Typography as Design: Advanced Technology and Art

It is amazing what doors our modern world and the computer have opened, in the universe of art. In graphic design, the sky is the limit and many things that were not even a whisper, just a few years ago are now reality. Take typesetting, for instance.

Although typesetting is very old, the computer revolutionized it. Now, with advanced technology, that was non-existent ten years ago, we can typeset using computers and a laser. In addition, nowadays, anyone with a good computer can easily typeset. This means that newsletters, posters, even books, can now be “published” from a decent home computer.

Typography as Design: Advanced Technology and Art
Image credit: hom26

Understanding Typography

Typesetting was originally done by hand; it was created as writing evolved into a complete alphabet or text that reused the same identical writing characters. This form of using an identical text was called typography and the basic elements are as old as civilization and the beginnings of the history of writing, itself.

Done by Hand
Image credit: Marcin Wichary

Today, the term "typography" covers a wide range of subjects, such as:

  • Typesetting
  • Logos
  • Graffiti
  • Computer design
  • And more

Using Type as Design

Typography, as design, takes a different kind of skill and artistic eye than using typography exclusively for headings, subheadings and article content.

Typography
Image credit: Chris Halderman

One of the fascinating facets of modern typography is that it has also become an art and design form. In graphic design, the creation of images and pictures using words, letters and even sentences, highlighting various font types, has become a viable and creative art form with a base set in typography. As an artist uses pen and ink or oil paints and brushes while creating a work of art, a graphic designer creates beautiful images made with the use of typography. Many, who have become top-notch typographic designers, have also designed their own fonts and letters.

One way to explain typography, as a word design, is to try to picture a poster where everything is made of letters. This includes:

  • All headings
  • All lettering
  • All article content
  • All images
  • All artwork

Everything above is made of letters and words. These images or pictures will usually look pretty normal, at least at first glance. After a second look at detail, it becomes obvious that the pictures are formed with letters. Many times the letters are actual words or even sentences, which might tell a story that compliments the poster or graphic art.

In our world of advertisements and graphics, there is no way to avoid typography. All you have to do is look around you. Typography, in design, is everywhere.

Type Ads
Image credit: Katie Hovland

You can find it on:

  • Cereal boxes
  • Websites
  • Television
  • Billboards
  • Traffic signs
  • Your pick

All of these examples of typography have their own strengths, but these strengths are individualized; what works for a billboard will not necessarily work for a website, or a movie poster. In addition, speaking of websites, a good typographic design is essential. It can make or break your Internet potential.

The typography list is endless; the good news is so are the possibilities.

10 Famous People in Type

Che Guevara Typeface
Che Guevara was an Argentine Marxist revolutionary, physician, author, intellectual, guerrilla leader, diplomat, military theorist, and major figure of the Cuban Revolution.

Che Guevara Typeface

Shakespeare Portrait with Shakespeare Masterpieces
William Shakespeare was an English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist.

Shakespeare Portrait

Mos Def Lyrics Portrait
Dante Terrell Smith is an American actor and MC known by the stage name Mos Def.

Mos Def Lyrics

Marilyn Monroe Portrait
A portrait of Marilyn Monroe made of her famous quote "I Am Not Interested In Becoming A Movie Star"

Marilyn Monroe

Bon Scott Portrait
A portrait of Bon Scott - painted in words taken from AC/DC songs.

Bon Scott

Pete Doherty Portrait
An image of Pete Doherty made of the lyrics from the song Albion.

Pete Doherty

Trent Reznor Portrait
The portraits contains complete lyrics to 4+ songs including the two grammy winning performances ('92 Grammy winner "Wish" on right cheek & '95 winner "Happiness In Slavery" on left cheek).

Trent Reznor

Angelina Jolie
Angelina Jolie Voight is an American actress and has been cited as one of the world's most attractive people, as well as the world's "most beautiful" woman.

Angelina Jolie

John Lennon Portrait
The portrait of a famous English musician and singer-songwriter.

John Lennon

Type Portrait of Obama
The image is built with the repeated instances of 'HOPE' , 'CHANGE' , and 'YES WE CAN'.

Obama

More Resources

Conclusion

As you can see, type can be extremely powerful in delivering the message. The result can be crazy, artsy, beautiful, but more often than not it's just different from things we’re used to seeing. This is why typography art is so inspirational: it offers an expressive and distinctive, yet absolutely unique perspective that always looks innovative.

Any more examples of awesome pure typography art? Which types of typography design works best to inspire you? Are you a fan of simple typographic posters or complex and innovative text compositions? Let's share the inspiration!

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