Type Specimen

Tues 11th/Wed 12th Oct

Brief: design a type specimen poster in InDesign


Allocated typeface: Palatino


Into typeface and designer


  • Old-style, serif
  • released in 1948
  • based on the humanist types of Italian Renaissance; names after the 16th century “Italian master” of Calligraphy, Giambasttista Palatino
  • Strong, open style
  • highly legible, easy to read
  • top 10 most used typeface

Designed by Hermann Zapf:

  • German typeface designer and calligrapher – died in 2015
  • Pioneer of computerised typography
  • Invented a typesetting programme Hz-program – later informed the design of Adobe InDesign
  • Served as a cartographer for German army during WW2 drawing maps of spain
  • Worked on many fonts: his favourite was Optima – used for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in Washington D.C.

Paragraph 1 (provide historical insight into designer of typeface)

Palatino was designed by Hermann Zapf, a German typeface designer and calligrapher. He worked on many fonts throughout his career, including his favourite Optima, that was chosen for the Vietnam Memorial Wall in Washington D.C. He was one of the pioneers of computerised typeface and invented a typesetting programme called Hz-program hat later informed the design of Adobe InDesign.

Paragraph 2 (info about the typeface itself – classification, why it was designed)

It is an old-style serif type, based on the humanist types of the Italian Renaissance. It was named after the “Italian master” of calligraphy Giambasttista Palatino. It is a strong, highly legible typeface and is thought to be in the top 10 most used typefaces in the world.

Paragraph 3 (discuss the context in which the typeface is used in)

Because of it’s easy to read nature, Palatino has developed into being used for newspapers, books and advertisements.





Typographic Posters



8 Inspiring Type Specimens


1) Lecture Poster by Brittany Mase

  • Informative poster
  • Bold, dynamic use of type ‘Optima’
  • I like the black and white with the red
  • The ‘i’ coloured in red acts as a centre point for the poster
  • Joining of the letters and the size of the ‘optima’ in the middle works as an image filing the page
  • minimal amount of information but tells you everything you need to know



  • Black, white and red – same colours of previous poster but obviously used in a completely different way
  • joining of letters, different compositions
  • I like the different weights of each letters and how the type is moved around to show movement – like its moving around in a circle
  • Informative poster: only info needed


3) Acapulco

  • Good combination of colour
  • Can see inspiration from Polish film posters
  • I like how the typography has be composed to form an image – act as a body for the illustrations
  • Complicated design but easy to read
  • Bold and fills the page


4) Deli Espresso Window Sign

  • Script, italic, descriptive, lettering
  • Lettering as ‘art’
  • Combination of different typefaces and hybrids
  • Really beautiful piece
  • Lots of components and busy piece but still easy to understand


5) Atelier D’Alives

  • Bold, bright
  • Fun and haunting at the same time – combination the yellow colour and a gun
  • Shocking, makes you think
  • Really informative and powerful in its use of imagery and bold words to portray the message



Author: ellenreiddesign

First year Graphic Communication student at Cardiff Metropolitan University.

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