Question of type choice for scholarship letter?

Byron's picture

I wrote my application letter for a scholarship and set it in Electra. My teacher says I should choose Helvetica or a classic serif like Baskerville or Garamond.

Audience is GDC.

Any thoughts?

bojev's picture

From Adobe's fact sheet on Electra:

Designed in 1935 by William Addison Dwiggins, Electra has been a standard book typeface since its release because of its evenness of design and high legibility. In the specimen book for Electra, Dwiggins himself points out the type’s identifying characteristics: “The weighted top serifs of the straight letters of the lower case: that is a thing that occurs when you are making formal letters with a pen, writing quickly. And the flat way the curves get away from the straight stems: that is a speed product.” Electra is not only a fine text face but is equally responsive when set at display sizes, realizing Dwiggins’ intent when he set about the design: “...if you don’t get your type warm it will be just a smooth, commonplace, third-rate piece of good machine technique, no use at all for setting down warm human ideas, just a box full of rivets.... I’d like to make it warm, so full of blood and personality that it would jump at you.”

Sounds OK to me!

blank's picture

Electra is a better choice than Baskerville, which isn’t something most people want to read coming out of a laser/inkjet.

Byron's picture

Thanks for the input all!

Byron's picture

My instructor maintains that the letter is "coming along... except for the type face"
However, she does not tell me why?

Can someone please tell me why!??

Jackson's picture

It seems like the problem is that she noticed the typeface to begin with.

Byron's picture

Good call jackson,

she is the typography teacher... she has been telling all those who enter to “use Helvetica or a classic serif like Baskerville or Garamond.”

I know she has a list of safe typefaces she hands out and Electra is not on it.

Do you have an alternate suggestion?

The panel of judges are working designers and design educators.

Jackson's picture

I like to set things that shouldn't appear designed in Hoefler Txt.

thranduil's picture

she has been telling all those who enter to “use Helvetica or a classic serif like Baskerville or Garamond.”
Is that snobbery or what? It's either that they require Helvetica, Baskerville, or Garamond, or people just use them frequently. I know some people who use Helvetica almost all the time, all caps-no tracking-condensed or all lowercase, light. It's like the coolness bandwagon or something.

Byron's picture

jackson, I will print it out in Hoefler Txt and see how it works.

Josef, I think you hit the nail on the head. I asked in an email if she thought it was inappropriate to use Electra, her reply in its entirety was “YES. ach.”

Oh well, only 2 or so more years with that.


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