Type Anatomy: Travis Thoms

This is the front Cover of the city directory from 1901

For my pieces I actually decided to focus on a book that was not one of the original choices presented, I found some old Seattle City Directory books, or basically an old phone/address book for all of people and businesses in Seattle. The book was a lot different than phonebooks today, it is hardback with pressed words all over the spine and the cover and even on the pages put together on the open side, there is an advertisement. Knowing that everyone in the city is going to be using these is very helpful because it explains why there are ads all over the entire thing and it plays into the style of typeface used and why it was used. Almost all of the type that was used on the cover of this book is bold and thick in nature with bulky steams and thick spines. This makes the font

This is the spine of the city directory from 1901

This is the back of the city directory from 1901

This is the pages of the city directory from 1901

grab the readers eye more and makes it contrast and stand out which is very important when the entirety of the book is covered in various adds. Another element of the type that I noticed is that they vary in the different stylization of the terminals, descenders, and ascenders. These stylizations are meant to create a contrast between the various ads so that each company stands out, but it also works in alignment with what the company actually does in some cases. For example, on the spine of the book, the word “RAINER” has sharp and pointed serifs to make it more representative of mountains as that ties to its name.


One of the pages of the book that I wanted to focus on was the advertisement for the Academy of Holy Names that is a few pages inside the front cover. The font that is used on this page is a lot different than the fonts used on other adds that are placed in or on this book. The font looks a lot more handwritten than pressed in nature

This is one of the adds inside the city directory from 1901 that is advertising a Catholic school.

and is made to look similar to old roman catholic texts to tie into that fact that they are advertising a Catholic school. The typeface is thick in nature to show that it is a heading and to grab the viewers’ attention, but they have varying width on the different parts of the letter to emulate brush strokes. The font has a very humanist vibe as it is meant to embody old handwriting styles rather than newer printing styling.


This entry was posted in Spring 2018 Archive (336), Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

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