Assignment Blog: Typography

My greatest struggle with the Typography assignment was finding the best two fonts that would represent the World War II era and, more specifically, my focus on the print media of that period.  Since I subscribe to Adobe’s Creative Cloud, I have Typekit available as an application. I scoured the available fonts in Typekit for letter styles that would best represent World War II and the fonts used primarily in the headlines and print columns of newspapers.  Since I own original copies of many World War II-era newspapers, I used several of them as comparison pieces for the different fonts in Typekit. Luckily, I found one — a sans-serif font — that matched almost perfectly the font style used in  headlines of the period. The name of this font was League-Gothic, and I downloaded it into my Typkekit “kit,” which could hold only two fonts for the Web at a time.

My next search was for a serif font that would match, or at least resemble, the main-body type found in the  main columns of period newspapers. But, more importantly, I wanted a font that would be easy on the eyes and large enough to keep each line of text on the Web page between 14 to 17 words. I had difficulty finding good examples; but, after switching back and forth between and among several “candidates,” I stumbled upon a font that seemed perfect: Leitura-News. It had a unique style that was easier on the eyes than the actual type found in the bodies of World War II newspapers, but it also evoked an art-deco feel that channeled the era. I was hooked! I downloaded the font to my Typekit “kit” and prepared to embed it in my page using the enabling code provided.

But before I settled on these two fonts, I had heard several of my fellow students in class, when critiquing my rather blandly styled Portfolio page (lots of blues and grays and, yes, dare I say it, Arial font!), state that for them, World War II type evoked a kind of “stenciled” look backed up by lots of “green” colors.  My experience with World War II images and artifacts over the years did not necessarily support this stylistic impression of the era. “Green” was actually an olive drab that leaned closer to a brownish tint. In any case, I wanted to see if I could locate any fonts that supported both my historical impression of the period and my fellow students’ impression of it. I located online a Web site for free fonts (www.dafont.com) that actually carried a selection named “D-Day” — the subject of my primary research interest. Amazing! But I must admit that when I opened the D-Day font, I found it to be awful. I knew instantly why my fellow students invoked a stencil-type image of fonts when thinking about things of a military nature. The font style resembled the letters used in the title image of the old TV show, MASH.  Not only did the MASH letters not resemble the stencil style used on World War II footlockers and vehicles, but it was more closely reflected the font styles that I knew were uniquely associated with the Vietnam period. In short, the D-Day font was “ahistorical” in the extreme and, dare I say it, anachronistic.

After searching for other fonts on other sites, I realized that my first two Typekit choices — League-Gothic and Leitura-News — were the best options. I pasted the embed code for each font into my Typography page’s HTML code. Strangely enough, League-Gothic was already a font selection in Dreamweaver, so the embed code was unnecessary for that font choice. Unfortunately, I would have to upload the files and view the site in a browser in order to see Leitura-News in action. This aspect of Dreamweaver is a downside for me. But when I viewed my font choices live on my Web site, I was very pleased with how they appeared and, most importantly, evoked the World War II era of print media. Not a bad start for a Web-site novice!

Steve Rusiecki

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