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The value of you…in type

By Mark Heaps

The value of you, in your design…

There’s nothing I love more  than a personal touch in a design project, when there’s a balance between the use of the computer and the creativity behind the person designing the piece. There are a lot of ways to do this. Whether it involves photos you’ve taken or art you’ve produced, there’s a sense of pride and investment when it comes from you. I see a lot of my peers doing this at Duarte.

Recently, I discovered a site that really helps with this. allows you to make a font in a matter of minutes.

Here’s an example of the difference it can make. With a personal font, the infamous quote slide, (we see them again and again,) has the ability to allow your audience to feel how meaningful that quote can be. What an amazing idea, to have a unique font to represent each person you’re quoting, or that a whole slideshow could be built in your visual voice! With respect for legibility, you can create some really dynamic visuals that get away from some of the safe old stereotypes.

Here is a quote from one of those creative Duartians, paired with one of his personal photographs. I don’t need to tell you much about him; when you see the visual paired with the font it gives you a little sense of the person.

Close up image of an eye "Can the world see how much I love?"

The slide below is a bit different. This time, I made a handwritten font by scribbling quickly and roughly on the template. Within a few minutes the font was downloaded to my machine, and ready to use. Check out the difference…

Close up image of an eye "Can the world see how much I love?"

The handwriting provides a sense now of how the person speaks, their character, and more. With a few more tweaks in color, we could have an amazing quote slide.

This isn’t a new concept. In fact, I think Stefan Sagmeister has led the march against consuming everyday fonts and really thinking about type as an organic living thing within design. Look at his older and newer work on his site. There’s even a giant ad made for Adobe where they produced the type taking a photo of hundreds of coffee cups…brilliant.

So never negate the value of that doodle you did on the napkin, or think that clip art is better then anything you can draw. That’s simply not true. Injecting a little personality can go a long way.

Some of my favorite presentations are the ones where the presenter has included something personal, a window into their world beyond the stage. After spending more then a decade becoming an expert in computer graphics, I now appreciate the value of a crayon, and you can quote me on that.

Written by

Mark Heaps

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