Page 7 - January 2016
P. 7

(face) expressing an individualized      and appropriateness of the setting
character which the designer has         or arrangement of the typographic
designed into it. And unless you can     ensemble in relation to the type face.
develop a sympathetic understanding
of this character or “feeling” for the      The primal step in learning to
design of a type face, you will never    appraise type faces for their innate
experience the exhilarating joy of       character is to become intimately
creative typography.                     acquainted with them. How many
                                         of you can draw, even roughly, a
   Perhaps you will say that             Baskerville lowercase j, or a lowercase
Cheltenham Bold is not a beautiful       Caslon g ? A Bodoni capital H, a
form, or that Cooper Black is ugly.      Bookman capital Q ?
But I contend that they are beautiful,
beautiful in their own purpose              Why, you ask, should a typographer
for which they were intended. To         know these triÀes? They are not
clarify this let us de¿ne beautiful as   triÀes. These seemingly insigni¿cant
“artistically appropriate”. We begin     details “make” a type face. They give
to see now that if by beauty we mean     it character, just as a retrousse nose
appropriateness or ¿ttingness, and       or a Roman nose gives the human
not mere doll-face beauty, that many     face a de¿nite character. Perhaps for
things about us are, for the lack of     this reason we say “type face”; for
a better word, beautiful; or at least    by its face we recognise its essential
artistically appropriate.                character. Serifs, or the absence
                                         of serifs, Àat curves, round curves,
   A cow in a racing stable is a         elliptical curves, thin strokes, thick
disconcerting incongruity; but a         strokes, or extra heavy strokes,
peacefully grazing cow in a pleasant     medium contrasts, sharp contrasts
pastoral scene is indisputably           or extra sharp contrasts—all of these
appropriate. A negro mammy, no           are the eyes, ears, noses, mouths, and
matter how pleasantly she smiles,        heads of type faces.
among a group of chorus girls may
well appear ridiculous; but smiling         If you say a man is sharp, shrewd
over a batch of hot griddle cakes she    and parsimonious, I can ¿nd a type
becomes an entirely diɣerent person.     face that looks just like him. If he is
A polo player may be a glamorous         jolly, fat and good-natured, prim,
hero on the ¿eld; but his clothes        severe, digni¿ed, boisterous or
would mark him as a dawdler at a         Àippant, there is a type that typi¿es
board of directors’ meeting. These       him.
illustrations can be carried on
inde¿nitely. The point is that nearly       First then, the problem is to learn
everything is artistically appropriate   type faces, to really know them
in its own setting.                      as individuals, not as numbers or
                                         names so that when, actually, you
   Appropriateness therefore is          come to select a type face, you do
the key to artistry in typography.       not think of its name, but think of its
This appropriateness involves two        characteristics, its face.
things: appropriateness of the type
face itself in relation to its subject,     Begin, let us say, with the ¿ve faces
                                         with which you are most familiar.
                                         Compare the a of one face with the
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