Come Thou Font

This is the February 2017 cover of Adventure Cyclist magazine. I can refer you to an online  thumbnail of this picture at https://www.adventurecycling.org/adventure-cyclist/adventure-cyclist-online/2017-issues/, but you can’t get closer without paying the $45 annual membership fee. All their magazines show excellent use of typography, but this cover in particular employs several categories of type as well as other contrasting features, resulting in a sharp, memorable image.

 

 

 

 

The first category of type I’m highlighting is Sans Serif. This typefaces is characterized by letter-forms that are the same consistency throughout with no variation in thickness of the letter strokes. Another feature of this typeface is the lack of serifs, which are the decorative doodads on the end of letter strokes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The artists also used Slab Serif, a typeface characterized by uniform letter strokes that have horizontal serifs on most of the alphabet letters. The category evolved from the need to easily read letters from a distance, as in the case of signs and advertisements.

 

 

 

 

 

A bonus typeface displayed in this magazine cover is Oldstyle, which has angled serifs on the letters. The curved strokes transition from thick to thin; they are replicating brush strokes from quill and ink. A line drawn through the thinnest parts would be diagonal; this is known as “stress” in the typeface world.

 

 

Sand serif and slab serif contrast nicely by themselves, but there are several techniques applied to increase the contrast between the typefaces. One is the color of the letters in the word “cyclist” (see photos above). It is schoolbus yellow (or orange, depending on your interpretation of the color of a schoolbus). All other letters are black or white, as well as the picture on the cover. The letters also range in size. One subtitle, here highlighted in blue, has shadowed font that no doubt is a play on the word “sunset.” Finally, here highlighted in pink, the image of the cyclist has been placed over some of the words so that the mind has to fill in the missing letters. It’s a neat trick.

The use of contrasting typeface categories, the size of the letters, and the grayscale page with one yellow word all contribute to giving this magazine cover a professional and memorable look.

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