Select two innovative typographic designers – one pre-digital (1984), the other contemporary. Provide a brief comparative analysis of their contributions to typographic practice supported by relevant examples of their work.
The two innovative typographic designers that will be compared are Fred Smeijers and Claire Coullon. Fred Smeijers is a Dutch typographer who was active in 1980s, whereas Claire Coullon is a contemporary French typographer. Smeijers worked as a typographic advisor in designing typefaces for laser printers. He developed his interest in the early 16th century’s typography technique – punchcutting –, and started to design typefaces based on his insights from his experiments of punchcutting. Smeijers has designed many retail typefaces throughout his typographic career, such as FF Quadaart, Nobel, Arnhem, Fresco, etc. On the contrary, Claire Coullon is a freelance typographer who is obsessed with hand drawn lettering typography. Her typographic designs are always functional and subtle, which consist of warmth, a strong sense of personality and a solid, enduring quality as well.
In terms of their contributions to typographic practice to their periods, Smeijers has helped develop a trend of neat, clean typography for laser printing, in which his typefaces has highly been used in books printing. Examples as follow:
|Arnhem - Typeface developed by Fred Smeijers|
|Example of the use of Quadraat (Cover of Good Beer Guide)|
However, Coullon has developed a trend of hand writing typography, which could be understood as a more free style in typography. She has contributed to typographic practices in many aspects, including company logo, wedding invitations, website layout, packaging, and many more.
|Logo designed for Class Atlas|
|Design development with the use of different pens|
|Collectural design mock-ups|
What I found the most interesting between these two typographers, is the contradictions of their typographic design characteristics between the social and technological conditions of their period. It is interesting that Coullon, who as a typographer in this digital society, prefers to establish typefaces with hand drawing, while Smeijiers was keen on developing typefaces for digital printing during pre-digital period.