Friday, March 13, 2009

Straight-up, Water-back

Recently I was downsizing a line drawing in Illustrator and failed to mark the stroke to decrease at the same percentage as the image. The overall density of the image increased so much that it was unusable.

This is a proportion problem that becomes quite apparent when a text face is enlarged to poster size and its refined serifs become cumbersome slab serifs.

But I am thinking more in terms of format, as might be encountered in packaging, where usage crosses over from a tiny label on a half-pint bottle to a label on a gallon bucket. An excellent example of this can be seen in the Knob Creek Kentucky Bourbon label.

The label on the pint maintains a delicate balance, where the color planes and density of the typefaces strain to overwhelm the white background, while at the same time the white border holds the design in place. Compare this to the very same label scaled up and applied to the liter bottle, where the density of line and color is lost through dispersal of the graphic elements, and the increased whiteness of the label is the graphic equivalent of a watered-down drink.

Unfortunately you will have to find your own liter bottle, as I do not have a picture of it. In real life, though, it can often be found displayed behind the bar, on its side and resting in a cradle.

Should Knob Creek not appeal to your taste you might take up the typographic study of wine labels. Note the considerable difference in type selection between, say, an emblematic Haut Medoc and a Friday-Casual Zinfandel.


1 comment:

Kyle said...

This is one sweet blog Phil. I just put a link up from the ol' Cuneiform blog. Looking forward to your next post. Cheers, Kyle