Tech Tuesday: A Lesson In Typography With Herb

Published: January 16, 2018

Torey Azure


Today we got a chance to pick the brain of our team’s type guru, Herb Collingridge. He was generous enough to let us in on some of his recommendations on type, as well as recommending some of his personal favorites.

Share a few of your recent favorite typefaces.

From left to right: Wicked Grit, Black Bear, Electra, Scala, Klinic Slab, Magallenes, Birka, Klavika, Deming, DDC Hardware.

In your opinion, what makes a good typeface?

Scalability. There’s a few things I mean by this. If a typeface is designed well, it looks and reads well at tiny and enormous sizes. Basically, when you don’t see any flaws or weird edges when it’s larger. Also, how it reads or “flows” well when you just look at it. It’s mainly about how each character plays with the others on both left & right sides. Balance… as all characters are placed with each other.

Have you ever been able to convince a client to go with a different typeface? What was the originally proposed type, and what was the original choice?

Yes, mainly it’s been a subtle change like the client wanted to use Arial and I switched to Helvetica or something designed way better.

What are some tips you try to keep in mind while choosing a typeface?

Mainly the ‘color’ of the face. That means I ask myself, “Is this too playful? Is this too serious? How does it speak to the subject matter? Does it have balance? Is it too stiff or too loose? And, is everybody else using it?” Some words just look great in certain typefaces.

Do you have any suggestions for books or articles a designer should read to further their type education?

There’s a book called The Elements of Typographic Style by Robert Bringhurst. I like it more for reference as it’s a super dry read. But man, it has everything in it. On the more fun side, there’s Rob Carter’s Experimental Typography (Working with Computer Type No. 4). There are some styles in it that are a dated, but it really helps to see type a little differently. Last, Pinterest is a great place to see what others are doing around the world. There’s some amazing stuff there.

What advice would you give to someone just getting into design that wants to up their type game?

See previous answer. LOL… But seriously, you have to know the rules before you break them. A lot of people go straight to breaking the rules by mimicking stuff off the internet with no understanding of the process and mindset behind certain faces or designs. But mainly it’s getting the basics down, practicing those, then swerve across the lines to experiment, play, destroy, and re-assemble.

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