By Nina J P Evans

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Famous Quotes from Type Designers

I hope you enjoy these typographic quotes! Please add others you like to the comments section.
  1. Proper understanding of what the different punctuation marks and other special characters do.
  2. Correct use of spacing. Kerning is important but wordspacing is by far the most important for good comprehension of text, this covers the space between the lines and the linebreaks. This is obviously absolutely fundamental too.
  3. A clear wayfinding system for titles, subheadings, page numbers, etc… that doesn't change and then confuse people.
  4. An understanding of the different technologies that the work will be used on.
  5. An understanding of the chaos or order that mixing font families and styles can create.
  6. This is problematic and seen as out of the scope of typographic education, but shouldn't be: Is the message worth saying? And do you believe it yourself? When I asked this once at college it was treated with contempt, but as part of typographic education… I think it should be the first thing you think about. ................................~ Jonathan Barnbrook  

“From all these experiences the most important thing I have learned is that legibility and beauty stand close together and that type design, in its restraint, should be only felt but not perceived by the reader.”
~ Adrian Frutiger

“The most popular typefaces are the easiest to read; their popularity has made them disappear from conscious cognition. It becomes imposssible to tell if they are easy to read because they are commonly used, or if they are commonly used because they are easy to read.”
~ Zuzanna Licko

“Designers provide ways into–and out of–the flood of words by breaking up text into pieces and offering shortcuts and alternate routes through masses of information. (…) Although many books define the purpose of typography as enhancing the readability of the written word, one of design's most humane function is, in actuality, to help readers avoid reading.”

~ Ellen Lupton
Thinking with Type

“A typeface is an alpahbet in a straightjacket.”
~ Alan Fletcher

“Look at historical reference, look at old type books, there are so many old typefaces that are no longer available. Resurrect old fonts that you wouldn't use ordinarily.”

~ Louise Fili

“Don't mistake legibility for communication.”

~ David Carson

“Typography is the craft of endowing human language with a durable visual form, and thus with an independent existence. Its heartwood is calligraphy – the dance, on a tiny stage, of the living, speaking hand – and its roots reach into living soil, though its branches may be hung each year with new machines. So long as the root lives, typography remains a source of true delight, true knowledge, true surprise.”


“By all means break the rules, and break them beautifully,
deliberately, and well.  That is one of the ends for which they exist.”

~ Robert Bringhurst

“When a type design is good it is not because each individual letter of the alphabet is perfect in form, but because there is a feeling of harmony and unbroken rhythm that runs through the whole design, each letter kin to every other and to all.”
~ Frederick Goudy
Tell Us About Type, Mr Goudy

“Typography has one plain duty before it and that is to convey information in writing. No argument or consideration can absolve typography from this duty. A printed work which cannot be read becomes a product without a purpose.”

“Typography has one plain duty before it and that is to convey information in writing.”

~ Emil Ruder

“Letters are things, not pictures of things.”
“There are now about as many different varieties of letters as there are different kinds of fools.”
Eric Gill

“Typographical design should perform optically what the speaker creates through voice and gesture of his thoughts.”

~ El Lizzitsky

“This then is the scribe’s direct purpose : the making of useful things legibly beautiful.”
Edward Johnston

“[Graphic Design is] the communication of information in an appropriate visual manner.”

~ Massimo Vignelli

“Typography needs to be audible. Typography needs to be felt. Typography needs to be experienced.”
~ Helmut Schmid

“The black space can never be beautiful until the white space is beautiful.”

~ Unknown Russian designer

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