Type Cast. What does a poster’s typography tell us? More than you’d think. Graphic designer and Type Tasting founder Sarah Hyndman helps us crack the code behind cinema’s most famous fonts.
June 2017 issue, words Jordan Farley
Pride, Prejudice & Perceptions is an interactive sensory exploration of Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice, created by AVM Curiosities & Type Tasting for the British Academy’s Literature Week.
Taking inspiration from the typography found in three editions of this classic novel, Pride, Prejudice & Perceptions uses type, sound, sight and scent to serve one story three ways.
Below are some great photos to give you a glimpse, but this installation is best experienced in person and you can find answers to the following questions:
Cabinet I: Classic, the First Edition.
1. What two scents have we combined for the smell of a traditional printing press?
2. What phrase is revealed in the mirror?
3. What sound can you hear?
Cabinet II: Opulence, the Peacock Edition.
4. What is the book scented with (flick through the pages to smell it)?
5. What does the peacock feather represent?
6. What art movement is the lettering inspired by?
Cabinet III: And Zombies, the Graphic Novel.
7. How many zombies can you see?
8. What does our interpretation of the Zombie Apocalypse smell like?
9. What happens through the final peephole?
Pride, Prejudice & Perceptions presented by AVM Curiosities & Type Tasting
The British Academy, 10-11 Carlton House Terrace, London, SW1Y 5AH
Monday 15th to Friday 19th May, 9am to 6pm. FREE ENTRY
For more information please click here.
Part of the Open Senses Festival
“A thoughtful and contemporary way of deconstructing Pride and Prejudice” Marisa Smith, The British Academy
“Beautiful and so original, I could have spent hours looking at (and hearing and smelling) all the details” Tora Orde-Powlett, Penguin Books
“Black lobster and Jane Austen—of course! And the aroma of the printing press mingled with violet and patchouli oil scented books, it is a sensory delight. Inspired by the typography found in three editions of the classic novel—a delightful and diverting indulgence” Rosalind Freeborn
Channel 4’s Sunday Brunch features history and fashion in type with Sarah Hyndman
Sarah Hyndman interviewed on Sunday Brunch on April 9th 2017, this is available here on catchup TV in the UK (the interview starts at around 01:10). This is an overview of the conversation that covered 550 years of type in eight and a half minutes, with a few supporting facts added in.
The production team and graphics department at Princess Productions sourced and created most of the examples, we all had a lot of fun because they were excited about the segment. Presenter Simon is also a very big type fan and had his copy of the book stashed in his bag to take home with him.
Tim: Welcome back to Sunday Brunch live. We’re here with graphic designer and author Sarah Hyndman. You’re going to teach us a little about the history of typography, what is it first of all?
Typography is written language made from preformed letters that can be repeated over and over. During the centuries many shapes and styles of the letters have been designed, all of which have absorbed their own set of associations or meanings. We might think that we don’t notice these meanings, but we do because reading is a complex task performed by our non-conscious (like driving or walking), and as a result the type communicates directly with our non-conscious brain.
Looking at type in context is like code breaking. The shapes and styles appear in all aspects of our everyday lives and form a mirror for social history and cultural change. Looking at the typefaces gives you many clues about historical context, origins and genres.
Simon: I like the word typeface better than font, what’s the difference?
A typeface is the design, like Helvetica. A font is the physical form of a typeface—this could be the metal type we print with, or the digital file on your computer. However, the terms are used fairly interchangeably outside the professional world of graphic design and typography.
Tim: You’re now going to take us through the history of a few well-known fonts. First we’re going to look at this gothic font, when was this first used?
Printing first came to Europe in the 1400s and at the time, like many new technologies, it copied the format of the existing technology—in this case hand-written books. Books were huge and prestigious artefacts, carefully hand written by monks and scribes in ornate and calligraphy style that we know as gothic or Blackletter.
Simon: You wouldn’t expect to read a book in this style today?
Vinyl Type: Guess the music genre
We took the Type Tasting record collection along to Letterform Live’s ‘Vinyl’ night with Grafik and Monotype. The record player and vinyl records were set up in the bar as a fun game to play before and after the talks. We invited the audience to guess the music genre from the typeface on the record label, and then to play the record to find out whether they were right. Best played with lashings of beer.
How to draw type and Influence People, and why this matters
By Sarah Hyndman
As seen on Sunday Brunch!
Buy the book on Amazon
**Join us for the book launch at Tate Modern on Friday 21st April from 6 to 8pm**
The new book by Type Tasting founder Sarah Hyndman is a hands-on activity book that invites you to completely immerse yourself in the world of fonts investigating and hacking them for yourself. Get creative as you learn about typefaces by exploring their shapes using pen and pencil, and do this in your own style so the book becomes uniquely your own. Think of this as life drawing with fonts.
I first fell in love with the shapes of words and letterforms as a child in a sweetshop. I would gaze at the styles and shapes that would literally bring the different flavour experiences to life; knowing which would fizz, melt-in-my-mouth, taste sour and then sweet, or pop explosively and noisily. I would spend hours drawing my own versions of sweet wrappers, and inventing fantastical letterforms that I would then stock in my toy sweet shop to sell to my brother and sister.
It’s one thing to read a description of a typeface; it’s an entirely different experience to pick up a pencil and explore the intricate shapes that make each font unique. In my Type Tasting workshops I find that drawing is an extremely effective way for people to learn about type styles, as I discovered when I was sketching sweet wrappers as a child. This is backed up by science, which shows that hand drawing on paper triggers more of our senses and this multiplies our ability to remember.
There is also a rich tradition of hand drawing type; graphic designers would carefully draw typographic layouts for typesetters to recreate and print before computers were commonplace in the design studio. Doing this gave them an in-depth understanding of the subtle differences between typefaces, and the confidence to work with a wide range of different styles.
My mission is to make typography fun and exciting for everybody, not just experts and academics. I think this is important because type is woven into our everyday lives, especially in today’s Information Age in which so much of the information we receive is what we read. Type styles reflect developments in technology, art movements, changing fashions, popular culture and can document the history of your own life—this is what makes type so exciting.
Whatever your level, from beginner to expert, I would like this book to inspire you to feel excited and more adventurous next time you scroll down the font menu on your computer.
Font of Coincidence
This is a story of my trip to teach in India. While I was there I met up with family of friends and discovered, to my surprise, that my book cover had been redesigned by a whole class of students for their typography exam that week.
“The task for our exam was to design the cover for a book called Why Fonts Matter using typography. As I started scribbling out my roughs I thought about what typography is and what it can achieve; every font is different and makes you feel a distinct emotion or connects with you in a certain way.”
Words by Siya Archik, a second year graphic design student in Mumbai.
I have been studying design for two years and my course is different, unique, insanely creative and fun. But along with the fun comes a lot of hard work; hours and days of work created by hand. We put a great deal of thought into every idea that we execute—to make the final product as attractive and innovative as possible. I chose this course of study because creativity has no boundaries; it is something that lets you express your thoughts and emotions in infinitely creative ways and on any surface.
In our course we study calligraphy & typography; anatomy; packaging, information design and communication design. Each is distinctive in its own way, but all revolve around the same design principles. For the first two years we do everything by hand—from rendering large posters to reproducing the text in a newspaper at actual size, carefully hand-drawing every letter so it is perfect.
Our typography assignments vary from kinetic typography to expressive typography and logo design. We research artists who have helped to expand the field of typography to increase our knowledge, and each assignment emphasises the importance of different fonts in our designs, without which they would mean nothing.
I think typography is important because it is required for anything and everything related to design. From creating logos to packaging, all require knowledge of different fonts and how to use them effectively, so as to make our designs stand out from the rest. This makes typography such an integral part of what we do as designers.
During our recent exam week a friend of my family in England, a typographer from London called Sarah Hyndman, came to visit as a guest lecturer at another design college in Mumbai. I was hoping to meet and talk to her about typography but was not sure whether I would have time because I was so busy taking exams.