Friday, November 27, 2009

DST Feature: Getting Creative with Type with Brian Tippetts

Editor's Note: The following article was previously published in the August 2009 issue of DST Insider, a publication of

A passion for type, and how it communicates and coveys emotion, led Brian Tippetts to create the book Get Creative with Type.

His book not only focuses on his passion, but also helps scrapbookers learn how to effectively use type within their layouts.

“[Type] quickly communicates the theme or concept of the layout and also creates a mood,” Tippetts explained. “Additionally, the stories are told and type helps convey the feelings in journaling.”

Tippetts believes Get Creative with Type is different from other scrapbooking books or on-line tutorials, in part, because of his experience using type as
a graphic artist.

“I have spent my entire career focusing on what type is out there and how it can help communicate to the reader,” he said. “The concepts and chapters in
Get Creative with Type are instruction on what typefaces to use and why, and cool things you can do with type.

“I also knew I wasn’t an expert of scrapbooking so I picked a number of talented scrapbookers that have an ability to use type well and together we have an amazing book on type.”

Thirteen scrapbooking artists, featuring a mix of hybrid, digital and paper, are featured within the book’s layouts.

“I wanted to have a wide range of talent, but most importantly, I wanted the most talented group of scrapbook designers that were already known for their use of type on layouts. Ali Edwards, Amanda Probst and Heidi Swapp are authors already and they are very talented with it comes to type use,” Tippetts said.

Other scrapbook artists, using hybrid and digital techniques, featured in the book include Jessica Sprague, Nicole LaRue and Deena Wuest.

“As the layouts were coming in for the book, I remember thinking that they surpassed my highest expectations and many times WOWed me,” Tippetts said.

Regardless of the method they use to build pages, Tippetts believes all scrapbookers can find ways to use the lessons in this book to enhance their layouts, because “type transcends the format or the way we pull together memories.”

To help readers explore the minds of the various designers featured within the book, Tippetts included a “Type Profile” section at the beginning, which asks each contributor two questions: What is your favorite font, and what font are you.

The style section is also fun, Tippetts said, because it provides a plethora of information for scrapbookers concerning the type options for a variety of ages.

“I want scrapbookers to come away feeling empowered to have fun with type,” Tippetts said. “Also, to have more appreciation for selecting appropriate type and using it well.”

A look at Type
Tippetts has a bit of advice for scrapbookers as they use type on their pages.

“The use of type on a layout can get out of hand very quickly,” Tippetts said. “I would encourage not to excessively use all caps or [a]ransom note style (mixed fonts).”

He suggests, scrapbookers limit their type to one to three typefaces per layout, and instead utilize the “family” of type styles, i.e. bold, italic, thin, condensed, etc.

“There are a ton of fonts out there and they don’t all have to be used,” Tippetts said. “Find those typefaces which reflect your personality and stick with them. I like to see consistent albums with similar typefaces to unify the whole package.”

Tippetts said his favorite journaling or clean title font is Gotham. For fun or “funky” layouts, he usually picks Feel Script or Cocktail Shaker – but his choices depend upon the feeling he wants to convey and the potential audience.

“I love seeing well executed type on a path,” Tippetts said. “Type that follows a specific shape, whether it be a circle, square, letter or numeral, can add dimension to a layout and a fun solution to a page.”

His favorite type artists include Neville Brody and David Carson, because of their innovative and experimental type treatments. He has found inspiration by font foundries like Adobe, Émigré, House Industries and Font Bureau.

“When I worked at the computer software company, WordPerfect, I was known as the ‘type guru’ and could identify any font that coworkers need to know,” Tippetts said. “It is fun for me to research and find typefaces that are used in advertising or elsewhere.

“I was also in charge of licensing fonts for use with WordPerfect software, so I was able to meet with many type designers and discuss the hard work and talent required to complete a typeface.”

More about Brian
Tippetts is, first and foremost, a selfdescribed family man.

“My family comes first, and I enjoy traveling and being with my wife and four kids. We love to play tennis, golf ride bikes, hike in the mountains, snowboard and many other outdoor activities,” he explained.

For the past 10 years, Tippetts has worked with Creating Keepsakes. Due to a recent acquisition by New Track Media Company, he is no longer the dditor-in-chief at Creating Keepsakes Magazine.

Tippits finds type inspiration in a variety of places.

“Just recently, Ford Motor Company ran some TV spots where type was animated and moving around the screen simultaneously with the cars and trucks,” Tippetts said. “It was very inspiring.”

Review: Get Creative with Type
I’ll admit it. I’ve been wondering if I should add Get Creative with Type to the growing piles of scrabooking books that line my bookshelves.

Ever since my college newspaper made the switch to digital publishing in 1992, I began to develop a life-long love affair with type styles.

While I’m not a self-described “type guru” like Brian Tippetts, I can spot a great serif or sans serif font in layouts or within an advertisement. I love figuring out what fonts are used where (thanks Brian for pointing out that Cocktail Shaker is one of the fonts used in the “new” Creating Keepsakes logo). I also love finding “font” combos that work well together.

So when my copy of Get Creative with Type arrived, I set it aside for a day when I could pursue the pages without interruption.

The 160-page book is filled with a variety of tips and tricks scrabookers can use to effectively use type within their layouts and projects.

In three sections: Design, Style and Cool Techniques, Tippetts and his guest designers, show scrapbookers the basics related to using type on any project, as well as the right techniques to bring out a variety of emotions.

I love the section at the beginning of the book which asks each designer about the fonts they love. I also love the nuggets of font information found within the pages, ranging from why a designer chose to use a specific font, to the lists of their top fonts for a specific theme.

I love looking at the projects within the book and seeing how different people use type as a design element. I might not try all of the tips or techniques, but like a painting in a museum, I can appreciate the artistic effort used to create the layout or project.

The bonus cd features a variety of fonts, printables, screensavers and type paths that digital and hybrid scrabookers alike will love.

Overall, I think Get Creative with Type has the possibility of becoming a “must-have” for a scrapbook library. Who knows, maybe it will inspire you to step out of your “type rut” and try something new. 

As a freelance journalist, I was provided a copy of "Get Creative with Type" by CK Media. This column/feature was not influenced by a free book - just in case you (or the FTC) were worried about ths detail.   


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