Mini Art School #2: Fonts and Photos


The font activity was a fun way to find some fonts I might be interested in using as a part of my future web designs and think about what kind of message they portray. In thinking about typography, we rarely consider the voice that a font carries with it. I found myself gravitating towards novelty fonts that have a strong and unique voice to them for this activity. One font reminded me of the movies, while another resembled a graffiti tag. In searching through the options on, I chose the ones that stood out to me the most and added them to Microsoft Word. Next came deciding what words I would pair with them. The exercise called for words that exemplified the meaning of the font, and those that contradict it. This created some interesting juxtapositions. For the carefully executed cursive font I used “Perfection” contrasted with “Vomit”. Later, the squished and slightly illegible script was consequently described as hurried instead. It is interesting have even though they are the same form of writing, they give off very different impressions and voices. The rushed Mistral font voices its urgency while neglecting clarity. The fun, happy “Maybe, Maybe not” font would not be used to send a serious message.


All of these influences are considerations that need to be taken into account in the process of information design using fonts.

For my second choice of activity, I accessed the Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Reading Room in search of some photographs that really catch my eye. The first photograph I chose came from the Carol M. Highsmith collection. SoldiersPhoto

I was drawn to it at first, admittedly because I wasn’t sure if the figures in the photo were real people or not. Upon closer inspection, they are lifelike sculptures in a memorial setting. The photographer uses principle of movement to draw the eye through sculptures almost like a funnel towards the American flag, which serves as the focal point and a contrast of color against the white and gray background. The image achieves balance through the weight of the flag’s color  with the visual weight of the nearest sculpture in the foreground.


This second image from the Kandell Sikkim Collection caught my eye because of the colors. Although the entire image seems foggy, the rainbow is very clearly the focal point against an otherwise muted background. Although there does seem to be a lot of negative space in the photo, it is divided horizontally into dark and light, with lighter tones of color toward the bottom of the frame.Having these different values hold’s the viewers interest. Although it is a very simple photograph, I think that it holds up to many of the design principles we are studying.


The last photo I chose is anything but simple. I found myself returning to the Carol M. Highsmith Collection to pick out this bright photograph, which contains a number of colors and other visual elements. The curved bright blue line over the parade float guides the viewer’s eye horizontally across the visual plane. It is hard to figure out the focal point of this image. My eye goes immediately toward the giant head on the float, then next to the paraders in their bright blue outfits. It feels like every time I look at this photo I see something new! Even so, all the elements within the photo work together in unity to create the theme of a fun Mardi Gras parade.

I think that in examining these photographs I have learned more about the principles of design that make an image visually appealing. Being able to look at photographs from a technical perspective rather than simply for enjoyment gave me a practical understanding of the visual design principles we’ve been studying.


2 thoughts on “Mini Art School #2: Fonts and Photos

  1. I also did the word portrait exercise. I really like how you used to find some very fun and creative fonts. I used microsoft word which had many fonts to choose from but some fonts did not really express any specific mood to me. I think that when looking at the fonts that you chose they are very unique and a little easier to see what message these fonts are telling us. I think that font/text choice is so important for multimedia design. It really needs to match and go with the message we’re trying to portray. I think that you chose some very nice photos for your second exercise. I love the military sculpture one. The white of the snow and the dark color of the sculptures contrast like black and white. Then the American flag stands out so dominantly. It’s like watching a black and white commercial and the only color is the red in a rose or something like that. It’s a very impressive message. The colors in your last photo are so vibrant. I think that the position of that main face in the middle was offset purposely and it compliments the rest of the photo.


  2. I have to say, I laughed out loud, or LOL as the kids say, at some of the words you used to describe your fonts. Really well done, insightful and on target. There are so many to choose from, sometimes I think too many. You picked some good ones.


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