“Wouldn’t it be interesting if there was only one typeface in the world? Designers would really have to think about the idea behind their designs instead of covering it up with fancy typefaces. One, universal typeface would really strip away all the flashy emptiness in design. And, of course, that one typeface would have to be Helvetica.”—Erik Kessels
So I’ve just started studying a new module on typography and it has already become apparent that I know very little. Obviously it’s a way of communicating, writing and informing. But I don’t think I appreciated the complexity of the discipline. I never even properly considered how we got to how we are relating to type. Before the press was invented, monks would hand copy versions of the bible, word for word. The idea of people doing that today is just unthinkable. We live in this mental all consuming, super fast society and we never have any time, or whatever. Can you imagine a room full of people copying books out by hand? Not likely. The invention of the press meant that we could print books quickly and they were more readily available for people who learnt to read, which essentially, meant that everyone could be educated. That’s insane.
Even right in front of me, for example, how many typefaces are installed on my Macbook? And how many more are readily available? They’re easy to obtain, easy to change and they’re easy to use. The written information that we’re fed on a daily basis has all been designed. I thought that I appreciated things like that but I don’t think that I considered them on a deep enough level.
At the moment I’m definitely just accepting type and not really questioning it. Even in the first lecture, my lecturer brought up the idea of why our letterforms look like they do. I’ve never even really thought about it. I thought that I was decent with type just because I’m alright at placing it within design and that I can pick and choose between different faces for my work and stuff like that but I’m not at all. Principles of typography, bring it.