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Type is either black or white

The term type colour refers to the overall balance of type to white space, regardless of the shade of the text. It is related to the inherent blackness of a letter, which is affected by factors such as the width of strokes relative to its width and the orientation of strokes when present.

This blackness may vary across different letter-shapes of the same weight of a typeface as much as across different typefaces. For this reason it defines the letter itself.
This principle is very well abridge in this famous quote by Adrian Frutiger:

“Type is either black or white”.

At the same time the blackness of a letter influences the flow of a page since it has a huge impact on the visual tone of a mass of text on a page. The blacker the letters of a typeface are, the stronger is its type colour and its predominance in comparison with other typefaces. Taking a modular typeface (in this case the one designed by Wim Crouwel for the Stedelijk Museum in 1968) we can say that the blackness of a letter depends on how many black units are used to construct it.

Following this principle I turned the letters and the typeface into a mass of black blocks for which I decided to print two specimen posters in the letterpress workshop. The connection with ink, metal lead and letterpress was ineluctable. Since the number of square dingbats was not sufficient I had to set and print one line of text at the time and redesign the grid I was using twice in order to adapt it to the needs of both posters.

Due to time limitations, I could not print this booklet in letterpress too as planned. The very same Wim Crouwel once said:

“You cannot do better design with a computer, but you can speed up your work enormously”.


Giada Bobbera

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