After years of working with designers and printers it is refreshing to step into the world of Typography as a student of ‘Image & Text’. I have always believed that typography matters and truly appreciate the pondering and passion that has gone into the creation of a beautiful piece of work.
I lean towards the Tschichold viewpoint that typography is the ‘link between text and reader’ and is often an ‘unobtrusive art form’. You are not sure why the ‘work’ is beautiful, it just is. This beauty of course has been shaped by the work of engineers, scientists and artists who have created the world’s most popular fonts and considered elements such as leading, alignment, and kerning – giving us ‘Typography’ as we know today. Of course the digital age has opened a new chapter in typographic history with the concepts of ‘web typography’ an area I will write on again.
The history is as much about understanding skill and design as it is about political and cultural relevance. We owe much to the futurist movement and Italian writer Marinetti who lead the way for expressionism and called for a typographic revolution in 1909. Followed by the work of modernist Jan Tschichold (1928) one of the greatest designers of the 20th century who gave us Sabon and Garamond and a precision in typographic instruction unlike any other. You can see my attempt sum up the main points of Marinetti and Tschichold on the visuals below – part of my own learning process and a fun way to remember.
The importance of Typography is personified in Ruari McLean autobiography ‘True to Type’, a fascinating account of the development of typography as a profession and written in the most insightful and on occasion, humorous manner. In the last chapter McLean, quotes author Joseph Moxon (1683) who elegantly put it, typography matters because words should..
‘show graceful to the Eye, and pleasant in Reading
I also came across this wonderful video, presenting Tschichold work.