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The Design Center / Creative Networking / August: The Electric Web / September: Fonts, Type, Typography 

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September: talking about type

... for the 11th Annual Fall Fonts Festival

This month, DTG readers and subscribers of the Design Cafe share web links to everything to do with typography, type and fonts. The topic will continue through September for October as well, so keep those ideas, comments, suggestions and anecdotes coming!
      Although we didn't have many respondents this month, from the submissions we found these thoughtful and entertaining stories. BRAVO! Each of these will win a great prize from the Design Center.

The calligrapher is the servant

Jonathan writes:
      "Rudolph Koch said, "The calligrapher is the servant; the master is the text." The same concept applies to typography, typesetting, and page design. If the reader is overawed at how well the designer has expressed his own feelings, personality or agenda, the communication has failed. If the reader "constructs" their own personal meaning from the experience of engaging the design, without a clear image of the author's intended meaning, no true communication has occurred. We are called to be selfless servants of the text, to communicate the author's message with clarity and impact. Only through such humility can true nobility emerge."
[END QUOTE] Jonathan is a trainer in education from Racine, Wisconsin, USA

The cornerstone of communication

Kerrie writes:
      "Type and typography are the very cornerstone of communication. Each letter of our alphabet is awesome. I absolutely love fonts, type, typography and all things typographically related. I admit it, I'm a type junky. I even collect letters off of old signs. I'm one of the fading few who cringe at Old English or Brush Script in all caps, and believe it should be unlawful to force bold anything, but a nicely kerned word is a lovely thing, indeed.
      As a Graphic Design instructor at a technical school, I include font memorization in my coursework. Students even use flashcards for studying, and by the end of their program can spout off typefaces better than their multiplication tables!
      The best font on the red carpet last year was voted as Pythia. Oh yes, I'm in the cult of Mac, but do allow a few PCs in my room, but only because I have to. I use Quark and Adobe CS."
[END QUOTE] Kerrie is a trainer in education from Eustis, FL, USA

I was seduced by typography as a little kid

Joan writes:
      "This is a love story. I was seduced by typography as a little kid, only I didn't know it at the time.
      I was born with some vision problems and for the longest time, words on the page existed as dynamic, living shapes, circles and arcs, lines, textures and colors. Others used these shapes to "read" words. I couldn't figure out what they were doing, and secretly figured out how to memorize the shapes so that it looked like I was "reading" too. Eventually I got glasses and slowly began to view words more accurately. If I concentrated very hard, I could force the shapes into words and I could "read" them and understood them like others. When I couldn't hold the concentration, the calm, ordered page of predictable words would explode into shapes again, literally.
      Sometimes, I remember, the sight of it would take my breath away for a moment. I would then just space out and visually play with the shapes on the page, for long periods of time. The headache I acquired maintaining the ferocious concentration went away and I got lost in the pure joy of what I now know as creating art. The unique weakness in my eye muscles was no longer a "problem" but a tool to maneuver shapes, duplicate and overlap them, make them move across the page, make new arrangements. Different levels of light or the lack of it played a part and I could, to some extent, manipulate colors as well.
      This worked out well for several years. I must have looked like a real space cadet, but, I learned if I just kept quiet and turned in my homework, no one stopped me. I think the teachers and my parents were just glad that I could "read" at all. My vision eventually stabilized and I learned to "read" like others. It is no surprise I studied art, graphics and became bonkers about typography.
      Now, I teach at a university and community college. My main task in the typography modules of my classes is to help students understand typography as a potent communication tool. Having completed that I can't help myself but wax into realms of typography as sculpture, as drawing, as history, and, as an extraordinary form of art. So far, I haven't had any complaints.
      To this day, if the light is just so, and I am tired, and it is quiet, I can still turn an ordinary page of text into living shapes, circles and arcs, lines, textures and colors. It is a continuing joy."
[END QUOTE] Joan is a trainer in education from Arcata, CA USA

I love type.

Shandel writes:
      "I love type. I will be working with an non-profit organization, that has art activities in public parks, that needs a new identity. The first thing that came to my mind with their ID is the graphics like Paula Scher did for the Public Theater. I love that identity and would love to jump at the chance to do designs like that. My favorite typeface is Helvetica and its many varieties, second would be the Bodoni family for its elegance. Most of my logo designs are typebased. I rarely do any kind of illustration (bluntly because I'm not a good illustrator), but I can minipulate type to say what I mean.
The computer platform I work on is Mac X and favorite software ... of course Adobe Illustrator."
[END QUOTE] Shandel is a design professional from New York, NY

I abhor Comic Sans

Julie writes:
      "I abhor Comic Sans. The typeface looks as if it is supposed to resemble writing on an elementary school chalkboard, but there are a variety of other fonts out there that do a better job of looking like chalk-writing. That fact doesn't really make me hate Comic Sans, though. What makes me hate it is that unfortunately it's been loaded on most PCs, and that means that many, many people who don't think much about readability, design, etc., use it because it "looks cool." In very few uses I've seen is it an appropriate font for the job.
Might I mention that the last few recommendation letters I've asked supervisors to write were given to me in Comic Sans? Or that the last several rounds of employee handbooks in my institution were created using Comic Sans?"
[END QUOTE] Julie is a design professional from Black River Falls, WI, US

And, that about wraps it up for this month. See'ya next month -- and don't forget to participate in another upcoming topic in the Design Center

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