Friday, September 5, 2008

IBM 2000 Annual Report

After browsing thru the AIGA Typographic Design Archives I chose the IBM 2000 Annual Report (see image on right). One reason why I think this piece is so beautiful is that the type is pure, clean and simple. The credits note that the designers used Jansen, however I’m wondering if this is a typo as the only typefaces I can find with a similar name are Janson and Jenson. In any case, I feel that it’s safe to say they may have used Adobe Jenson. Adobe Jenson was designed in 1995 by Robert Slimbach as his interpretation of Nicolas Jenson’s “first true Roman.” Jenson is classified as a humanist or old style typeface.

Following humanistic design, the layout boasts much white space. Paragraphs are broken down and sometimes even bulleted (see image 1 below), assisting your eyes in quickly scanning the type on the page. The layout is classic and reminiscent of Gutenberg’s 42-line bible. Two columns are centered on the page while type is justified on both left and right (see image 2 below). Diminuendo is used by starting off with larger typographic elements and gradually reducing in size as the viewer moves down the page (see images 3 and 4 below). The layout of the annual report is in the style of a book, telling the story of the previous year of IBM. Each “chapter” opens with a large illustration defining the theme of that chapter, much like a story book would (see image 5 below). From the images available on the AIGAs website, you can see that a strong grid is followed throughout, even when a larger image is thrown into the mix (see images 6 and 7 below).

Jenson was a great choice for the annual report because it lends itself to exceptional readability. It is a perfectly legible font with a classic feel, and allows the pages to exude a sense of lightness even when capital letters are used to create emphasis (see image 8 below).

Images of the IBM 2000 Annual Report were borrowed from the AIGA Design Archives.

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