Type Evaluation #3


Design Title: Organic Grid

Found at: http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2008/05/20/the-showcase-of-big-typography-second-edition/

Created by: Michael McDonald

Created: 2008 (or thereabouts)

Artist Site:  http://www.organicgrid.com

Possible Font Used:  I used Identifont and another font search engine and failed at finding a match due to the uniqueness of the lowercase “i” missing the dot at the top. All the results they provided had the dot, despite me clicking on the option saying there is no dot on the lowercase “i.” Anyway, I emailed Michael McDonald and he wrote back! He says the bulk of the composition is in Helvetica Neue, except for the “g” which is in ITC Franklin Gothic.

I am really ambivalent towards how I feel about this design.  I really cannot figure out if McDonald is using this as mainly an artistic work, or as a tool for his self-promotion. I’m thinking the design is intended to be a combo of self-promotion and artistic work; yet, I find some flaws regarding both routes of creation.

Artistically, I think the impaired readability and good legibility is a plus. Having the words on a slant, and going indifferent directions  diagonally creates some nice flow in the piece. However, the impaired readability would take away in trying to use the design for self-promotion. Having the contact info on a sharp downward slant makes that part hard to read. If he is trying to promote his job and artistic abilities, I personally wouldn’t have my important information be that impaired readability wise when trying to promote my job.

Another thing I don’t really understand is McDonald’s choice of color differentiation.   Why are “live” and “work” in different colors than the rest of the piece?  I don’t really see their importance when looking at the piece. The words “Organic Grid” are more of the central theme and words in the piece; wouldn’t it make sense for them to be colored instead? Also: There are 3 words in the “live”  & “work” column. Why is “play” left out of being colored?

I like how everything is mainly in a grid type set up and arranged to fit together. However, once again in the “live” “work” & “play” area, there is a flaw (that I see). All 3 of those words are four letters and can be aligned (kerned or tracked) to fit the same basic area. Why is the “p” in “play” not really aligned with the “w” and “l” of “work” and “live?” Everything else seems centered in aligned in a column except for that.

Another aspect I wonder about, which I actually like and wouldn’t have noticed unless McDonald didn’t mention it in his email, is the different font choice for the letter “g.” I looked up Helvetica Neue and saw that their “g” is single-storey. I like the double-storey usage of the “g” in ITC Franklin Gothic within this piece; yet, I wonder why McDonald chose to differ the font. It takes away from constancy in the piece, while making it appear more appealing in a sense.

I enjoyed looking at some of McDonald’s other typographic works; yet, I was drawn to analyze this one due to how different it was in comparison to the others. I don’t really enjoy this design, nor do I hate it. Either way, I really like how he uses different techniques to make the type appear to be all the same typeface.  I really wouldn’t have picked up on the two different fonts in the design without knowing about it, and I think it adds a unique aspect to it. However, the weird coloring and the minor flaws do seem to take away from that.



About Robert Norris

I am a 25 year old college graduate from Maryville College. I have a huge interest in public relations, advertising, social media marketing, and writing. I love graphic design as well and have a huge interest in creating "something from nothing." ~Thank You For Visiting My Blog. Best Of Luck! Robert E. Norris
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