Skip to content

Wayne State University

Aim Higher

Beatrice Warde – The Crystal Goblet

During the execution of Project 5, we had to read an excerpt of Beatrice Warde’s The Crystal Goblet, which has been praised as one of the most important essays on the topic of typography and graphic design. Warde draws heavily on a central metaphor in her essay; stating that clarity in print as a vehicle to deliver information is as important as a wine goblet being made of crystal, so as not to interfere with the taste and aroma of wine. The following is a portion of Warde’s essay that I found especially interesting:

“…We may say, therefore, that printing may be delightful for many reasons, but that it is important, first and foremost, as a means of doing something. That is why it is mischievous to call any printed piece a work of art, especially fine art: because that would imply that its first purpose was to exist as an expression of beauty for its own sake and for the delectation of the sense. Calligraphy can almost be considered a fine art nowadays, because its primary economic and educational purpose has been taken away; but printing in English will not qualify as an art until the present English language no longer conveys ideas to future generations, and until printing itself hands its usefulness to some yet unimagined successor.”

In reading this essay, I thought of this image I saw somewhere before. I think Ms. Warde would agree.

A Window of Words

Posted by Kathryn on March 31, 2013
1 Comment
  1. 04/1/2013
    Lauren

    I think that haiku is almost verbatim Warde’s statement on the topic of book covers. Of course it applies to all typography. Makes me wonder of this was done by one of McCafferty’s old groups of students from Toronto.

Comments are closed.