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Thinking With Type

It is stressed that without movable type being created by Johannes Gutenberg, type could be drastically different today. He started a system that changed the world. Movable type made writing much faster, convenient and more reliable.

The return of historical typefaces today have to conform with “current times and technology” to be satisfactory in the area of sharpness and uniform shape. Some type styles that are brought back are based off metal punches or current drawings that are still around today. It is interesting to see that revived type can compete with modern day created type in the area of popularity. Different styles of type can be used to save either time or space. These could be either cursive or Italics. Type should be created with care and precision so it is appealing and easy to see. This can be related to the problem people had with John Baskerville’s font, which was sharp and narrow. It was said that this type style hurt peoples vision because it was too difficult to read.

Crystal Goblet

It is mentioned that one can use specific patterns in creating type so that the reader does not read a line more than once or mix words. this is important to note because it is a very common problem when it comes to reading type. One of the main ideas that Beatrice Warde states is that type conveys thoughts, ideas and images from one persons mind to another and printing is meant to convey specific and coherent ideas. That is the science of typography. She states this very well and it is a very true and excellent point to make. There is one area where Beatrice Warde states “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 declaration of the senses”. I don’t agree with this statement because I feel that a printed piece can be a work of art and still serve its initial purpose (whatever it may be). It does not mean that its first purpose is to only be shown as a piece of beauty.

The Timeless Way of Building

Patterns are everywhere. The patterns that occur in the world are created by us. These can come from patterns inside our minds and from when we imagine, conceive, create, build and just live in general. They can be abstract representations of the rules that we use to define patterns.

It is possible for a system of patterns to form a language. It can be a set of elements or symbols. It can just as well be a set of rules for combining the symbols.

Natural language contains: words, rules of grammar, and sentences.

Pattern language contains: patterns, patterns that connect other patterns, buildings and places.

The patterns of our time come from the pattern language we use. The patterns in each mind are evolving constantly as each persons experience grows. You can combine these patterns to create a new design.

A pattern language is a precise way of describing someone’s experience of building. The number of meaningless patterns is larger than the number of combinations that make sense.

Every single part of the environment is created by some part of a pattern language.

The Armature, the Grid, and Grid System

Typographers use two things while designing: a Typographic Element, and the space within and surrounding the element.

Armatures use deliberate placement and divided space to bind elements.

Grids bind elements with structure, but also with aid from visual rules that assist in dividing placement.

This organization of typography was started because of constructivism, more specifically: Dada and De Stijl.

The mathematical grid plans for the placement of elements in a design. This allows for specific placement of each pica, pixel or inch. Active areas contain elements, while support spaces designed between and around them fortify the elements.


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