Versals & Typography


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The better a person understands software, the more flexibility there is when designing with typography especially when it comes to versals. According the Google’s dictionary, versals are the “oversized initial letters usually colored in red or blue and characterized by exaggerated curves, vertical strokes, and serifs (also called Lombardic Capitals). " To clarify, graphic designers not only have an oversized letter start out the body of text, but they make the text wrap around it too. Any given software tool can be the single answer to polishing up an awesome design. This is why graphic designers need to thoroughly understand the tools in which they work with. To get the desired professional look for their layouts, they have to thoroughly understand software tools first.

Graphic designers can learn from the stage play called “Lion King. " The play has unforgettable stunning colors and perfectly orchestrated choreography. Everything about the play was artistic and cleverly done. In addition, the music perfectly harmonized with the stage play too. Amazingly, layers and layers of information were presented harmoniously as the audience watched in admiration. From this, graphic designers can learn the importance of orchestrating and fine-tuning as they bring together all the required information for their layouts. In theory, it sounds easy, and if measuring the “Lion King" to the challenge of a layout, it is easy comparatively. At times, I wonder how I am going to organize my racing thoughts as I attempt to pull my projects together. But, I try to stay mentally organized by dividing up my ideas which helps me to organize my thoughts. Then, I methodically and strategically put it all together.

For instance, when starting a layout, I first try to pinpoint what my message is going to be and determine who is going to be my audience. Next, I start thinking about the design elements such as the heading and subheadings, the versal, graphics, and color scheme. Usually, the versal is one of the last design decisions I make for a layout. It seems that a versal to a layout is like the icing on the cake.

If you are not sure if you have made your versal correctly, show your layout to others or open up some books and magazines and make some comparisons. In fact, you should always solicit critiques and feedback from your peers. Everyone seems to see and interpret information differently, and artists should welcome feedback because of this. You’ll find with every versal you make, it’ll get easier. Nothing beats time and experience. (revised 2/14/2006)

Debbie Jensen,


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