Re: typeface to go with photographs of various kinds

From: Judy Seigel ^lt;[email protected]>
Date: 07/25/04-09:31:39 PM Z
Message-id: <>

On Sun, 25 Jul 2004 wrote:

> Ryuji-- Bringhurst's book, "The elements of typographic style," is one
> of the definitive books out there, in my opinion. It's very complete,
> and very well argued. Anything anyone can say here is probably put much
> better by him in that volume. But, to suggest a few ways to think about
> it: 1. Readability: a familiar type face (Times, Garamond, Palatino, or
> Perpetua--faces books and newspapers are commonly set in) or a simple
> face (Optima, Univers--faces often used for signage and advertisement
> headings and brief passages) are often best.

A lot depends on how large the type face will be, how much of it there
will be, and how important it is that it be read. Artforum to the
contrary, sans serif faces are shown to be much harder to read as text
than serif faces.. tho it isn't clear whether Ryuji plans a serious body
of type, or a few lines on the order of a caption.

I've been through books on type, old and new, collections of prize winning
typographical designs, and so forth and so on (even had a long, long,
long-ago compulsory course in typography that nearly caused me to quit art
school), but none of the above offered the guide and inspiration, at least
for me, that I found in the typography of the New York Times Sunday

Sorry to be forced to mention the Times again, but its magazine layouts
are consistently readable, elegant, inventive and stylish. Of course my
ability to copy them for P-F was limited by my lack of white space, and
lack of color, not to mention experience & knowledge (I leave talent moot)
-- but it's also a full manual of smart examples, which the type sample
books so rarely provide. Plus, it's only $3.50 and you get the rest of the
Sunday paper free.

> 2. Overused type faces:
> Courier (a very typewriter-looking face), as well as the common "web"

I think it's not so much that Courier is overused, as that it's not good
for laser/digital printing. I've found it charming from an actual old
typewriter, where the hump of the p, for instance, could be clogged,
making a dot on the page, the pressure of the hand is uneven, so the type
varies, and the letters also can hit at different heights -- for years I
kept my old Smith Corona going for the occasional title to incorporate in
a print, but in *digital* Courier, the lines of the characters are too
thin to be legible (and making it bold face makes it look even more
mechanical), and so regular they look palpably phony.

I've seen versions that fake the irregularity of a typewriter -- a
definite improvement but NG for a lot of text to be read, in fact raising
the possibility of the type "design" drowning out the photograph... or
being smarter (or too much dumber) than the picture.

Received on Sun Jul 25 21:31:48 2004

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