Type & Typography

“Typography cannot be faked. It is either clear, interpretive of the content, and appropriate to its message, or it is a random treatment that only superficially looks daring and current.”

Type is the element that separates graphic design from any other artistic pursuit. Great typography has both great form and clarity of meaning: type must convey content. However, great form without clarity has no purpose; and clarity of content without great form is visual oatmeal. A perfect balance must be achieved, or at least attempted.

The most magnificent attribute of type is that it has depth of perfection: I have never met a typographer who claims to have mastered it. Because it is so hard to hit perfection every time, typography also tends to have humble practitioners.

It is said typography is 90% spacing and only 10% letterforms. That puts the responsibility for good typography squarely on the shoulders of type users. But the little black shapes do matter, after all. I have designed over two dozen typefaces. Two have received recognition in the Type Directors Club’s global typeface competitions: Menhart Manuscript Antikva and Preissigova Antikva.

I served for twelve years on the board of directors of the Type Directors Club. After being elected President and then shuffled into the Chairmanship (far left), I was retired, as are all executive committee members in due course. One of the highlights of my TDC tenure was being asked to serve in 2003 as the jury chairman of TDC’s global type competition, TDC49.