Decisions




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TYPE DESIGN

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Elbow grease

Glossary


How to get from sketch to character set
The hardest part is making up your mind. Drawing a shape you are certain about takes little effort. Know what you want, and you’re halfway home. If you don’t, I recommend two methods of finding out.





One. Test and compare
Gradual variations is the best way I know for making design choices. And the computer does much of the work for you.

Inspiration also has its place, but it usually needs a good shove. Details bump into each other. Confusion looms. That’s when a method will save you.



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Two. Look hard at masterpieces
Matthew Carter made Bell Centennial to withstand high-speed printing, rough paper and cheap ink. Compensation for rough handling is built right into the design. You want to learn about ink traps? Study the shape of the inside corners.

Great designers don’t lock away their secrets in a vault somewhere. They, too, run into technical problems. They find solutions, and put them into their work.

“How can I look for solutions?” a correspondent asks. “I don’t even know what the problems are.” Don’t worry. As a whole, type design may seem daunting. One detail at a time is much easier. Together, we’ll take a look at a few.