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The Abstract Elements of Type

The interaction between the abstract elements of positive shape and negative space is an important consideration in the design of good typography.


  • By positive shape we mean the shape of the letter itself.
  • By negative space we mean the background shapes between the letters.



Equally balanced positive shapes and negative space interlock to create a strong architectural quality in the Logan font.



If you look closely you will see that a little trickery has been used to manipulate the positive shapes and negative space of this Stencil font.



A careful balance between positive and negative elements was essential to create the rhythm and vitality of this script font. Script or calligraphic fonts, like Luftwaffe, should be avoided if you are looking for legibility.



Ravie is a fun font for those who place stylistic effect over legibility. Although it looks improvised and intuitive, there is a calculated balance between its positive shapes and negative spaces. This effect is made more visible by the circle which highlights its animated and abstract qualities.



The elephant is a beast of burden and the Elephant font reflects this quality. Like steel girders, its characters look to be able to support a great weight. The balance between the strength and delicacy of their positive and negative forms adds a sense of refinement to this typographic powerhouse.


Wide Latin

The interaction between the positive and negative shapes of the Wide Latin font evokes the dynamic forms of Geometric Abstraction in mid 20th century painting.

Graphic Design: Logotypes and Typography

These lessons introduce you to some basic principles of good design that will help you to develop effective logotypes with an understanding of relevant typography.


Graphic Design: How to Create and Develop Ideas

These lessons introduce you to some of the skills and techniques that will expand your creativity in developing original ideas for graphic design.

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