The Hierarchy of Typography

February 15, 2014 § Leave a comment

Thinking & Practice 10/02/14

In this session we were looking at the importance of typography in design. We looked at a few examples of work from modernist designers such as Wim Crouwel, Saul Bass, Karel Martens, Milton Glaser etc. We looked at how they executed typography within their designs and how it was key to the composition. We were set a task of asking someone to look at designs by some of these people and draw out where there eye meets first, second etc to try and distinguish the reason for this. I asked a friend to look at these film posters by Saul Bass and circle how he viewed them.


With this Schindler’s List poster he circled the piece of paper first. This is most likely to do with the colour – the dark background contrasts largely with this section of imagery. The sharp geometric shapes may have also drawn the eye to this part of the design. He then looked at the type section at the bottom – perhaps the second most recognisable thing, or the presence of information and curiosity of wanting to know more about the image. Finally he looked at the top of the image where there was quite a lot of dark, negative space.


With this poster his eye was drawn particularly to the ‘TRU” part of the typography – possibly to do with the typography being in the most logical order here, therefore most recognisable. The rest of the type is muddled up or disintegrated. He then went to look at the top of the design, where a different script is written – compared to the background text, this is the next most recognisable set of text. Finally he looked at the little icon in the bottom right hand corner.



Finally we looked at this film poster “The Requiem of Dream”. Upon looking at this piece, his eye was drawn first to the type, the boldest part of the image, then the eye, followed by the skull at the bottom which is quite subtle against the pale background.


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