Typography in the Digital World
By Travis Brown
For the longest time typography was confined to the realm of paper. Now traditional print mediums are being infringed upon by digital forms of communication such as websites, apps, and basically anything that is electronically produced on a screen of some kind. With this evolution comes a shift in functionality of typography. What works in the world of print doesn’t always translate ideally to the digital world. The digital medium by nature is a very dynamic form as opposed to the static world of print. When something is printed there aren’t really any significant variables in how that printed piece is going to be shown, it’s already at full size and there won’t be any changes in the size of content, margins or the size, it’s all static. Digital mediums have a continually growing array of ways content is being displayed to an end user whether it’s a website that shifts content to be aesthetically pleasing when viewed on a smart phone, or the same website being viewed from a dinosaur of a monitor versus a wide screen high resolution display. Designers must keep in mind the lowest common denominators that their work might be displayed on. It’s a challenge to say the least, with every new phone that comes to the market with a slightly different screen size, countless designers and developers groan in horror at the thought of adding another form factor to consider in content’s creation.
Erik Spiekermann has long been a respected voice in the graphic design community. Along with being the designer of many well known typefaces such as Officina and Meta to name a few, he is never shy to express his thoughts on design philosophy and passion for typography. With the changing world of design from traditional print to digital mediums Spiekermann continues to have his finger firmly on the pulse of functional design and how the art of typography is evolving and finding a new home in the digital world.
The video below is a wonderful 20 minute lecture titled “Type on Screen” which Spiekermann recently gave as part of the Creative Mornings series and features his candid and refreshingly honest take on how typographic needs are changing and how he has approached app design and overall digital work. Rather than looking back on his previous successes, Spiekermann displays his continuous relevance and value to the graphic design world. Watch, learn, and enjoy!