Thursday, October 20, 2005

Chapter 9: There is no bad type

Two hundred years ago, copperplate engraving changed thelook of typefaces, as did all subsequent technologies: the pantograph, Monotype and Linotype machines, phototypesetting, digital bitmaps and outline fonts.
This is an example of a Monotype machine

The creation of the neon sign brought letter styles to a new level. It influenced graphic design, and people have spent a lot of time airbrushing a glow of light around curved, tubular letters. Like other graphic manipulations, achieving neon effects has become much easier with drawing and painting programs available on the computer, especially in Photoshop, (Effects-Glow/Neon).

With technology changing, Email notwithstanding, the letter is still the most common style of formal business communication. Letterheads make the first impression, and so are frequently printed on fine, heavy paper in several colors, sometimes with blind embossing or mock steel engraving. Today outline fonts can emulate any shape imaginable, if not necessarily desirable; they can equal and even improve upoon every aesthetic and technical refinement ever dreamed of or achieved. Apart from the typefaces that work well because we are familar with them, there are those that defy the simplistic classifications of usefulness or purpose. They may exist only because the type designer's first thought one morning was a new letter shape. These private artistic expressions may not appeal to a wide audience, but every now and again the right singer effortlessly transforms a simple song into a great hit. There are typographic gems hidden in today's specimen books just waiting to be discovered. In the right hands, technical constraints turn into celebrations of simplicity, and awkward alphabets are typographic hereos for a day.
There is no bad type.


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