Super Normal In Type Design

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I began my research under the notion that the desire to attain ‘special’ exists in the field of design. Over the past few decades, within various contexts ranging from product design to graphic design, the term ‘special’ is used as a catch-all phrase which seems to have become omnipresent. Creating ‘special’ products is what some designers assume design is about. Encouraged by glossy lifestyle magazines and marketing departments, design appears to be a competition that is continually producing novel products to generate consumers’ attention and media coverage. However, as Donald Norman claims in his book- The Design of Everyday Things- the ‘special’ products, in fact, are playing out a fantasy far removed from daily life, screaming out their…show more content…
There has been no research from graphic design, especially in the realm of typography. Therefore, I take this as an opportunity to contribute my effort to study the concept through my Master’s thesis. The research question sprang from my eagerness to explore: “what is Super Normal in type design?
The thesis is a production-based one that primarily concentrates on investing the manifestations and characteristics of Super Normal in designing a sustainable typeface. Normally, sustainability is about material selections, while for type design, mostly in reducing paper waste and saving inks. Here, against the general presumptions, I intend to suggest Super Normal as a way to improve sustainability from the view of engaging a typeface with timelessness and functionality to lengthen a more effective service life.
Covering the period from Gutenberg1, who first introduced the mechanical moveable type printing in Europe during the fifteenth century, to the twentieth-century Postmodernism, the scope of the research is trying to analyze several well-known Latin typefaces that have been frequently employed and lasted for a long time in the age of mechanical reproduction. Instead of hand-written text or every single variation of typefaces that ever existed in history, the thesis and organizing structure serve Modernism as the touchstone around which the past centuries of Latin
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Afterwards, I conducted a visual analysis for each of the ten Super Normal types, mainly in their Roman and Regular proportions. Using a four-point framework that was inspired by Robert Slimbach’s4 idea of designing a timeless typeface, the chosen types were deconstructed and reduced to abstract forms to measure their legibility, readability, aesthetics and evolution. Figures and proportions were calculated and collected in this part in order to provide practical references for my latter type design of ‘Normal Sans’.
Secondly, in the Design Project, the ‘Normal Sans’ was emphasized to further practice the comprehensions and findings that were developed from the Literature Review and Case Study. The outcome of my project takes the form of a humanist sans-serif typeface entitled ‘Normal Sans’. The typeface consists of Roman, Bold and Light proportions with their corresponding Italics.
The aim
This thesis aims to reach three objectives: to define, based on the literature review, the concept of Super Normal in type design as a good and sustainable thinking; to investigate the visual manifestations and characteristics of Super Normal typefaces; to demonstrate the basic guidelines for creating a Super Normal type through presenting my own design project ‘Normal Sans’ and meanwhile
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