Re: typeface to go with photographs of various kinds

From: Judy Seigel ^lt;[email protected]>
Date: 07/27/04-09:45:58 PM Z
Message-id: <>


Your argument is quite compelling, but the idea that there are faces I
*should* and *shouldn't* use is not one I'm prepared to accept on its
face. Unfortunately, I don't know enough about any of the ones you name to
argue about them, in fact most of them I don't know at all ! (Except I do
know Zapf Chancery -- YUCK !)

HOWEVER, to me it's like saying there are some colors or color
combinations that I shouldn't use and others that are approved, which is
ALSO a matter of style. Maybe crude, corny or camp looks better -- and
less a la mode. We used to draw with our left hand to make it look clumsy.

I also remember when a sans serif face was the latest greatest. Today I
tried to read a rather interesting art magazine out of England that had
text, TEXT mind you, in a white sans serif face on a tan ground. No one
on god's green earth could read that... too bad,it looked interesting. (I
remember my mother in the 1930s coming home after a fight with the
designers at Conde Nast, still steaming because they thought it was so
cool to put text in reverse -- but that at least was on black.

But I'm free associating, please excuse -- and I'm partly making your case
by saying there are some things you really really shouldn't do, -- but
that's if you want to be read.

You are saying there are some faces you shouldn't use because they're
inelegant, crude, or not "good." And I'm saying that could still be the
look I want. Like clumsy printing, or decayed letters, or... who was the
painter who used to burn holes in the shape of letters in his canvas ?

Of course (my mother also told me) designers don't actually READ the pages
they're laying out. And in the case of photographers adding text, I'd bet
they have it already so firmly in mind, they can't tell if it's readable
or not.

You say, "But choosing the world's current default typeface in a visual
arts context > declares to me, "I don't care." At this juncture in history
that will always> be the first and overwhelming message about such a
choice. "

And I say, not at all, it can also say I'm doing a riff on populism,
cliche, irony, whatever, and I don't feel the need to follow the current
"correct" style. !!!!! In fact (as I've said in another context), by the
time a style is accepted enough to be correct, it's already passe'.



On Tue, 27 Jul 2004, Jonathan Taylor wrote:

> on 7/27/04 12:28 AM, Judy Seigel at wrote:
>> On Mon, 26 Jul 2004, Jonathan Taylor wrote:
>>> ....Times is a special
>>> case; it's a competent design that IMHO should be obliterated and removed
>>> from all possibility of future use. Times was designed to be used in small
>>> sizes (9 & 10 pt) on low-quality bleed-prone newsprint. Outside of that
>>> context, it's bland and characterless.....
>> Times is boring and unbeautiful, but useful, sometimes necessary, which
>> may be why it survives.
>> When space was tight (as it usually was), I often tried the same copy in
>> different faces. Times was generally the most legible in the smallest
>> space -- letting me add leading, which, IME, does more for reading
>> ease than elegant letter shapes. Adobe Garamond is similarly space
>> saving (and prettier) --- but possibly too fine, depending on print
>> medium.
>> Offset printing has enough dot gain to save it, even when it looks faint
>> in the laser proof.
>> Judy
> But choosing the world's current default typeface in a visual arts context
> declares to me, "I don't care." At this juncture in history that will always
> be the first and overwhelming message about such a choice. In a visual arts
> context I find that unacceptable. My statement about obliterating Times was
> of course over blown. I should have added the qualifier, "in a visual arts
> context." :-)
> Certainly Times is a useful typeface, but there are _many_ other faces that
> could meet your requirements: Bell, Linotype Centennial, Excelsior, and
> Times Europa to name a few. Also, Minion and Garamond have nice condensed
> versions.
> Of course, most people probably don't own many of the fonts I listed. I
> guess that's really my underlying point. In a visual arts context I think it
> behooves the artist to go beyond the default-- which may well mean buying a
> new typeface.
> And sometimes we all get stuck using what we have. In that case leading,
> kerning, and line composition do become crucial. You make the best of what
> you've got, but for text that accompanies a show shouldn't we do better?
> jt
Received on Tue Jul 27 21:46:12 2004

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