05.04.17: It’s not just type anymore
SOME PUBLISHERS AND EDITORS (yes, even some designers!) become all squiggly and anxious when they’re shown a nameplate with letters that touch or overlay each other. For their entire careers, they’ve been convinced that letters should be properly spaced. So, show them a nameplate with touching letters and most often they just won’t like it.
It’s like growing up being told that foods shouldn’t touch each other on your plate. But, if that were the case, how about peas and carrots? Succotash? Cheeseburgers? Bread and butter?
When I’m working on a nameplate, such as in the examples above, I’m not only focused on the letterforms. I’m also looking at the negative space and the gaps between the letters. In some cases, those gaps just have to be tightened or the entire nameplate just looks wrong.
So, I take the time to carefully move some letters closer to each other, with some touching and others actually overlaying each other.
Check the spacing around the “A” in “Herald.” Far…too…loose. So I overlaid the “R” on it, removing the left serif of the “A,” and I joined the “A” to the “L.”
I’ve circled other places where I tightened the spacing.
For me, the changes work well. You may consider my tightening too extreme, and I’m OK with that. I know I can overdo it at times. But the point is: the original nameplate r-e-a-l-l-y needed tightening.
If you’re one of those who believes that letters shouldn’t touch, you’re right!…if you’re talking about text. But even in text, there are certain letterforms designed so the letters touch, such as the “ffi” in “official.” Look closely at that “ffi” here. There’s no dot on the “i.” Why? It’s designed so the letters can touch without the dot on the “i” getting in the way.
Another key point to all of this is that a nameplate is not text. It’s your logo. Your brand. Your identity. It’s who you are. And it’s unique—no other newspaper has a nameplate like yours.
It’s not just type anymore.
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