“Explore the differences between some of the typefaces you currently have by comparing their key characters with one another. Develop a series of layouts in which you compare a range of different approaches to the following letters and characters: A, G, R, X, e, f, g, o, &, 3, 4, 6. You may want to add in additional key characters.
There are a number of ways of doing this, from visually overlaying the characters, setting up a grid or line of characters, or even creating a set of typographic cards. Come up with a way to celebrate the variation, diversity, similarities and differences between the different fonts and typefaces. Whatever layout you choose, make sure that it’s still possible to identify the name of the original typeface, for example by incorporating the name of the typeface into your designs.”
I’m treating this as an opportunity to create a useful tool that I can refer back to at a later date. I scribbled down a few ideas, taking sans serif as my starting point, as the differences can often be quite subtle, and therefore interesting to explore. Unfortunately I don’t have Univers, Fruitger or Franklin Gothic, but I looked through my Font Book app/organiser to see what I might select. I came with several I’d like to compare, including some Google fonts I have on my system.
During my planning I also wanted to explore different font weights, as of course the letterforms do alter to accommodate different thicknesses of line.
The Letter A
As you can see, there is a wide variation in weight in some typefaces, from Thin and Extra Light to Bold and Ultra Bold. And although I used condensed letterforms when available, you can see the range, without even including bold or italic.
Next I choose a reduced number of sans serif fonts, and began arranging the letterforms and the names of each typeface.
Finally, I rearranged these more neatly, and added colour
This was extremely fiddly and time consuming and drove me nuts!!! Several things became apparent – including that of course the strokes vary in both thickness (hard to fit some names on), and the names themselves are different lengths. Also the letterforms can be very different in both width and height (for example the letter ‘x’ takes up so much more room than ‘e’ and so on… This made positioning alignment decisions difficult too.
I tried to be creative in the way that I positioned the name on each letterform – you can see when it came to Kohinoor Devanagari I did resort to typing on a path, as it was impossible to fit it on the number 3 otherwise.
I’m not sure this is all that polished, but I spent several hours fiddling with this, and I just can’t face any more…I’m done! Whimper.