What isTypography?

Typography is the art of the letterform, and the visual communication of type
which, through the use of fonts, can
reveal meaning in the design of letters and words
whose purpose may be to express or convey (an) idea(s).


example # No. 1

Word Type-Art

(click text above to see)


Other examples of clever Typefaces:

Colango’s “Typogami”

You can read more about it on FastCompanyDesign.CoDesign here:

Typogami - a unique font that imitates Japanese origami


On Steve Jobs:



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Typography Class Projects

Didot Display and Modern No. 20 font posters: examples of Modern hairline serif typefaces

Information compiled from various articles on Wikipedia:
Updated, June 28, 2010

The term “Modern" in Typography, refers to typefaces which were first created in the late 1700’s, and characterized by flat, unbracketed serifs with extreme contrasts between their thick and thin strokes. These fonts were more geometric and mathematically precise than the previous, “Transitional” style fonts had been; and in addition, had a more vertical, upright stress. They also differed dramatically from the handwritten, calligraphic style typefaces of the Medieval and Renaissance eras, which preceded both the Transitional and Modern typefaces.

The Modern fonts, also called, “Didones” were created by a French family of printers and punchcutters whose last name became the name of the typefont classification. The first Didot font was originally created by Firmin Didot, (1764-1836) in 1783; who, along with his father, François-Ambroise Didot, is credited with designing the first Modern classification of typefaces. Interestingly, around the same time period in Italy, there was in fact another font designer named, Giambattista Bodoni who was also creating a similar typeface. This typeface also helped to shape the Modern typefonts, and hence, the name “Bodoni” in many Modern typefaces today, which are named after him. In addition to creating typefaces, Firmin Didot was also an inventor of stereotypography, the use of a metal printing plate for setting type, and a device that revolutionized printing at the time. He was responsible for creating and actually cutting the Didot font, while his brother Pierre, used the type in the printing of books.

Their father, François-Ambroise Didot (1730-1804), was the second generation of a family of printers and learned book publishers. During his lifetime he was appointed as printer to the clergy, for whom he became an avid publisher. He also invented a new printing press, and was the first to print on vellum paper. In addition, François is credited with adapting a point sytem of sizing typefaces that were based on 1/72nd of a “French inch” — before the Metric system was invented. (The French inch was larger proportionally, than the UK or American inches of the 18th century.) His unit of measurement was appropriately named the ‘didot,’ and became the prevailing system of type measurement throughout continental Europe, as well as in colonial America. Later on however, it was standardized to .375 mm in Euorpe, and America developed from this measurement, its own ‘point’ system, which was based upon the same proportion, only it used the smaller-sized inches, that the English-speaking countries had first adapted.

Three modern-day renditions of the Didot fonts are featured below: Didot Display by Canada Type, and Didot Std Italic by Adobe in the poster on the left; and Modern Number 20, a revival of an English, Victorian-style Didone of the 1700’s, in the poster on the right.

Modern No. 20 was originally issued by the Stephenson Blake foundry in 1905, and was recreated in the mid-1900’s by the font designer, Edouard Benguiat, (and later digitized). It differs somewhat from the other two Didot fonts in its hairline strokes, and also has more rounded ball serifs, as well as more curves, as seen in its numeral set. You can also compare the ampersands in the three fonts — to see that they are all different. All three fonts however, are considered to be members of the Modern type family, or Didones. The Didot fonts are Neoclassical and Romantic in style, and make elegant display fonts. Other examples of Didones include Bauer Bodoni, (named after Giambattista), as well as many other 20th century typefaces. The Modern fonts can vary from extremely finelined versions, to ultrabold ones; and fonts with more narrow and condensed letterforms, to wider, more expanded forms. There are even fancier variations of serifs and terminals. Some good examples of more decorative, contemporary Didones can also be seen on the MyFonts.com website, and include Ambroise Std and Bodoni Classic Swing, which both take their names from these two original font designers. Just do a search with those font names on the site, and you will see them along with many other versions.

Below are two posters I created for the two Didot fonts and Modern No. 20, using some of the font history and information outlined above, from the Wikipedia website. The poster on the left is actually an updated version of a previous poster I had put up, which has had some new facts added and corrections made to it, (including the fact that it was actually Firmin Didot and not François, as I had stated in the previous version of the poster, who is credited with the creation of the original Didot typeface.)

Didot Poster Image
Updated poster image © 2010-2013 by, Jackie Apel.

Modern No. 20 Poster
Updated poster image © 2013 by, Jackie Apel.

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example no. 3  

an example of 18th century Copperplate Calligraphy

Bickham Script Pro is an elegant, calligraphic script font based on the engravings of the master calligrapher, penman and Englishman, George Bickham who designed the original script in the mid-1700’s. This script evolved from a type of handwriting known as English Roundhand, which originated in England around 1660, and was developed by writing masters John Ayers and William Banson, who created broadsides to advertise their writing skills to students, and which were also used as a way to advertise its utility to merchants and tradesmen of the times. It was later popularized by calligraphers like George Bickham during what was known as the Golden Age of handwriting in 18th century England. This popular penmanship style quickly spread to other parts of Europe, including France, and eventually to America as well, where it was used in many trade and merchant documents.

Bickham Script Pro was recreated and converted into a digitized font by the famous Adobe font designer, Richard Lipton, in the 1990’s. It is a font characterized by the subtle contrast of thick and thin strokes, and elegant curves which flow seamlessly together when combined into words and sentences. The font has many alternate letterform choices, based upon the original penmanship of George Bickham—including an extensive selection of stylistic and contextual alternates, swashes, ligatures, ornaments, as well as old-style numerals—making it a very versatile font that allows for many different combinations. Bickham Script Pro can be used for numeraous purposes, including things like social invitations, menus, advertising fonts and logos, as well as other types of documents which may require an elegant and formal, yet lively look.

* Some examples of copperplate calligraphy by George Bickham,
in pages from “The Universal Penman” published in 1741, can be
seen here.

The Bickham Script Pro poster I created for my Typography class in 2008.

Bickham Script Pro poster
Poster image © 2010-2011 by, Jackie Apel. Not available for copy or reuse.



More on Bickham Script Pro...

A Historical Note
August 3, 2009

Recently, I disocvered these examples of the original font as it was penned by the actual calligrapher, George Bickham himself, on some framed plates or broadsides as they are called, circa 1738-’41, at The City Tavern Club — a historical property located in Georgetown (in Washington, D.C.). The first document shown in the photo below is a letter written to ‘Merchants and Tradesmen’ of Great Britain, which was penned and signed by George Bickham, whose signature can be seen in the bottom lower right of the image where it says, “Your most obedient and very humble servant,” (with the initials, G. Bickham).

Merchants of Great Britain Letter

Poetry page - Champion Script

(Top of another broadside page)

The plate pictured above is a tribute to the meaning of ‘Poetry.’ Surrounding the word ‘Poetry’ are flourishes that are similar to the flourishes available in the digital fontset for Bickham Script Pro, but with more elaborate strokes that could only have been created with a calligrapher’s pen. Notice how the P and the Y are actually joined together by one penstroke, with additional embellishments to the sides of each of these letters, that are also a part of each of the letter forms. While the digitized font has many swashes and ornaments, some things cannot be recreated exactly as a calligrapher would have drawn them, but the fontset does do an amazing job of recreating the letterforms and the look of this beautiful script with all of its swashes, alternate and contextual letterforms, as well as the ornament set. In the example below, I tried to recreate something similar to the POETRY above, but was unable to find a capital R with a long swash on it, or a capital T that matched the letter T shown above. The P also has more embellishments above, than the P in the digital version by Richard Lipton, but many of the letters still have very similar characteristics overall to the original script and it is possible to create some very lovely letter combinations, using all of the digitized alphabet.


At the bottom of this page (shown below) appears the signed name, “Joseph Champion Scriptsitz.” This script is very similar to the calligraphy of the Bickham Script shown in the letter above. Upon doing some research on the Internet, I learned that Joseph Champion (1709-1765) was another Englishman and master calligrapher who worked with, and actually contributed 47 plates to George Bickham's major calligraphy book, “The Universal Penman.” While this page looks very similar to Bickham Script Pro, this must actually be the script created by Joseph Champion.

(Bottom of Page)

Poetry page - Champion Script

‘Champion Script Pro’ has also been reproduced as a digitized font, by a Greek font designer named Panos Vassiliou. A history of the font’s development can be read about here on his blog. Other similar examples of George Bickham’s own calligraphy can be seen at the link provided above my Bickham Script poster image, in pages from his famous publication, “The Universal Penman.”

If you are interested in learning how to do Copperplate Calligraphy using a calligraphy pen, here is a good book on the subject. A reproduction of The Universal Penman is also available on that page, as well.


Blurb Book Project:

Washington in White

Washington in White — a photo essay | 58 pages by, Jacquie Apel
| Make Your Own Book

Washington in White is a collection of photographic images that I took during the February 2010 blizzards, “Snowpocalypse” and “Snowmageddon” as they were called by residents of D.C. and the surrounding mid-Atlantic region. The photographs capture some of the essence and beauty of D.C. landscapes, and architectural icons of the Cleveland Park, Kalorama, and Dupont Circle neighborhoods. The book also features two quotes about snow— one by Dr. Seuss, and another by a 19th century Scottish poet.


Kabel Poster 2009
(click to view PDF):

Kabel Poster 2009

Kabel Poster, 2008

Pink and gray Kabel poster

Number 4, Kabel Ultra KABEL POSTERS
— demonstrating a sans-serif font designed in the early 20th century.

A more modern font, shown in the poster designs below, which illustrate the history of a German typeface called Kabel — a font that was directly influenced by the Bauhaus movement, and is characterized by rounded, geometric shapes. The font is shown below in two weights: Kabel Book BT and Kabel Ultra BT, which is intended mostly for poster and display use (It is featured in the numeral four, at the beginning of this paragraph). The Kabel font does not have any italics, and also has a limited numeral and character set.

This poster describes the history of Rudolph Koch, the Kabel font designer, and mentions some of his other early, 20th century typeface designs. He was an in-house designer at the Klingspor foundry where he worked in Germany, and produced many different fonts, as well as a book on calligraphy.

The posters below used text, type elements, and/or shapes with color, but no illustration. The circular aspects of the letterforms are emphasized in the numeral and alphabet examples, seen below the large red letterforms in the center of the poster. The font is constructed of simple, circular shapes and lines. It was modern-looking for its times, and is still modern-looking today, with a distinctive, lowercase g and e, in its alphabet.

To see more examples of the Koch typefaces, visit the Klingspor Foundry webiste:


...and to see other of his typefonts vistit Linotype @: http://www.linotype.com/453/rudolfkoch.html.

The Kabel Book ITC font is available from MyFonts.com, published by Bitstream, at this link:
http://www.myfonts.com/fonts/bitstream/itc-kabel/. MyFonts offers several different weights
in between the Book and the Ultra BT, which include Medium, Demi and Bold.
In my poster, I have used the Ultra BT as the bold type.

The original version of Kabel available also from Linotype, on MyFonts.com:
shows the differences between Rudolph Koch’s personal version of the font.
You can compare the ITC Kabel with this, and see that the ITC version
has a larger x-height, and wider letterforms than Koch’s original.



an ART DECO FONT also from the early 1900’s, called:

Paella Caps

Paella Caps poster

(click image to view PDF poster)

“The Art Deco style was introduced in the 1920’s and reigned through the 1930’s. It encompassed both the Roaring Twenties and the Great Depression. It is an elegant style of decorative art and architecture reflective of Art Nouveau, yet with more modern sophistication. Art Deco features sleek straight, geometric lines and an element of boldness. The movement affected city styles, architecture, high fashion, jewelry, commercial printmaking, and interior design. It also embraced lifestyles of hedonism, indulgence and mass consumption. The term ‘Art Deco’ was not actually in use until the 1960’s, when Bevis Hillier, a British historian and art critic wrote a book and coined the term to encompass all of the styles from the time period. "In 1969 his book Art Deco of the 20s and 30s was published by Studio Vista. This was the first major work on a hitherto neglected period of art, which had been previously referred to by various names." His use of the term Art Deco became definitive. His book is available on Amazon.com here; and another one of his book cover images can be seen here.

Notable Art Deco buildings include the Empire State Building, Rockefeller Center, Radio City Music Hall, The Chrysler Building, the Kennedy-Warren, and the Midland Grand Hotel.”

— excerpts from Wikipedia entries on the Art Deco movement and Bevis Hillier

An interesting Art Deco exhibit from The Victoria and Albert Museum in London from 2003, is still online at this link: http://www.vam.ac.uk/vastatic/microsites/1157_art_deco/. You can view art deco objects from the exhibit, read more about the movement and its history, and take a quiz, too to test your own knowledge of art deco styles.




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Facebuster poster image

FACEBUSTER is a chunky, geometric, slab-serif display font that uses minimal open/white space,
(or negative space as it is referred to in typographic terms) in its letterforms, to make a bold statement.
It has a playful, yet refined look and offsets the other fonts in this poster, called Hurry Up and Giddy Up,
because they are opposite in style, shape and structure, being narrow and curvy, and belong more
to the sans serif font classification. However, all of these fonts have a fun, “Western” kind of feeling
to them, so compliment each other well for that reason.

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rotated squares

Transparent square shapes created by Veerle, rotated and scaled to
create a feeling of movement /or a ripple-wave effect.

- see Veerle’s spirograph tutorial for more advanced examples.



Examples of Linear and other gradients with background images, created soley with CSS3,
from: http://standardista.com/cssgradients/.












What is Graphic Design?

To me, graphic design is a visual means of interpreting the world around us in an artistic and abstract way, using electronic media or two-dimensional media (such as print), through the combination of things like colors, shapes, illustrations, and/or typography, to create something new and different that is unique, yet commonly recognizable, and allows the viewer to see something familiar, in a new way. It is also a form of art and visual communication that we cannot do without. Graphic design is everywhere, but takes many forms and styles. While not exactly true art like painting its purpose is to communicate a feeling or a message to an audience in a clever, fun or engaging way. It embodies creating new things as well as recreating things that have already been made, i.e. tracing over a flag with Illustrator.

There are two types of graphic design that dominate the media world today: print design and onscreen design whether for the Internet, or for media such as television and films/movies. Print design is different from web design in distinct ways. Web design is supposed to emulate printwork, but is constructed differently due to the limitations and non-permanent nature of the Internet, which is based on computer code and onscreen displays. Print design by contrast, is a physical media that can be created as an object that can be viewed in person, such as a poster to be posted on a wall, or a paper document that is passed out as a flyer, a compilation of pages for a brochure, or many pages printed as a book. Print and web design also use different color systems. They both have one thing in common though, which is the visual communication of ideas and information using similar elements: such as typography, illustrations, photos, and “graphics.” Good graphic design is easily recognizable, but creating it is challenging and involves learning to see things in a totally new and innovative way, and to be able to use the programs effectively enough to accomplish this.


my flickr key words:

flickr keywords


My favorite photos on Flickr

Butterfly Gallery Photo Pool:


blue butterfly




Veerle poster competition entry:

What is Graphic Design?





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