This multi-module assignment will exercise your design skills to create a sense of historical context for a typeface family.

Part One focuses on research.

the starter

Find and bring in three examples of beautifully designed TIMELINES, either in print or on the web. We’ll be discussing why they are or are not successful.




  1. Choose a typeface family that you love. It should be a robust, workhorse family that has multiple members and a distinct style/period. You should have access to the full type family to use in this assignment.
    Examples include Garamond, Helvetica, Bodoni, Didot, DIN, Futura, Univers, Avant Garde, Gotham, etc.
  2. Research the typeface family you chose. Prepare a PDF of your research to present to the rest of the class.
    This should include:

The period in which the typeface was created in its original and/or digital versions.
(For example, Garamond Premier Pro was created in 2005 by Robert Slimbach, but it is based on the type of Claude Garamond, created ca. 1500)

The name of the type designer and a biography of him/her, including where this typeface fits into his/her career and what he/she was trying to accomplish by creating it.

A description of what the font is intended to convey in its design and where it fits into design history. Does it now convey what it was originally intended to? Why/why not?

At least three visual examples of real-world usage (in branding, print, on the web, etc.).

Research the period and location of the original version of the typeface. What era was it? Did it have an overriding ethos or zeitgeist based on ideology based on its time and place?
(For example, the Age of Enlightenment, the Weimar Republic, The Glorious Revolution, The Industrial Age, The Belle Epoque, etc.)


  • You will be designing visuals for a timeline website based upon your typeface.
  • Decide on a concept for your timeline. You may base the timeline on the era in which the typeface was designed (recommended) or you may base the timeline on an era that the typeface design evokes for you. And you may base the timeline on one or more particular areas of interest. For example:
    • Ideological, Economic, Social and Political events and movements relevant to the country or location where the typeface was created.
    • Scientific or Technological advancements, inventions, and discoveries relevant to the country or location where the typeface was created.
    • Milestones in Visual Art, Design, and Fashion
    • Milestones in Music, Literature, and the Performing Arts
    • Milestones in Philosophy or Advancement of Thought.
  • Sketch out (either by hand or in Illustrator or InDesign), a rough timeline of that era. Show important events, milestones, and creations that defined that era specific to your concentration. You may present these as lists, in columns, or in any way you choose. This rough sketch doesn’t have to be complete or beautiful — it is simply there to organize your ideas and begin to visualize your timeline as a graphic piece. You should have at least 12-15 events on your timeline.

 A very rough sketch with some of the events I initially wanted to include.    Timeline 1

Philosophical Hermeneutics    Image result for rough historical timeline


  • Prepare all your research in a PDF called yourlastname_timeline01.pdf and drop it off in my dropbox at the beginning of the next module.This PDF should be beautifully designed in your typeface family, with excellent grouping, negative space, hierarchy, etc.
  • Examples of final versions of this project. (You will not be prototyping it like this until later on.):