Cardiff Type Hunt

This week we were introduced to our new lecturer and also head of year, David Wrenne, who started a new topic with us on Monday – ‘Word’.

We were given a list of typefaces to research, which included: Old Face, Transitional, Humanist, Script, Roman, Italic, Majuscule, Miniscule, Geometric, Condensed, Ligature, Gothic, Slab Serif, Clarendon, Triangular Serif, Bifurcated Serif, Trifurcated Serif, Vestigial, Fat Face, Nesting, Superior Letters, and Versals Lombardic. I drew and wrote about each of them in my sketch book.

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This morning, we went into Cardiff to do a type hunt, which involved searching for particular typefaces and recording them by taking photographs. Working in groups of three or four, we were given three different typefaces from the list to look for and find – in our group, we were searching for Humanist, Miniscule and Trifurcated Serif.

These are a couple of the photos that we found of each:

Humanist: Characteristics – slightly sloped cross bar, slightly slanted/not perfectly vertical stress, small in height, and not huge contrast between thick and thin strokes. All in all, Humanist typeface is extremely similar to Transitional typeface, so we found it difficult at times to differentiate the two. The telling sign that we used to spot the difference was the letter ‘O’, because it was clearer to spot the slightly slanted to the left vertical stress in this particular letter.

Miniscule: A small cursive script which is most often referred to as the lowercase letter. This typeface was the easiest to find as it seemed to be all over Cardiff, so therefore we found the most of this type.

Trifurcated: A typeface in which the serifs are split into three parts. This type was another difficult one to find because it’s quite unusual and also can be hard to differentiate from bifurcated. Because of this, we were unable to find any trifurcated typeface around Cardiff, and the photos that we did take turned out to be either bifurcated or wrong.

I really enjoyed learning about all the different typefaces – it was all new to me as I have never done typography before – and it was a really fun, hands-on way of doing it, being able to search the city ourselves. David warned us that after doing this mini project, it would completely change the way we look at type wherever we see it, and sure enough, I now struggle to see a sign or poster without analysing the font and announcing to whoever I’m with, “that’s humanist”, or “that’s miniscule”.

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