A typographic opus from Smashing…
Alexandar Charchar put together a major statement on modern typography yesterday—written by Espen Brunborg called Respect Thy Typography. You need to read it.
Espen starts out with a strong statement of hope for me:
Good typography shouldn’t have to rely on ornamental crutches to stand tall. Yet despite all the tools and knowledge available to us, we readily embrace a flourishing, decorative typography, with cheap tricks used in a misguided attempt to make it “pop”. This ancient art may rapidly be gaining popularity, but are we paying it the respect it deserves?
I thought, “Maybe, we’ll even talk about communication!” Alas, that was not to be, except peripherally. However, it is good to see the aggressive portion of web typography take the issue seriously.
It will be a painful experience, of course—especially if you have a wide screen Mac like I do.
It runs around 15 words per line in a tiny serif font (Proxima Nova) on a page so cluttered with irrelevant graphic noise (advertising, mainly) that even finding the message in the clutter is quite a bit of work. But it is full of excellent illustrations (historically). No matter what you think of the content, you need to know what the world is thinking to communicate to it—even if you have no intention of ever being within it.
It’s an excellent historical nostalgia run through mainstream big apple intellectualism in type
But it is good stuff. You may disagree with much of it, but it needs to be part of your education. The idea of setting up Sagmeister as a modern master makes me a little nauseous, but then I’m hardly mainstream. Almost all of the historical references are to people I dislike. There’s no mention of Black, Brignall, Williams, French, Bringhurst, or any of the many others who have made a real difference in modern digital typography.
But it brings the discussion to people who need to hear it. It was a refreshing start to my day.
- Book Typography: Part Zero: The new book publishing paradigm (hackberry-fonts.com)