At the heart of my PAC project – creating a collection of books using content from The Times Archive – is a re-interpretation of old news in a modern way. I do not just want to create a pastiche of historical newspapers – facsimiles of front pages, archive photography etc – particularly on the front cover. The collection itself will be sub-divided into subject categories which will be inspired by the areas covered by the newspaper but, more importantly, led by the subjects that the audience for these books will want to read about. One of the categories will be sport and I have highlighted a couple of old sporting tales that I am going to try to illustrate. The Test Match in 1956 when Jim Laker took 19 of the 20 Australian wickets is one. The Rumble in the Jungle – Ali’s title fight against Joe Frazier in 1974 which took place in Kinshasa in what was then Zaire (now Democratic Republic of Congo).
The headline above is hoe the final day of the Laker Test match was reported in The Times of the day, but a reproduction of that headline or something something like this cover of a book about the Test Match printed at the time, just wouldn’t be right:
Having read all the match reports, it is the final paragraph that sums up the achievement… “In Australia’s second innings he took 10 for 53, in the match 19 for 90, and yesterday 8 for 26 in 36 faultless overs. Surely there may never again be anything like it.” It’s this last one that signifies what this match meant, so I thought I’d try and design a cover based on this. To make it clear that it’s about cricket, I’ve taken inspiration from the classic cricket scoreboard – pre the digital age where numbers were made up of tiles of metal…
… and not the digital screens we see today:
And after several hours battling with Illustrator, here’s the result:
Let me know what you think!
I’ve been making a start on the Type Classification project. Yesterday I spent some time trying to understand the various classification systems that are used, which to be honest are rather confusing. There seem to be so many iterations of the historic classifications. You have the basic Old Style, Transitional, Modern trio which are then divided into serif and sans serif plus the Slab serifs and Grotesques. But then some classifications go even deeper, dividing Old Style into Humanist (Venetian) and Geralde (French) faces… Some call Modern Didone… Some lump all the sans serifs into a Lineal classification which is then sub-divided into Humanist (loosely based on the serif forms of the same classification), Geometric (Futura, for example) and the Grotesques. Then of course you’ve the Blackletters and script/calligraphy typefaces on top of this. The article I posted yesterday suggests some ideas for different classifications but I’m not even sure that these are that practical. Why not classify typefaces around what they are designed to be used for and work from there… So enough of my ranting about classification systems… I’ve chosen a number of typefaces to look at for this project and based my decision on the traditional classifications and within these selected typefaces that I have used or come across for a particular reason. This is what I am going to work with:
Old Style: Bembo
Transitional: Bulmer (this was used in my wedding invitation last year so has sentimental value – the quote on the homepage is an extract from it) and Times New Roman
Slab Serif: Memphis
Humanist Sans: Frutiger (I used this in my PAC project and have become rather attached to it!)
Geometric Sans: Futura
Grotesque: Franklin Gothic
I’ve made a start looking at the first three, printing out the lower and upper case alphabets and looking at these. I then made an interesting discovery that led me down an alley. For Bodoni I had selected the ITC version “cut” in 1994 as I had read in Robert Bringhurst’s excellent The Elements of Typographic Style that this was the closest to the original cut by Bodoni himself. I was troubled by this version as it did not seem like the Bodoni I was familiar with. I recalled unbracketed hairline serifs and very clean lines which this version did not appear to have. It seemed less open, with smaller counters. Bringhurst also mentions Bauer Bodoni as another favourite and fortunately I had this version as well. I put them both on screen and was struck by how different they looked. The latter was the Bodoni I was familiar with.
I’ve then done some more experimentation in Illustrator on particular letterforms both to highlight some of the differences and also to see if there is method I could use across this exercise. Here’s the results on the uppercase J, Q and H and lowercase a. The black letterforms are ITC and the red Bauer:
In the J, note the different descenders and serifs. The cap height of the letter is different as well – Bauer is a higher. With the H, note the different length of the crossbar. The a has very different shaped counters and the overall shape of the letterform is different – Bauer is flatter. With the Q, note the different size counters, the different stroke width and, most interestingly, the very different tail shapes.