We use cookies on this website, you can read about them here. To use the website as intended please... ACCEPT COOKIES
UAL Research Online

Typeface classification

Dixon, Catherine (2002) Typeface classification. In: Twentieth Century Graphic Communication: Technology, Society and Culture, First annual Friends of St Bride conference, 24-25 September 2002, London.

Type of Research: Conference, Symposium or Workshop Item
Creators: Dixon, Catherine

This extensively illustrated paper sets the context for the presentation of a new approach to the formal classification of type. The approach reassesses the value of previous contributions to the historiography of the field, re-evaluates the basis for type classification and re-conceptualises methods for accurate typeform description.

Key developments in classificatory thinking during the twentieth century are identified to outline the difficulties of description within current contexts. An analysis of recent type design practice reveals a set of analytic tools for evaluation of existing description methods and identification of the key requirements for contemporary description. A historical review proposes that the theoretical model for understanding typeform developments in response to market advances in the nineteenth century as proposed by Nicolete Gray (1938, revisited 1976) has wider applicability. Applied to the late twentieth century market situation, this model contributes to the understanding of a fracture in contemporary discourse which prevents recent practice from being related to that of the past.

The paper describes my own work in which I developed an approach to practice –based research which uses theoretical insight to inform a rigorous mapping of classificatory ideas from which to derive a new model for description. The significance of the new model lies in the micro and macro description possibilities for types offered and its in-built flexibility, which allows for adaptation in response to changes in the field.

Official Website: http://www.stbride.org/friends/conference/twentiethcenturygraphiccommunication/TypefaceClassification.html
Additional Information (Publicly available):

Catherine Dixon

Research Interests

Type design: history and practice
Public lettering
Type classification
Book design
Practice-based research in graphic design
Visualizing information

Current Research

Recent research continues to focus upon the typeform description activities which directed my doctoral work. My PhD - A description framework for typeforms; an applied study - was a pragmatic response to an identified need for a new approach to typeform description, a case argued in Eye no. 18. A main research outcome is a new model for typeform description which challenges previous assumptions in the field. Enquiry also came to explore an appropriate methodology for such research located within my ongoing studio-practice as a designer.

Implementation of the typeform description framework within new environments is a particular research interest: see the description of Times Classic in Eye no. 40 and the publications Type & typography by Phil Baines & Andrew Haslam (Laurence King 2002 in UK, US, German and Spanish editions).

For the purposes of further refining description activities, I continue to pursue earlier research interests in the broadening of existing type and letterform histories, with vernacular traditions providing a particular focus for exploration. Material which has informed articles for Druk, Point, TypoGraphic and publiclettering.org.uk has now been expanded in a book Signs, lettering in the environment, co-authored with Phil Baines (Laurence King, August 2003). Illustrations draw extensively from our ongoing visual documentation of this field. Lisbon is soon to feature in this process of documentation, with a collaborative project currently at planning stage. Experience gained from these various projects is also informing my current involvement in the development of a website intended to enhance accessibility to the public lettering content of the Central Lettering Record, a predominantly photographic archive which forms part of the colleges Museum & Study Collection.

Your affiliations with UAL: Colleges > Central Saint Martins
Date: September 2002
Event Location: London
Date Deposited: 05 Dec 2009 12:57
Last Modified: 07 Jun 2011 14:28
Item ID: 1099
URI: https://ualresearchonline.arts.ac.uk/id/eprint/1099

Repository Staff Only: item control page | University Staff: Request a correction