DON’T Stretch Before Running

In Typography, especially early Typography classes — I ask students how they would feel if they worked for a long time a photograph, painting, illustration, logo, etc., and someone took it and squashed or stretched it.

Here is a photo of me, squashed. This appearance does not fit into the ‘too thin’ ideal. My image has become unrecognizable.

If you don’t have the proper room for an image or for type, then you are not using the proper typeface or image. Don’t ever re-size other than to scale.

I try to remind my students that almost every quality typeface — even the contemporary screen-typeface I am posting with right now, Georgia, took a very long time to design. Therefore no one should ever stretch, skew, squash, thicken, or slant a typeface.

I also try to explain to my students that my eyes are trained. I have worked in design for a long time (you can call me an old lady — I don’t mind). It’s that work and training I have under my belt, which allows me to instantly recognize type and image abuses.

Design students are at the beginning of their training. In the beginning of this training, they need to look at the mathematical proportions of their type and also always hold down SHIFT when they SCALE type and image when typesetting digitally. Letterpress did not allow for such abuses, as the lead type couldn’t physically be manipulated in such a way. Often design students do have to learn this lesson the hard way, by losing points, on a final project.

Type abuses happen every-single-day.

Abuses also happen with Corporate Brand Standards. Sometimes with logo-marks and logotypes. Today I witnessed one of the worst I have seen, on an almost brand-new sign. I think one of the wildest things about this abuse was how close it occurred to the brand’s Corporate Headquarters! Dear David Butler, have you seen this?

What a horrible abuse of the Coca-Cola logotype!

It wasn’t just the angle from where I was standing — this logotype was completely abused!

So to sum up this rant, dear design students, understand when I tell you NOT TO STRETCH  your type BEFORE RUNNING.

This is the Coca-Cola Script (logotype) used proportionally.

Think, if you designed the Coca-Cola logotype, and a sign like Leroy’s appeared in downtown Atlanta abusing your artwork — you would really understand the importance of this rule.

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