Source of article The Litigation Consulting Report (A2L Consulting).

The other day, I noticed a New York Times obituary for Alan Peckolick, a graphic designer and illustrator known for his distinctive corporate logos and typeface designs. Peckolick championed “expressive typography.” He wrote a textbook called “Teaching Type to Talk.” He created General Motors’ “GM” logo, and letterforms for Mercedes-Benz, Pfizer and Revlon. In a 2015 interview, Peckolick explained that he conceived of “letterform as a piece of design. Cat is not ‘cat’ — it’s c-a-t. That’s what led to the beginning of the expressive topography.”

Peckolick belonged to a pioneering generation of designers who reinvented typeface as a form of art. They believed that, just as words convey literal dictionary meaning, so do they express figurative value through typeface and letterform.

In litigation graphics, imbuing words with depth of meaning and expression is mission-critical. Each letter counts. Each word must carry its own weight on the page. There simply is no space to waste. And in addition to practicing economy of language, we must elevate the appearance of words to convey essential meaning.

As a design blogger wrote:

Typography often provides that at-a-glance first impression that people gauge and judge the rest of the design by — so your font choices need to be purposeful and appropriate. Is your font saying “beach vacation” when it should be saying “job interview”? Do the elements of your font “outfit” clash, or do they complement each other? Are they effectively communicating the qualities you want to project?

Ask yourself, does the chart you are devising use an easy-to-read, unobtrusive typeface? Does the timeline have enough white space to let a juror follow it with her eyes? Does the font say “major patent issue worth hundreds of millions” or does it say “routine commercial dispute”? By power-packing words with multi-layers of meaning, we communicate at the highest level, allowing words not simply to “speak” in unison with graphics, but to come alive and leap off the page at the reader.

Other free A2L Consulting articles and resources related to graphic design, font usage, and persuasion tricks in litigation graphics include: