Analyzing Typography

The typography in Jon Deviny’s Reimagine Haiti advertisement immediately drew me in. The way the letters wrap around––almost seeming to embrace the image of the man is gorgeous. Love it.

With my non-designer, beginner’s eye, I will attempt to reverse engineer Mr. Deviny’s use of typography.

Right away we notice that Mr. Deviny has created instant appeal by using a combination of three contrasting typefaces. A Decorative typeface with a bit of a Slab Serif/feel, a Sans Serif typeface, and a Script (hand-lettered) typeface.

Focusing on the first typeface, how do we identify it as Decorative? First of all, it’s very distinctive. Although it’s beautiful, we wouldn’t want to read a 300-page novel that used only this typeface. It has a ‘Slab Serif’ feel because of the horizontal serifs, along with almost no thick-to-thin transition in the letter strokes. But then, when you look a little closer at the serifs (serifs are the little flag-type tic on the end of letters), this typeface uses a mix of curved bracketing and/or no bracketing. The last reason I thought to classify this typeface as Decorative was the use of triangles on the letters.

How do we know the second typeface is Sans Serif? The word “sans” means “without” (in French), and the second typeface does not have serifs. There are also no thick-to-thin transitions on the strokes. Each letter has the same thickness all around.

For the third and final typeface, how do we identify it as Script? The easiest way to determine if a typeface is a Script-style face is when it appears to have been hand-lettered. Recently I read the book, The Non-Designer’s Design Book by Robin Williams. When she describes using Script typefaces she cautions:

“Scripts are like cheesecake––they should be used sparingly so nobody gets sick.”

And, of course, Williams reminds us that we should never use Script typefaces in all caps.

The typefaces in this ad are wonderfully contrasted. What makes the typefaces contrast? To answer this question, I’ve focused on the letter, “I” in each of the three fonts.

In the Decorative typeface, the “I” is set to a much larger size than the other two fonts. It also has a bit more weight because it’s structured with thick strokes. The decorative typeface is also set in a slightly different direction, slanting upwards, which gives it great positive energy.

The Sans Serif typeface “I” is much smaller but still large enough to be seen, especially with the use of all caps. This typeface is very clean compared to the larger, Decorative face. Also notice that the letters in the word, “Haiti” were spaced out without increasing the font size.

Compared to the Decorative and Sans Serif typefaces, the “I” in the Script typeface is set at a very small size and placed at the bottom of the ad. Because of the page alignment and use of color, our eyes are still drawn to the web address: reimaginehaiti.com even though the typeface is different than the other two.

How typography is used can truly make a difference in how we read and interpret the feel of an advertisement. This advertisement was beautifully done. The contrast is stellar!

Deconstructing Ad Design

Pepsi. My soda of choice. My husband likes to call Pepsi his preferred liquid candy bar. Pepsi is my favorite caffeine-infused-pick-me-up. I like it fresh from the fountain, in a foam cup, over some pebble ice. I may or may not get one exactly as described during my daily Maverick run.

Pepsi

The above Pepsi ad was found on a food culture website called, ATERIET. I can definitely relate to this clever advertising. Some days I feel like I need Pepsi on an intravenous drip — straight to the vein.

I am new to the world of design but I will attempt to analyze how the original designer of this very creative Pepsi advertisement used the basic principles of design.

CONTRAST

The contrast in this Pepsi ad is undeniable. Our eyes are drawn to the large intravenous drip filled with Pepsi, which, I must say, is an ingenious idea. Then, our eyes float naturally to the bottom right-hand corner where we see the tiny suggestion to “Come to life”. Like I mentioned before, Pepsi pretty much brings me back to life on a daily basis.

Contrast

REPETITION and COLOR

While not very noticeable at first glance, repetition strengthens this ad. There are two basic elements; the medical bag filled with liquid, and the separate words at the bottom of the page. The repetition of the Pepsi logo unifies both elements making us feel like they belong together.

Repetition and color go hand in hand. There are tiny pops of red on the page. The exact same color of red is used for the stopper on the bag and on both of the Pepsi logos – a shrewd, yet subtle way to use repetition. Also, the blue in the background helps the blue in the Pepsi logos to stand out as well.

Repetition

ALIGNMENT

The center alignment of the main ad element is obvious right away. But the smaller ad element at the bottom of the page is not so obvious. The designer of this Pepsi ad stuck with the idea that elements of design should always align with something, even if they’re far away from each other. Like magic, the words, “Come to life”, are perfectly aligned with the right side of the Pepsi bag.

Alignment

PROXIMITY

Because there are only two elements on the page in this Pepsi advertisement, our eye is drawn to the large intravenous (IV) bag filled with Pepsi first. This gives us the bold idea that Pepsi is a life-giving fluid. Usually IV’s are filled with a saline, or electrolyte solution and given to medical patients in the hospital to treat dehydration.

After we see that larger picture, our eye is drawn downward toward the small statement, “Come to life”. The spacing between the picture and the statement gives us ‘breathing room’ to come to the ironic conclusion ourselves while reinforcing the comedy in the tongue-in-cheek aspect of the advertisement. Very cunning — if I do say so myself. 

Proximity

One can see that even though this Pepsi advertisement seems like it may be simple, all the elements of design were well thought out.

Pepsi…sweet, sweet nectar of the Gods.

Yup. The principles of design are working their magic on me.

I’m kidding. Kinda.

I need a Pepsi.

I’m heading to Maverick, does anyone else want a Pepsi?