Oklahoma City-based designer Tom Davie of StudioTwentySix2 illustrates the principles of typography in posters while also providing a history of the objects he features. This arrangement of children’s wooden letter blocks both spells and depicts a justified column of text.

"Simply Grotesk:" "I wanted to create a visual that was fundamental, beautiful and grotesque (a play on its word pronunciation). Due to a registered trademark, the typeface is not directly named."

Here, Davie uses bottle caps to illustrate the terms capline, meanline, and baseline.

This poster brings attention to the term x-height, which refers to the distance between the base and mean lines. The layout is an homage to the 1990s Malcolm X movie poster.

This one celebrates the breathing room offered by white space on a page, with subtle shadows cast by hand-cut letters on poster board.

This poster not only defines the typographical term sans, it also references the type classification’s historical beginning and celebrates its liberation from serif type.

In (minimalism): Inspired by wireform architectural structures, these custom developed letterforms are meant to give the perception of depth, mass and light.

The definition of "ligature" illustrated with a collection of Oldstyle serif ligatures (connected letterforms).

The difference between smart quotes (quotation marks) and dumb quotes (inch marks), with quotations referencing intelligence to illustrate the examples.

Inspired by piles of shredded business documents, this typographic poster features a photographed arrangement of thinly cut letterforms on paper.

Walking the line between symmetry and asymmetry, this poster channels an Art Deco style, with overlaid photographed grids and vector artwork.

A photographed 3-D two-tone blackletter paper sculpture overlaid with an original graphite line drawing.

Davie combined images of his 1960s manual typewriter with the typeface American Typewriter. "Once American Typewriter was paired with the physical typewriter for the poster final, they integrated almost seamlessly," he says.

"This poster is three generations in the making," Davie writes on his website. "My grandfather was thrifty and savvy enough to collect hundreds of pieces of discarded metal, my father was wise enough not to throw the rusted metal away, and yours truly, for picking through it, not getting tetanus, and visually arranging it. FYI: The metal percentages at the bottom of the piece make up the alloy composition of foundry type."

The typographic layout here was hand-cut to create an embossing plate, which was then pressed into a sheet of foil. The text is from the William Congreve quote, “Wit must be foiled by wit: cut a diamond with a diamond.”

Davie made this poster from paint swatch samples collected while determining the interior color palette for his house. The concept involves the color transformation from solid paint swatches, to a visually similar representation that uses the CMYK process.

A Modernist response to Nouveau-inspired book cover design.

Co.Design

These Posters Make Learning About Typography Fun

Helvetica fixed everything! Plus more fun facts about type.

Curious about ligatures, justified columns, and other typography principles? We didn't think so. To upend your lack of interest, Oklahoma City-based designer Tom Davie of StudioTwentySix2 illustrates the principles of typography in posters while also providing a history of the objects he features. The results can be surprising, nostalgic, or eerie; the posters are all worth looking at.

One features an arrangement of children’s wooden letter blocks that spell out "Justified Column" and are physically arranged in the staggered way of, well, a justified column. Another celebrates the breathing room offered by white space on a page, with subtle shadows cast by hand-cut letters on poster board. "Smart quotes" and "dumb quotes" are differentiated and illustrated by quotes referencing intelligence. A poster illustrating "X Height," which refers to the distance between the base and mean lines, pays homage to a 1990s Malcolm X movie poster. Helvetica and its implied history of making everything right, is also in the mix. A special call-out goes to library books and the due date type in back; we are all undoubtedly familiar with it.

It's difficult not to get enraptured at Davie's other photography series, each with a history attached, on the website. (Not everything is available to purchase.) Repackaged food products look like Pop Art. Photographs of tombstone typography—close-ups of old farewells in Ohio—feel surreal and depict the varieties of beautifully chiseled textures available.

Purchase the posters on Tom Davie's website here.

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