visualgui

Nikkels on Design & Typography

Walter Nikkels, Depicted:

When a design is good, it objectifies seeing, it takes a distance from its maker, the design takes on a natural character, as though it had always been there. Conversely, when the design has not been entirely successful, it remains your design, in its failure to succeed completely remains incomplete, as it were, and does not want to separate itself from its maker. (He then becomes a culprit rather than a designer).

Nikkels (p.13):

Typography is the backbone of graphic design. Virtually all specific tasks you deal with as a graphic designer were formulated in the history of book design. Typography is to graphic design what painting is to the visual arts: the top number. Beyond that I see two conceptual trends in history of typography: interpretive typography, which analyses the content and attempts to response to its design, and autonomous typography, which considers interpretation nonsense. According to the this second trend, typography should refer to itself.

Nikkels (p.21):

As a young designer I noticed that modernist typography is easier to learn than classical typography, because its structure and decision process can be easily and objectively described, like in a schoolbook. Classical typography is tricky; it is a web of optical corrections. It requires a long training in looking and thinking.

Nikkels (p.30):

Typography is nothing but representation and dignity. Unlike many of my younger colleagues I try to deal with images with an ethic and aesthetic derived from typography, rather than the other way around. Typography is concerned with the logic of reading, including the reading of images. A book is a narrative, a sequence of pages. The images too have to be narrated in a book. Displayed in a logical way and plausible way. Narration and display come together, related to each other. The illustration can be narrated and the text can be displayed. In my work the only thing that matters is the dignity with which this takes place.

Nikkels (p.59):

Typography is a discipline of silence. Now and again it tries to be noisy, but that is almost always bound to fail, unless the loudness is called for, for example, a poster and sometimes in advertising.

Nikkels (p.62):

The typography, the treatment of the text.

Nikkels (p.180):

In the theory of typography, the intercharacter spacing and the interword spacing are considered essential for the quality of a text as a visual structure. That though is based on the classical canon of mutually harmonious relations between measurements and spacing.

Harold Evans on Readability

Harold Evans, Do I Make Myself Clear?, (p.39):

Readability isn’t a literary or legibility issue. It’s a dispassionate, objective measure of whether a selection of words and sentences will be understood by the intended audience. Comprehension comes before enjoyment; you can’t be gripped if you can’t follow the narrative.

DJR on Designing Diacritics

David Jonathan Ross:

Typeface design is inherently multicultural.

In his ATypI 2017 presentation titled, “How NOT to Draw Accents,” David Jonathan Ross shares his approach to design diacritical marks. It’s an honest, inspiring talk and I hope more type designers will join him on this journey.

One of David’s methods of studying accents is traveling and looking at signages. My only concern with Vietnamese signages (both in the U.S. and Vietnam) is that most of accents were not part of the typeface. Because accents were added in afterward, they often appeared to be filling in, especially when the space of the signage is limited. One of my goals for Vietnamese Typography, which David mentioned in his talk, is to solve this issue.

I had the pleasure of working with David on Vietnamese accent for his fantastic Fit and I have been thrilled to see his monthly typefaces support Vietnamese. If you have not joined his Font of the Month Club, you are missing out. Six bucks for a display typeface that supports multiple languages is a steal. Even if you are a student in graphic design, it is a worthwhile investment to expand your type collection. Don’t limit yourself to Helvetica, Akzidenz-Grotesk, and Roboto.

Stössinger On Making Good Type

Nina Stössinger:

When fonts work well and their design effectively conveys a brand’s voice, they can be a fantastically powerful tool. They can carry emotion. They can be very specific in how they feel and specific, too, in how they behave, in how they work across media, formats, sizes, and usage scenarios. But making good type is hard and takes time and care, and evaluating and describing it is also hard, and we can’t afford to skip that part.

Should Print Design Principles Apply to the Web?

Jan Middendorp, Shaping Text, (p.36):

Yes and no. Much works differently on the web, yet the basic principles of classic and modern (typo-)graphic design have not become worthless. Proven guidelines for good layout and typography are still relevant, but they must be applied intelligently and adapted to the new environment.

Middendorp on Reading Skill

Jan Middendorp, Shaping Text, (p.12):

Not only is reading one of the most fascinating human skills, in our society it is also a vital one. People who have difficulty reading—a newspaper, a warning sign, a letter for the tax authorities—are socially vulnerable and more likely to get into trouble.

Sounds like the forty-fifth president.

Unger on the Essence of Reading

Gerard Unger, While You Are Reading:

The printed letters dissolve in your mind like an effervescent pill in a glass of water. For a short moment, all those black signs disappear off the stage, change their outfits, and return as ideas, as representations, and sometimes even as real images and sounds.

Rendle on the Futures of Typography

Robin Rendle on the nature of the web:

[T]he web will always be a wild and finicky canvas for us to work with; we’ll have to be creative in the ways that we help older browsers that don’t support these features. So although I don’t believe that the web hates beautiful typography, there certainly is a tension between the web and the old typography, where control over every element on the page was relatively easy and absolute.

Rendle on accessibility:

What about accessibility and the preservation of the text? Making sure that everyone can simply read the text in every browser is more important than just about any typographic flourish that we can implement. And so with that in mind, whenever we stumble over a new feature for the web we have to question whether it will truly improve the reading experience.

He concludes:

There are infinite futures of typography, and the opportunities only expand when new browsers, new features, new devices become available to us. All that’s required is a little patience and a healthy dose of curiosity.

Loxley on Type and Communication

Simon Loxley, Type is Beautiful, (p.2):

Typefaces communicate moods and feelings: some are considered elegant or refined, while others seem bold, radical or whimsical. Typefaces can reflect the fashions or the zeitgeist of an era, often to a surprising degree. Some typefaces were created for a specific purpose. Some are easy to read and draw little attention to themselves; others are meant to grab your attention, but only for the purpose of a few words. Which font is chosen for any given communication matters a great deal, since it conveys a whole world of meaning, both blatant and subliminal, and much time, thought and money continue to be spent to try to get it right.