Better Type Mus' Come #2: Frozen Sound


II. Rhythm, Melody and Harmony

Sound — rhythm, melody and harmony — in print. El Lissitzky says a typography arrangement should achieve for the reader what voice tone conveys for the listener. The above video by Thomas Jean Theophile Wagner illustrates this well. Watch the video again, now with the volume off. Pause it every now and then. The type comes alive, not only through animation but also by its perceived sound tones — relevant to the image and idea in each still frame. Type as sound or frozen sound gives graphic designers, I think, the versatility needed to communicate and command content in the most interesting and engaging way possible. Think the legendary covers of designer Reid Miles for Blue Note Records. The sound of jazz cannot be separated from these covers. That to me is something powerful.


In our next lesson, I'll introduce you to the term vibration as it relates to typography and offer tips on a few technical things and a few exercises to get the ball rolling. 


I want to use type to enhance the meaning of the words, not contradict, ignore, obscure, or interrupt what's being said. My goal is to inject decisiveness; to show that these words know what they are saying.

— Susan Casey