Over the years, FARM has amassed a number of considerations and curiosities, surfaced through our projects. FARMACY is a repository for those thoughts and experiences. It is a space to gather, develop and share ideas or information encountered in our work. Through FARMACY, we hope to examine the trajectories of design hinted at today, contributing to a continuous discourse on topics intertwined with our industry and practice.
Finding your type
Letters are more than just a way of assembling words. Like humans, letters possess an anatomy with different parts—quite literally—like arms and legs. Varying the form of these parts gives a letter unique personality. Now apply the same anatomical style across different alphabets, numbers and symbols, and you have a typographic family—known as a typeface—that can help imbue all sorts of text with the desired mood. Below, we chart the anatomy of a typeface, identifying the different parts of letters which can be shaped to change their character.
If a typeface is a large family of letters, then a typestyle is the way they all stand, sit, squat or slouch together. Typestyles can be used to differentiate a particular bit of text, or to achieve a visual intent. While some typestyles are commonly encountered such as italicisation and bold font, this list includes other variations, useful for adding a bit of pizzazz in the right situation.
The transition of text through history, from handwritten matter to the mechanical printing press and now digital fonts, has expanded the range of typefaces dramatically, with new ones constantly being designed. While for the most part, typefaces tend to fall under the categories of serif or sans serif, the rich history and constant evolution of type has resulted in a complex taxonomy. Within this taxonomy, the various systems and categories can describe the technology, lineage and even design intent of a typeface. To help start your dive into typographic history, here we highlight some of the more common classifications of type used today.