#144 Meet & Greet

Meet & Greet & Skype & Zoom

This #144 Meet & Greet piece wThis #144 Meet & Greet piece was cre­at­ed way back in June 2019, just wait­ing for the per­fect time & place for its debut. Then came the pan­dem­ic, & no one dare meet & greet, not in per­son, any­way. A lot of peo­ple learned how to Skype, Zoom & Face­time dur­ing the last cou­ple years.

Meet & Greet & Greet & Meet

I was very busy dur­ing Feb­ru­ary and March of this year with two back-​to-​back projects, each for I was very busy dur­ing Feb­ru­ary & March of this year with two back-​to-​back projects, each for upcom­ing con­ven­tions. Busi­ness cards, web­sites, brochures, posters, ban­ners, & give­aways — both projects with impos­si­ble dead­lines. That was in between two oth­er projects that I’ve been work­ing on for sev­er­al months.

Double Duty

Nor­mal­ly an Amper­Art piece such as #144 Meet & Greet is on stand­by until I need some­thing for a last-​minute issue when I have no time to cre­ate some­thing new. This is one of those times. I had to get back to those oth­er project with dead­lines just around the cor­ner. But there couldn’t be a more appro­pri­ate theme than meet & greet, hav­ing just fin­ished those two con­ven­tion projects.

Concept & Design

I used to be a sem­i­nar junkie, and I’ve attend­ed my share of design sym­po­siums, print­ing con­ven­tions, and cham­ber mix­ers. So design­ing this one came easy. A lit­tle too easy, as the image on the left I used to be a sem­i­nar junkie, & I’ve attend­ed my share of design sym­po­siums, print­ing con­ven­tions, & cham­ber mix­ers. So design­ing this one came easy. A lit­tle too easy, as the image on the left demon­strates. After I com­plet­ed it, ready to pub­lish, I real­ized we could dress it up a lit­tle with a fine-​tailored suit (not that I would wear any­thing like that, being the res­i­dent nud­ist — and you know I’m going to miss those Zoom meet­ings). So I redesigned the piece to be the final #144 Meet & Greet that you see on the right.


The type­style is Trade Goth­ic, which along with Folio, were the fore­run­ners in the 1950s & 60s of what would become the most pop­u­lar & refined of the mod­ern goth­ics, Hel­veti­ca. Back in mid-​century 1900s type­set­ters still relied on what­ev­er was avail­able in their fonts* as there weren’t thou­sands of styles avail­able by com­put­er. As for the amper­sand & words out­side of the badge, I used some­thing authen­tic: a good ol’ Sharpie mark­er, scanned into place.

*Font: what the term really means

The true def­i­n­i­tion of font is best com­pre­hend­ed if you can visu­al­ize draw­ers of indi­vid­ual met­al type, where each draw­er con­tained a sin­gle font. That would be the type fam­i­ly (Trade Goth­ic, for exam­ple — we’ll use the word “HELLO”), its weight (extra bold), its slant (roman, mean­ing not ital­ic), & its mod­i­fi­ca­tion in width (extend­ed), & its point size (36 pt. would be a good guess for the name badge). That’s a lot of job cas­es (type draw­ers) for just one type­style fam­i­ly. It’s sim­ple enough to real­ize you’d have a sep­a­rate case for each of these criteria:

bold ital­ic
light ital­ic
medi­um ital­ic
heavy ital­ic
black ital­ic

ital­ic con­densed
bold con­densed
bold ital­ic con­densed
light con­densed
light ital­ic con­densed
medi­um con­densed
medi­um ital­ic con­densed
heavy con­densed
heavy ital­ic con­densed
black con­densed
black ital­ic condensed

ital­ic extend­ed
bold extend­ed
bold ital­ic extend­ed
light extend­ed
light ital­ic extend­ed
medi­um extend­ed
medi­um ital­ic extend­ed
heavy extend­ed
heavy ital­ic extend­ed
black extend­ed
black ital­ic extended

But wait, there’s more! Ten to twenty times more!

Remem­ber, this was when type was cast in lit­tle met­al pieces (or wood for larg­er sizes, usu­al­ly reserved for posters & pack­ag­ing). Take anoth­er look at the 36 styles above. Those are not yet fonts. Each sin­gle font con­tains one of those 36 styles (or more or less, depend­ing on what the type­set­ter’s clients needs were) in sev­er­al point sizes: 5, 6, 7, 8 (busi­ness cards & foot­notes), 9, 10 (typ­i­cal book text), 11, 12 (larg­er book or print ad text), 14, 16, 18, 21, 24 (sub­heads), 27, 30, 36, 42, 48, 60, 72 (titling, approx. 1 inch). Let’s mul­ti­ply the var­i­ous styles list­ed above by all these sizes. That’s 36 styles X 20 = 720 fonts for just one type fam­i­ly (such as Trade Gothic). 

Add to that small caps, frac­tions, ding­bats (sym­bols), & spe­cial char­ac­ters for each style and size. 

But wait, wait, wait! That’s just one type family — there’s LOTS MORE!

Those 720 fonts are for just one type fam­i­ly. A large type­set­ting shop might have 30 or more type fam­i­lies (here’s a sam­pling from mid-​century, when agen­cies were in full swing with met­al type): Trade Goth­ic, Futu­ra, Gara­mond, Caslon, Bodoni, Chel­tenham, Coop­er, Hel­lenic, Craw Mod­ern, Bem­bo, Claren­don, Wal­bum, Kabel, Cop­per­plate Goth­ic, Tem­po, Kauf­man, Palace Script, Old Eng­lish, & many more. This was when type design was tru­ly pro­fes­sion­al, not the crap than any­body with a com­put­er can churn out today.

Some on this list have only 2 to 6 vari­a­tions, such as the scripts, & most type­set­ters wouldn’t have a com­plete fam­i­ly in all the sizes. So let’s take an aver­age of 20 fam­i­lies & mul­ti­ply that by a rea­son­able 12 styles & 16 sizes. You’re look­ing at 3,840 fonts (they came in lit­tle pack­ages wrapped in paper inside a card­board box) plus spe­cial char­ac­ters & wood type for titling. That’s a lot of inven­to­ry — with a job case draw­er for each font!

So when today’s design­ers use the word “font,” they’re only par­tial­ly right about what it used to mean way back when. (Way back when is also when you’d hear lots of curs­ing when a com­plet­ed gal­ley of hand-​set type “pied” — spilled onto the floor.) Today, “font” seems to refer to a type­style, peri­od, like “Hel­veti­ca.” But is still would be more accu­rate to spec out a “font” as Hel­vetic bold extend­ed. Maybe even include the point size if you’re that famil­iar with the medium.

It’s amaz­ing how sim­ple typog­ra­phy has become today — that is, select­ing “fonts” & not hav­ing to keep a phys­i­cal inven­to­ry. But it still takes tal­ent to choose the right type­styles, treat­ments, & sizes, not to men­tion a keen eye for prop­er kern­ing, track­ing & lead­ing. (Yes, more terms…for the pros.) Typog­ra­phy has always been my favorite type of art & design. My favorite type fam­i­lies are Micro­gram­ma & Craw Clarendon.

Production notes for #144 Meet & Greet:
Original size: 20x30 inches
Program: Adobe Photoshop
Font (text): Trade Gothic
Ampersand: hand-​lettered (with a Sharpie, of course)
Photograph: deposit​pho​tos​.com
Note: &” replaces “and” in most or all text, including quotations, headlines & titles.
You may repost the image & article. Please credit Amper​Art​.com.
To download a full-​size high-​resolution 11x17-​inch poster suitable for printing & framing, click on the image.

Chaz DeS­i­mone is the cre­ator of Amper­Art and own­er of Des­i­mone Design. He was adding ser­ifs to let­ters when he was just a lit­tle brat scrib­bling on walls. Now he’s a big brat and his entire career is design for clients who desire the most sophis­ti­cat­ed, log­i­cal, cap­ti­vat­ing cre­ative. Con­tact him at chaz@​desimonedesign.​com to dis­cuss your project, pick his brain, or just talk shop.

Chaz sez...

Who banned the ampersand?

Whoever thought up the syntax for Universal Resource Locators (URLs) was 100% coder & 0% copywriter. No foresight whatsoever. We can’t even use common punctuation in a URL except for the hyphen & underscore. It sure makes all the AmperArt URLs ugly & hard to understand—no ampersands allowed!
This is just one of the rants on my blog, chaz sez.
Rants & raves mostly about design, sometimes about the universe.
An occasional bit of useful advice.
Read the blog:

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