Today on Il Sole 24 Ore, an important italian newspaper, Luciano Perondi presents his new typeface “Sole Serif”, that will be adopted, starting tomorrow, in the weekly cultural supplement. So a few words on type design and the synsemic perspective.
Aren’t they in opposition? If synsemia is the study of the non linear organization of elements of writing, type design shouldn’t be its opposite? Actually alphanumeric characters are elements of writing which needs to be organized in the space.
Typeface designing is the starting point, the place where the alphabetical writing and the image writing found a place of interaction. The linear text is involved in a larger visual dimension, it’s difficult to study writing without understanding how some of its basic elements work and it’s wrong to design a typeface (in particular for a newspaper) without thinking that it will be used in a non linear context.
A newspaper page, like the phone bill, is another daily synsemic artifact we can read without problem. We are able to read the hierarchy of the news, considering different sizes and positions, and we can feel if a certain font is in harmony, or not, with the space of the text. The characteristics of a typeface must live in interaction with the newspaper design, the size of the columns, the relations between different elements (titles, subtitles, captions, different kind of articles, pictures), the colour of the page, the mood and the global identity of a newspaper. So the question should be: “How to design a typeface that suit synsemic uses?”.
Leonardo Romei & Luciano Perondi