each letter and word created with this type of typography.  At one time, hand-drawing/writing each letter, and eventually computer or machine-processing the font.

Creating and maintaining a font is for sure, a unique art form.

“any questions? No, [the ad is saying] just Drink Coke.” <– The example in the film in which Helvetica was used in advertising to give a “clean and efficient” message to the readers of the magazine.  The use of Helvetica presented a clean, professional, contained message.

Below is a link to the film, a link to an article about the font Helvetica, and some of many sample logos in my daily life that will forever remind me of this concept, as each of them are in Helvetica.  Where have you seen Helvetica in your life?



Reading 2: Chapters 8 & 9 Fonts


What fonts do you personally prefer to use?  Visible or invisible typography? Romans or San serifs?  When creating your book cover do you want to have a symmetrical, asymmetrical or contrasting approach to using typography?  Back up your answers with reasons supported from the text.  In your answer through your blog post play with the typography.

The fonts I personally prefer to use depend on the context of the topic I am using the font for.  Most of the time, I use Times New Roman, especially for work or school assignments.  It is a classic, professional, but not too serious font.  Generally, I prefer to use Roman-inspired fonts, that have an extra flair to each letter with their artistic serifs and flowy appeal.

Depending on what type and genre of book I decide to recreate the cover of, I can see the fonts being either Gothic-inspired, or a more playful type, like Comic Sans.  Gothic script, according to the text, is over 500 years old but is still popularly used in tattoos, fashion, newspapers and other media.  Comic Sans has a bad reputation for being too immature, spaced out, rounded and uneven, but it definitely has a cute, elementary appeal, and is a stark contrast of scripts like Gothic.

Also depending on the book I choose, I most likely will choose a symmetric approach to my typography: centered and balanced.  I do not like the asymmetric approach in which words, thoughts, and art are scattered with no real flow to it.  That is, unless I choose a story that is scary, complex, or suspenseful, in which that type of typography would illustrate the story well.  The contrast approach can be combined with either asymmetry or symmetry, and is interesting in that it demands attention or directs your eyes with various colors, boldness, and font variety.

Most likely, I will use invisible typography and be more creative with the other illustrative aspects of the book cover, unless the title and author themselves are crucial to the story’s meaning.  In that case, I would use visible typography so that the reader knows exactly what to expect by looking at the title.

Because of the limitations put on the adjusting of font in a blog post, there are a lot of limitations on playing with the typography in my response, other than altering colors, boldness and size 😦 

Reading 1: Chapters 1-3


Provide examples from your findings or past of the dramatic storytelling, non-dramatic storytelling and interactive storytelling.  When telling a story what part do you prefer to play?  The messenger, the supplier or the client?

An example that comes to mind when it comes to dramatic storytelling includes Stephen King.  Specifically, King likes to tell many of his stories on the melodramatic side.

Let’s take a classic Stephen King novel I read recently, Carrie, and compare it with the guidelines of what a drama is composed of.

The Set-up.  At the beginning of the story, we are set up with getting to know this girl in high school, who is a bit of a naive, innocent, outcast and we find her mother, who is unbearably strict.  Many girls in her school bully her and it is no better when she comes home to a mother who is convinced her child is a walking sin.

The Presentation and Exposition.  Along with the set-up, we begin to see what kind of relationships are involved in the characters in the story.  To name a couple of the most important:  Carrie’s and her mother’s mostly consisted of her mother forcing Christian-extremism on her, and punishing her often for things that she considered to be “sinful,” which pretty much was everything she did.  Carrie’s and her peers mostly consisted of her being bullied by the “popular” girls in school, as well as many others who thought of her as strange.

The Rising Conflict.  When prom came around, a genuinely nice boy, Tommy, at Carrie’s school asked her to go with him, and with much hesitancy, (considering she assumed it was another prank), Carrie eventually accepted the offer.  Upon preparation, her mother yelled and screamed and tried to lock her in a room which she used when Carrie was little to force her to pray for her sins.  However, Carrie has had enough and reveals to her mother this secret power she has had since she was a young girl-she could move things with her mind-and she does so to scare her mother.

All the while, a different group of students at Carrie’s school are planning a conniving prank to humiliate her in front of the entire school at prom.

The Conflict Resolution.  The conflict resolution is that “moment the audience has been waiting for.”  Tommy and Carrie go to prom and they have a great time.  Of course, Carrie is elected prom queen and invited on stage to accept her crown, when bam, the bullies above dump a bucket of pig’s blood onto poor Carrie White.  Thus, after overcoming for a moment the shock and heartbreak of betrayal, Carrie proceeds to go forward with revenge, terrorizing the entire school with her powers, destroying anything in her way, proceeding through town and back home to finish with her mother.

The Fade Out.  In the novel, the last few scenes mostly consist of Sue, Tommy’s boyfriend, going back to the school to find Tommy (she was not at the prom), and discovering a weakened Carrie.  The end of the book also includes “articles” about what exactly happened that night at prom.

An example of non-dramatic storytelling that I can think of, and will name because it is probably one of the silliest, least dramatic films I have ever seen, is Napoleon Dynamite.  It is kind of one of those Independent films with a low budget that turned out to have made more profit than anyone ever would have expected, I think, because of its simplicity.  When it came down to it, it was just a story about a very awkward high school nerd who developed friendships with two other equally awkward students, but who also learned how to dance very well, which backhandedly helped one of his friends become class president.  Although it wasn’t dramatic, and only focused on a small part of these characters’ lives, the story was still there.

A great example of interactive storytelling that comes to mind for me is in a video game I have been playing with friends.  You may have heard of the hit TV Series The Walking Dead, essentially an apocalyptic world filled with monsters, the monsters being the obvious, disease-stricken, bloodthirsty zombies referred to as walkers, as well as the ones that are very much human and can appear to be friendly but turn out to be traitorous, unjust, and crazier than a bag of cats.  Well, there is a video game series out there with the same title, but based more on the comic series than the television series.

One would think that a video game that includes zombies would be a shoot-em-up, see-all-the-gore-and-guts kind of game.  However, the way the story is written and the game-play is created, it is easily one of the most emotional games I have ever played, and arguably more emotional than a lot of films I have seen.  The game has interactive storytelling because as you play through this apocalyptic world, you have to make life-changing decisions and actions that will, in fact, change how you play the rest of the game, your character’s relationship with other characters, and essentially, your fate.

When telling a story, I prefer to play the supplier.  In writing, photography, or other forms of illustration, I prefer to be a part of the production process opposed to being a client, looking to sell the product, or the messenger, translating or transporting a product.
Screenshot was obtained through the following link:
King, Stephen. Carrie; a Novel of a Girl with a Frightening Power. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1974. Print.
Napoleon Dynamite. Dir. Jared Hess. Perf. Jon Heder, Efren Ramirez, Tina Majorino. 20th Century Fox, 2004. Film.

Sharing 1


Visual Communication Assignment 1:

So far, I like this blog based on its first post, which reads: “The more I see the world, the more I realize that although people are different, we’re very much the same. We speak different languages, have different cultures, religions, values, and physical traits, yet we all share common hopes and dreams of love, family, and survival.”

I am studying journalism and I like human interest stories especially, getting to know people and learning about the world around you especially in your own backyard and this appealed to me in that way.


humanity blog copy