Frederick James Trezise.

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Design and Color in

Design and Color in

By F. J. Trezise

in Job Composition and I

md Printer Technical Sch

Instructor I. T. U. Course in Printing

Instructor in Job Composition and Imposition
Inland Printer Technical School

Chicago :

The Inland Printer Company



Copyright, 1909
The Inland Printer Co.


Chapter I Page
Appropriate Type-faces 3

Chapter II

Association of Type- faces 9

Chapter III

Simplicity in Design 15

Chapter IV

Proportion 21

Chapter V

Tone Harmony 29

Chapter VI

Shape Harmony 37

Chapter VII

Typographical Designing 43

Chapter VIII

The Science of Color 49


Chapter IX Page
Primary, Secondary and Tertiary Colors 55

Chapter X

The Color-wheel 61

Chapter XI

Complementary Harmony 67

Chapter XII

Harmonies of Shades and Tints 73

Chapter XIII

Arrangement of Colors 79


The man who has the eye and intellect will invent beautiful propor-
tions, and can not help it; but he can not tell us how' to do it. There
are one or two general laws that can be told; but they are of no use,
indeed, except as preventatives of gross mistakes. — John Ruskin.

S the above quotation would indicate,
it is not the intention or province of
this series of articles to formulate or
lay down rules which shall constitute
an easy road to a knowledge of the
artistic arrangement of type matter.
No vest-pocket guide to the acquire-
ment of a clear conception of the
principles of design and color harmony as applied to
the printed page will be attempted. It is not possible
— neither is it desirable, for if it were possible the
incentive to study and improvement would be elimi-
nated. Imagine a few set and easily learned rules
governing the painting of landscapes. Our interest in
this form of pictorial art would soon die out. The
same thing is true of printing. If by some mysterious
short cut we could in a few brief lessons master all
there is of art in printing, the craft would rapidly
degenerate into the most commonplace of trades.

But, consciously or unconsciously, we must recog-
nize the presence of these general laws in our work as
printers. They are apparent in all good specimens.
Much of the best and most pleasing printing of to-day

is done by craftsmen who invent beautiful proportions
but can not tell how it is done. These men we say are
endowed with an inherent sense of the fitness of things,
or " good taste." This serves them well, but they can
not impart it to others, and consequently the acquiring
of this good taste by others must be assisted and
expedited by a study of these certain principles even
though they are useful only as preventives of gross
mistakes. In this manner their study also assists the
one who is possessed of inherent talent.

These principles of true art are found in the work
that has endured throughout the centuries as the best
— and the forms of typography which have endured
have been the plain and simple ones. They are not
found in any marked degree in the forms of typo-
graphical arrangement based on passing vogues or
fads. A careful study of the " artistic " curved rule-
work of a few years ago fails to reveal anything of an
enduring nature or anything which would suggest its
revival as a factor in printing. The same is true of
the grotesque shaded letters now covered with a thick
coating of dust in the older offices. The curved rule-
work and the shaded letter, like many other passing
fancies, were not based on the fundamental principles
of true art, and hence were but short-lived.

One of the first things which the printer must con-
sider is the choice of the letter for the work on which
he is engaged. The author is careful to present his
subject in appropriate and pleasing manner and the
medium through which his ideas are conveyed to the
public should certainly be such that a harmony is
preserved between the two. There can be no iron-clad
rules as to what may or what may not be done with
regard to the use of certain type-faces for certain kinds

of work, but a few general laws — laws of custom —
may assist us. The usage of centuries has established
customs in regard to the type-faces that may be used




FOKj 1906-190r^«^ITH

Fig. I. — An appropriate and pleasing use of the formal roman

for certain classes of work, and in order to appreciate
this historical significance of the use of these letters a
brief consideration of them will be necessary.

Our type of to-day may be divided into four general
classes, known in the modern printing-office as roman,
text, italic, and gothic.

The roman capitals are practically the same in
design as the lettering used by the Latin scribes in
early manuscripts and by the ancient stonecutters for
inscriptions on memorial arches, buildings, etc. From
the nature of its shape and from the uses to which it
was orginally put, the roman capital is necessarily a
formal letter, and its most pleasing use is found in the
composition of the cover or title-page of a formal piece
of printing, such as a library catalogue, art institute
catalogue, or work of this sort. The roman lower-
case, which, until after the invention of printing, was
of a more or less indefinite shape, was evolved, through
the necessity of having for the bulk of the page a
letter more legible and more easily executed than the
roman capitals. A pleasing and appropriate use of the
roman capitals is shown in Fig. i.

The text-letter — historically called the gothic
from the nature of its origin and its noticeable char-
acteristics of the gothic form of architecture and
decoration — has ever been the logical letter for
ecclesiastical use. It is more informal and more
decorative than the roman capital. Its appropriate
use is well exemplified in Fig. 2.

The italic is said to have been designed after the
handwriting of Petrarch, an Italian poet of the four-
teenth century. The italic came into use with the
desire for a letter which could be more easily and
rapidly executed than could the roman. At first only

the lower-case italic was made, it being used in connec-
tion with roman capitals. The italic is informal and
graceful, making an especially appropriate letter where
the dignity of the roman is not required.


Arltngtnn ^ttttt (Hhurrlf

H^berend Paul Inhere




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10.30 o'tUuk

Fig. 2. — The text type is seen at its best in work of this class.

The block letter, known to the printer as gothic, is
without serifs and the elements are all of equal width.
It is distinctively utilitarian in its purpose, angular in
design and possesses but little beauty. The gothic is
particularly appropriate for use on business stationery,
blanks, etc., but for title-pages, programs, etc., is
usually not so pleasing or desirable as the roman or

It is by no means the intention to convey the idea
that the usage of these different forms of letters should
be confined to the classes of work herein suggested as
the most appropriate. All of these faces are in daily
use in commercial work of every description. A con-
sideration of these letters in their most appropriate sur-
roundings will, however, serve to assist us in attaining
a clearer appreciation of what can rightfully be done
with them when we remove them to the conditions of
every-day work. When we consider the text-letter as
an informal, decorative letter, gothic in design and
peculiarly harmonizing with the gothic architecture
and decoration found in connection with churches, we
are hardly liable to employ it to any great extent in the
stationery of a hardware house, and when we con-
sider the lack of art and the predominance of the utility
features in the square gothic (sans serif) type we will
hardly use it in the commercial work of a firm dealing
in stained-glass windows. Where a bit of decoration
is desirable in commercial work a line of text is desir-
able, but when we use all text we have all decoration.

Association of

In all association of lines whatsoever, it is desirable that there should
be a reciprocal relation, and the eye is unhappy without perception of
it. — John Ruskin.

lOLLOWING the consideration of what
letter is appropriate for the work to be
done, comes the question of the har-
monious association of type- faces —
the question of which type-faces can be
used together and which can not, and
the reasons therefor. Everything
considered, the results which are the
most satisfactory are usually found in the printing in
which the question of the association of type-faces does
not enter — the printing in which but one series of
type is used. We may even go a step farther and say
that the most pleasing results are attained where the
work is not only confined to one series, but is set in
either all capitals or all lower-case of that series. Each
forms a different band of design and the characteristics
are distinctive. But this is not always possible. The
design as a whole is more important than the shape of
the individual letters used for the separate lines, and
where the adhering to the use of capitals necessitates
an unreasonable length of line which breaks the con-
tour of the design as a whole, it is absurd to stick to
the rule of all capitals or all lower-case. Neither could
it be deemed advisable under all conditions to confine

the work to one series of type. The desirability of
adding a bit of decoration, or emphasis, or a spot of a
darker tone to a type-design often justifies the use of
the second series ; and it is not impossible to use three
series pleasingly in the same job — for instance, Cas-
lon, Caslon Italic and Caslon Text.

We are, however, rapidly coming to a better appre-
ciation of the more simple and less involved type
arrangements. The type catalogue which a few years
ago contained six or seven hundred type-faces now
contains but a third of that number. The printing-
office which a few years ago contained a miscellaneous
assortment of grotesque type-faces, one or two sizes
only of each series, now contains well-filled and com-
plete series of a few faces — and surely the improve-
ment of the printing of to-day over that of ten years
ago bears evidence of the desirabiUty of the new order
of things.

The most important factor in the consideration of
the association of type-faces is that of shape harmony.
" Shape harmony would imply that all the shapes in a
piece of work must share some common property.
For instance, curves and curvilinear figures would go
well together, straight lines and rectangular figures
would be classified in the same way. Thus if we
would have complete shape harmony we would see
that all the figures in a design were similar or at least
governed by the same law."* Bearing in mind the
admonition to see that all the figures in a type-design
were similar, we will avoid the association of the grace-
ful and flowing texts and romans with the angular
block letter. " But," some one says, " this would pre-

* From " The Principles of Design," by E. A. Batchelder. Published
and for sale by The Inland Printer Company.


vent the use of anything but the block letter on business
stationery where the smallest sizes of type are neces-
sary." If printing were entirely an " art-for-art's-
sake " proposition, this would be true, but in this con-
nection utility is the chief factor. Take, for instance, a
business card for a bank, as shown in Fig. 3. It is
not desirable to set a large number of names of officers
or directors in the text type on account of its lack of

tjumptcr ^atjings Banfe

Capital anb &utplu0



PiG_ 3. — The lack of shape harmony between text and gothic
is not so noticeable when the smaller sizes of gothics are used.

legibility in the smaller sizes. Neither is it always
desirable to use the angular gothic in the larger sizes
for the feature line. In this case we use a roman or
text letter for the feature line, eliminating the crudity
of the gothic and substituting grace and beauty to the
design, and set the names of the officers in a small size
of the gothic, thus preserving the legibility. The fact
that the angular solidity of the gothic is less noticeable
in the smaller sizes helps to reconcile the dififerences in
shape and produce a satisfactory result.

But in Fig. 4 is shown a different proposition.
Here we have the close association of the larger sizes

of the text and gothic, and the effect is not what we
would desire. The angular stiff lines of the gothic,
which, in the smaller sizes and to the casual glance
blend into a line that is rather pleasing, are in the
larger size shown in all their crudity, and we are
unable to find wherein the two type-faces have that
" something in common " which is necessary to shape

The block letter, which includes many variations

fl^orrison Si Companp


Fig. 4. — The association of the larger sizes of text and gothic
does not result in a pleasing effect.

from the gothic, such as Blair, etc., is distinctively a
modern letter, while the texts and the old-style romans
and italics are of ancient design. This suggests that,
apart from their lack of susceptibility of pleasing asso-
ciation from the standpoint of shape harmony, they
have nothing in common in point of historical relations
toward each other. While, of course, the lack of his-
torical precedent for the use together of certain letters
is a small matter compared to their relation from the
standpoint of the matter of harmony of design, still it
must be considered. Ecclesiastical printing, for

instance, is closely associated historically with the text
letter, and while on commercial stationery we may
reconcile the use of the text with the modern gothic,
we would hardly feel that under any circumstances
could we use the modern gothic on the cover of a
church program for a Christmas entertainment.

Too much stress can not be laid on the idea of con-
fining the job in hand to a single series of type. This
is becoming more and more a feature of all good
printing, especially on cover-pages, title-pages and the
general run of job composition. In work of this class
whatever emphasis is necessary for certain lines can
easily be supplied by the use of the larger sizes. In the
composition of advertisements more variety in the
type-faces is not only allowable, but in many cases is
an improvement, the setting of one or more lines in a
heavier type giving an attractive spot of color other-
wise unattainable. However, this is not always neces-
sary, as some of the largest advertisers, whose
newspaper advertisements are models of attractive
type-display, use one series exclusively. Where more
than one series are used we must consider the suit-
ability of the heavy type-face for association with the
other series. As an example, a line of gothic, although
heavy and adding emphasis to the advertisement, does
not look well in connection with the Caslon Old Style.
A heavy old-style face is much more to be desired.
The " good old days " when we set the lines of a job
in capitals and lower-case alternately and avoided the
use of the same series of type in consecutive lines have
passed away, and a consequent improvement is shown
in the general run of printed matter.

While it would hardly seem necessary to make
comment on the use of modern and old-style faces in

conjunction, still this combination is too often found.
Old-style type is type made in imitation of the roman
letters used before the beginning of the last century,
while modern type is that kind of roman which has
been cut since the beginning of the last century. The
modern differs from the old style in that it is more
regular and even and its serifs are less angular. The
two faces differ both in their characteristics of design
and their historical relations toward each other, and
should not be used together.

After all is said and done, however, we must return
to the fact that in nearly every case the best work is
that in which but one series is used, and where there is
any doubt as to the propriety of the association of two
or more type-faces the better way is to stay on the
safe side — and use but one. Even with the great
decrease in the numbers of type-faces of to-day, as
compared with a few years ago, the printer is really
handicapped in many cases by too great a variety. We
could still dispense with three-fourths of the type-faces
now in use and do work fully as good — if not better
— than we are at present turning out. However, busi-
ness reasons and the great variety of tastes in type-
designs make this reduction unlikely, and as long as
the printer is not placed in a position where, through
lack of an excess of type-faces, he is compelled to pro-
duce harmonious work, the only thing left for him to
do is to make a study of the various letters and avoid
bringing together those which, by reason of their char-
acteristics of design or historical relations toward each
other, are antagonistic.


Simplicity in

The simplest things are usually the best — and likewise the hardest
to do.

FEATURE too often overlooked or
neglected in printing is simplicity of
design. Keeping a job simple in
design does not necessarily imply that
it should be set in plain type, devoid
of all ornamentation and embellish-
ment, but it does mean an arrangement
of the various groups of type and
decorative material in such manner that the whole is
easily comprehended.

When we start out to set a job — cover-page, title-
page or any other piece of work — we must consider it
as an arrangement of lines and masses, and must place
these lines and masses in such positions that their rela-
tions toward each other shall be pleasing. Each one
of the lines or masses is a force of attraction, and it
readily follows that if we are to have a simple design
we must have few of these forces of attraction. The
copy must be carefully read and the various words and
sentences grouped together closely, leaving but few
spots to deal with.

In the specimen which has been selected to illustrate
this point (Fig. 5), we note that there are no less than
seven or eight separate groups, either of type or

Cnns (Sas '?lXaclT:inBrg

■^ (EflmpHtxg -^




FjG. s- — An unpleasant effect, caused by the design being too








Fig. 6. — A more simple treatment of the page shown in Fig. 5.

decoration, each exerting a distinct force of attraction
to the eye. The consequence is that in attempting to
grasp the page the eye keeps jumping from one spot
to the other, and in the end the effect is confusing and
far from pleasant. In Fig. 6 we have a more simple
arrangement of this page. The reading matter has
been grouped into two masses and is readily grasped
at a glance. The rule so extravagantly used in Fig. 5
has been utilized in placing a parallel rule border
around the page, thereby giving a more finished effect
but in no way complicating the design. The long
ornament has been added as a concession to the length
of the page, but it is placed in such manner that it
becomes a part of the upper group, leading the eye
down to the balance of the reading matter and still
leaving but two forces of attraction.

In determining the number and arrangement of
these groups on the page the preliminary sketch will
be of the greatest value. This sketch need not in any
way approach a drawing, nor need it contain any
lettering. It is only necessary to indicate in a simple
manner the outlines of the various groups. Fig. 7
shows a few suggestions as to the style of these pre-
liminary sketches. They are the work of but a few
moments, but they give a good idea of what will be
the appearance of the finished design, and we start the
work with a clear conception of what the result will
be, instead of going at it in a haphazard manner. An
analysis of Figs. 5 and 6 on this basis will illustrate
this point. Imagine preliminary sketches made for
these specimens after the manner indicated in Fig. 7.
An adequate idea of what would be the finished appear-
ance of Fig. 6 could be gained in this way, and the
sketch in itself would show a pleasing arrangement.

But with Fig. 5 it is entirely different. An indication
of the separate groups in this page would produce a
complex mass of lines which would be far from satis-

FiG. 7. — A few suggestions regarding preliminary sketches.

factory. If the sketch or plan from which we are to
build up our design is not pleasing, it is entirely
improbable that the finished work will be anything
but the same. If a sketch of this kind had been made

for Fig. 5 prior to its being put into type it is hardly
probable that it would have been set as it was.

Another important point is to consider a design in
its most comprehensive form. The page as a whole
must be always in mind. Just as the artist in drawing
from the model keeps the whole figure in mind and
considers what he calls the " big " lines — not losing
sight of the drawing as a whole in the working out of
unimportant details — so must the printer lose sight
of the little things in contemplation of the greater
feeling of proportion. The upper right-hand sketch in
Fig. 7 is an apt illustration of this point. If we were
to center our attention — as is so commonly done —
on the fact that the space between the upper line and
the top of the page is much greater than the space at
the ends of the line, we would in all probability forget
the relation of the lines to the page as a whole. The
question is not the relation of the lines toward the
upper rule or the side rule, or both, but is a considera-
tion of their relation to the page in its entirety.



By good proportions, whether in a house, on the page of a book, or in
the formation of a single letter, we mean measure harmony, the means by
which varying quantities may be so related as to be agreeable to the
eye. — E. A. Batchelder.

FTER having gained simplicity in our
type-design by the condensing of the
reading matter into a small number
of groups or forces of attraction, the
question of where to place these groups
in order to achieve the most pleasing
results presents itself, and the success-
ful solution of this question calls for a
consideration of proportion. In order to clearly dis-
cuss proportion Mre must have a concise definition of
what proportion really is. To say that " Proportion is \
the pleasing inequality in the parts of an object" is ''
perhaps putting it as simply and yet comprehensively
as any of the definitions that can be found. A pleasing
equality in the parts of an object constitutes symmetry,
but in order to have proportion we must have a pleas-
ing inequality. In other words, the divisions must not
be equal lest they produce monotony, but must be
unequal and in such relation one to the other that the
effect is satisfactory to the eye. If we divide a rec-
tangle exactly in the center, as shown in A — Fig. 8,
the effect would not be pleasing; neither would it be
effective for a type page, as both panels would be of
equal importance. If we divided it as shown in B —

Fig 8, the effect would be that of the large panel
crowding the smaller one off the page. Where, then,

Fig. 8. — The division of the rectangle shovra in A is not
pleasing, owing to the equality of the two parts. In B the effect
is also unpleasant, the two parts having no relation toward each
other in size. In C we have a satisfactory division, caused by
giving three parts of the rectangle to one panel and five parts
to the other. D shows method of centering two spots of unequal
size on this proportion.


are we to secure a pleasing division? Experiments
have proven that a division which gives three parts of
the rectangle to one panel and five parts to the other is
the most satisfactory to the great majority of people.
This division is shown in C — Fig. 8. Authorities
differ slightly in their statements of these proportions,
some giving it as three to five while others claim that

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Online LibraryFrederick James TreziseDesign and color in printing → online text (page 1 of 4)