Broadsides

According to Kyle Schlesinger, some people would categorize broadsides as “a single, unfolded sheet printed on one side only” which my example falls in line with. The size of this broadside is actually what drew my attention to it. It was a lot longer than all the others and seemed to be in the best condition. The length of this broadside immediately made me think of a long letter from a long time ago when they were longer and on parchment (instead of our 11 x 8 ½). I believe that this is what it is suggesting at with their jesting letter/announcement to freshmen designating rules that they need to obey. Not only does the size of the paper feel like a letter but the format does as well. There is a larger title FROSH that is who is being addressed, along with Class of 1917 in a square at the bottom resembling a signature. All these elements typography, placement, and paper size all come into play when deciding what this broadside is suggesting at or what it is trying to say.

In order to emphasize how the paper size and the type work together to create the letter feeling I wanted to show a broadside of a similar size and compare. The second broadside does not have any visual cues that would evoke images of letter writing. FRESHMAN! is not the largest piece of information and The Rule of Nineteen! is the heading which signals at more of a list than a letter. The title and singular bolded words are almost like bullet points, again creating a feeling of a list type structure. Instead of a signature it just ends with OBEY OBEY OBEY. The paragraph of writing at the beginning is smaller, suggesting less importance whereas my original broadside has a much larger font and the paragraph of writing stands out contributing to the letter feeling.

Just these few differences in type can create a whole new feeling. The type and the images they create that come together to make a typical list or letter are ingrained in our minds and we transfer that into our interpretation of these broadsides. “Translating words into space, feelings into letterforms, is a significant part of book design” and is how I look at these broadsides. The letter forms transform into a larger image (of a letter) because of the way they are arranged and the way our mind is trained to read things.

This entry was posted in Fall 2014 Archive (338), Sample Posts by Students and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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