Type 1 Fall 2017

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Week 8 HW


In this project you will create a type specimen that shows off the formal and graphic qualities of a typeface of your choice. After using only Helvetica and Minion for most of the semester, you probably know (or think you know) the limitations and best uses of both typefaces. In reality, we were only scratching the surface. The goal of this project is for you to get acquainted with a different typeface by learning about it's history and using it extensively.

Design and produce a 16-page type specimen with additional specimen sheets. 

A type specimen is a booklet that demonstrates the range of a typeface, applied to headlines and text in a variety of sizes. Each variation of the typeface should be labelled on the page. Type specimens have existed for centuries to help designers pick a font for a project. Type specimens today can be wildly flamboyant or classical in their approach. See the Resources section below.

Choose a typeface for your project that has a substantial number of variations, such as Univers, Helvetica, Caslon, Baskerville, Garamond, Futura, or Bodoni for example. Look at a variety of typefaces before you choose one, and be sure that you have access to a good “cut” of the face (a full type family). I must approve of your choice.

Gather text for your project by researching about your typeface either online or at the library. Make sure to check out the Resources section on this blog entry.

As a starting point, you must fill out the form below before the end of class and use that information on your type specimen. Feel free to revise and expand that information on your type specimen. I expect you to know this information whenever we discuss your specimen during critiques.

Name *
Write a brief historical/factual description of the typeface. Please don't forget to cite your sources.

All the information from your in-class research is required. You are welcomed to revise and expand your research during the week. 

For all other content, you're free to use any piece of literature that is under a Creative Commons license. Make sure to check out Project Gutenberg and other links on the Resources section of this blog entry.


  • Size: 5 x 7 inches (10 x 7 inches spread) or 5 x 5 inches (10 x 5 inches spread). You may choose either one of those two sizes for all versions of your type specimen.
  • You must use Master Pages to set up your grids (columns, rows, and baseline grid) as well as page numbers and any other relevant information.
  • You must offset your text boxes to leading and align your text to the baseline grid. See Week 7 HW settings.
  • You must have a cover page, colophon, and a table of contents in your total page count.
  • You must use text and paragraph styles.
  • You are only allowed to use black and white—gradients, other colors, transparency, or gray values are not allowed.
  • The type family must have more than 4 styles and must include obliques or italics.
  • Binding: Staple Saddle Stitch (this method requires back-to-back printing).

    How to bind a book with staples (saddle stitch binding)

    DIY Staple Saddle Stitch Bookbinding Tutorial | Sea Lemon

Week 8 (in-class): First draft of the type specimen. Use content that you submitted on the Research form and the word "Hamburgefontsiv" set on your typeface in every weight and style in which it is available.

Week 9: three 8-page versions of your type specimen (formal, graphic, and experimental).

Week 10: one 16-page version of your type specimen and three specimen sheets. 

Week 11: Revised and final version of your 16-page type specimen with three specimen sheets.

This assignment was adapted from Thinking with Type by Ellen Lupton


KAWAK by Javier Viramontes




ROBINSON by Greg Gazdowicz





For Reference















Bring 3 printed and assembled Type Specimens — 8 pages each.
Export and email me PDFs of your specimens with the following naming convention:

  1. YourName_TypefaceName_TypeSpecimen_Function.pdf
  2. YourName_TypefaceName_TypeSpecimen_Form.pdf
  3. YourName_TypefaceName_TypeSpecimen_Experimental.pdf

Version 1 — Function
This version focuses on function over form. Make a type specimen that shows the typeface's formal qualities. Establishing a concise grid, a clear hierarchy, a balanced layout, a clarity of intention will make this design successful. In order to get you in the right mindset, think of this: you're trying to sell this typeface to a person who is looking for performance. This person is the Creative Director of a small publishing company. This person has a refined visual taste and design experience, so you're trying to show her that this typeface will work for all of their typesetting needs—from large headlines to small paragraphs of text.


  • Specimen Cover
  • Typeface History (Research)
  • Type Designer(s) Biography Extended (Research)
  • Showings of all the fonts in the typeface using the word Hamburgefontsiv or a word that shows the key characters of the typeface
  • Short paragraph samples showing each font in the typeface
  • A sample page or a spread showing how all the fonts work together

Version 2 — Form
This version focuses on form over function. Make a type specimen that shows the typeface's more graphic qualities. All of the tip for success from version 1 apply to this version as well. In order to get you in the right mindset, think of this: you're trying to sell this typeface to a person who is looking for something unique that also performs. This person is the Senior Designer of a small publishing company. This person will be working directly with the typeface everyday. He is looking for something that is not only a workhorse but can also shine on a cover. Showing that the typeface is versatile but also has charm—loud and quiet moments—will make this type specimen successful.


  • Specimen Cover
  • Type Designer(s) Biography Brief (Research)
  • Type Designer(s) Typographic Portrait
  • Character Set
  • Typeface anatomy spread showing key characters of the typeface and highlighting important details.
  • Large-size showings of each font
  • Fonts in Use

Version 3 — Experimental
This version focuses on personal expression. Make a type specimen that shows your taste as a designer. All of the tip for success from version 1 and 2 apply to this. In order to get you in the right mindset, think of this: The Creative Director and Senior Designer are almost sold on the typeface. However, they still want to see how far the typeface can be pushed (graphically speaking) before it stops working. Your task is to show them how you personally see this typeface being used.


  • Specimen Cover
  • A mix of large and small size showings in playful compositions
  • Fonts in Use
  • Mockups of designed objects / brands

Answer the following questions:

Name *