Type Anatomy: Miranda Hansen

The text that I chose to analyze was Queery Leary Nonsense by Edward Lear.


The front cover.

I chose this text because it was both eye-catching due to it’s beauty and the obvious quirkiness of the author. I also appreciated how the author included a lot of diversity in his style (different handwriting “types”, non-linear text positioning, images/sketches accompanying text, sporadic uses of color) but when peeking through the work you can still discern that this all came from the same mind.

The text itself appears to be printed by a metal typewriter. It has a clean, almost- minimalist appearance, which contrasts well with the whimsical nature of the rest of the book. It presents information without distracting the reader. The posture of the text is upright and tight to one another, as if conserving space and the set width is compressed. The text is lowercase, with the first letter capitalized and the letters sit on the baseline in a flat and uniform manner. A few letters (like the y’s) do drop below the baseline, but not so far that they disrupt the tight spacing. The font is decidedly serif, and despite the modular appearance the serif allows for light decoration which makes the font feel less robotic.  The high contrast between letters adds to this effect, and also makes them seems slightly more humanistic, which makes them look more natural next to the art style used in the sketches.


A example of the title text, a sketch and the paragraph text.

I feel the decorative yet precise style of the typeface compliments the rest of the visuals in the book well, which could be a difficult task due to the diverse style. One example of this fluid changing of style that made the work so intriguing can be seen in the handwriting itself.  The book seems designed to be read as if it was a journal, with the author taking full liberty in making each page entirely new without constraint from the previous one.


An example of the handwriting.

One thing I found particularly interesting was the fact that the author seems to go out of his way to change the handwriting depending on which of his characters were speaking or which drawing it accompanied. Beyond the physical challenge associated with altering the appearance of one’s handwriting (while still making it look natural/nice) it also added depth to the book, as if it was encapsulating multiple perspectives.


The Bird Sketches, which I thought looked remarkably similar to what you might see in a fashion designer’s notebook.

I think overall the book succeeded with both the handwriting and the typeface in providing a cozy, non-distracting companion to the sketches without it being at the expense of seeming impersonal.  After all, the book is titled after the Nonsense Sketches, so having a text that compliments them is a important primary consideration.


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