Part 2: Socially Motivated Typographic Solution September 25, 2011Posted by Kaleena Tucker in : Unit 2 , trackback
In Armstrong’s Hearing Type, it talks about the textural qualities of a typeface as it relates to timbre in music. Specifically, the article mentions how characteristics such as serifs and other details can help distinguish a typeface’s unique properties, thus helping the audience to appreciate its color (what makes it look different). The writing suggests that texture combined with other typographic properties can contribute to the overall success of a design.
I believe that’s evident in the UN poverty campaign that I spoke about in Part 1. The type’s textural qualities (repetition of people) had a direct impact on the reaction of my peers. In Ericca’s response, she wrote: “I adore the use of humans to form the typography in a stellar example of typography speaking for itself.” Mariska wrote: “There is a deeper understanding then just viewing the type from afar.” And as I mentioned in my previous post, the visual texture builds the foundation for the overall message – that it takes people from all around the world to make a difference. Without a doubt, we all are responding the texture as a form of communication.
Another interesting point in Armstrong’s writing also gives insight into why this piece was visually interesting. He says, “A single tone exists at a specific position within its native space, an acoustic field. Like a typographic point, a tone interacts with its contextual space in a figure/ground relationship.”  In the UN piece, we see people the size of a single point, placed sporadically between lines of text. Perhaps these singular points are much like the single tones that Armstrong spoke about. The figure (singular dots of people) are interacting with the ground (the page) to create added visual interest.
In terms of emotional and intellectual appeal, the use of color in typography can be a strong tool to use as it is indicative of hierarchy and significance. In Timothy Samara’s Typography Workbook, he writes: “Applying color to a typographic composition will have an immediate effect on hierarchy.”  … He also adds this: “For example, if the information at the top of a hierarchy is set in a deep, vibrant orange-red, while the secondary information is set in a cool gray, the two levels of the hierarchy will be visually separated to a much greater degree.”  The author could easily be speaking about Y&R’s campaign and helps to explain the responses of me and my peers. Ericca commented specifically about this when she wrote: “The use of action verbs in a contrasting color creates a strong message to support the campaign agenda.”
After examining the typographic principles and techniques used in this piece, it’s not surprising that it struck a common chord amongst viewers. The typographic textural qualities, the singular elements that interact with the space of the page, and the use of color all contribute to the audience’s emotional and intellectual response in this campaign.
 Armstrong, Frank. Hearing Type
[2, 3] Samara, Timothy. Typography Workbook. Rockpork Publishers, 2004