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Sep 15 / Brandon Fredericksen

Ellen Lupton’s Type Crimes

Crime 1 – Horizontal and Vertical Scaling. “The proportions of the letters have been digitally distorted in order to create wider or narrower letters.”

Crime 2 – “Some typefaces that work well at large sizes look too fragile when reduced.”

Crime 3 – Pseudo Italics. “Italics are not slanted letters. The wide, ungainly forms of these mechanically skewed letters look forced and unnatural.”

Crime 4 – “Uneven spacing between lowercase and uppercase letters, when the uppercase has no descenders.”

Crime 5 – Pseudo Small Caps. “Shrunken versions of full-size caps. These automatically generated characters look puny and starved; they are an abomination against nature.”

Crime 6 – “Squeezing text to fit other lines of text, while they do not mix together.”

Crime 7 – “Using similar type styles while trying to contrast two ideas.”

Crime 8 – “Quotation marks carve out chunks of white space from the edge of the text. Hanging quotation marks make a clean edge by pushing the quotation marks into the margin.”

Crime 9 –  “Big cities use a variety of commercial signs that are fraught with typographic misdoings.”

Crime 10 – Tightly Tracked Text . “Letters are tracked too close for comfort.”

Crime 11 – Tracking Lowercase Letters. “Loosely spaced lowercase letters – especially italics – look awkward because these characters are designed to sit closely together on a line.”

Crime 12 – “Auto spacing often makes uneven looking effects.”

Crime 13 – Poorly Shaped Text Block. “In most uses, centered text should be broken into phrases with a variety of long and short lines.”

Crime 14 – Full of Holes. “A column that is too narrow is full of gaps.”

Crime 15 – Bad Rag. “An ugly wedge shape spoils the ragged edge.”

Crime 16 – Punctuation Eats the Edge. “Excessive punctuation can ruin a clean edge.”

Crime 17 – Stacking lowercase letters.

Crime 18 – Too Many Signals. “Using paragraph spacing and indents together squanders space and gives the text block a flabby, indefinite shape. Using too many styles, such as bold, italic, and underlines, can be replaced by using just one of the few.”

Crime 20 – Data Prison. “The rules and boxes used in data tables should illuminate the relationships among data, not trap each entry inside a heavily guarded cell.”


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One Comment

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  1. Renee Sandoval / Dec 4 2013

    Thanks for sharing such a comprehensive list of type crimes. Although we were each assigned to explore and photograph a small number of type crimes throughout our immediate surroundings, I had a hard time finding a large variety. I appreciate the fact the you went out of your way to describe so many different problematic elements.

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