The baseline is one of the foundations of legibility, allowing letters to be read in a flowing fashion along a horizontal line our minds construct. So how did type foundries keep a consistent baseline? They did not. At least for most of the first four and a half centuries of printing before industrial scale had fully set in and before standardization became keenly important as an element of efficiency and productivity. Read this fascinating article from Glenn Fleishman for more.
“I’m very fond of visual contemporary culture but always try to avoid trend,” explains graphic designer Matthieu Becker. With a particular interest in book design, the Paris-based graphic designer works mainly with artists, publishers and cultural institutions. Matthieu recalls how he “learned how to read forms and then how to add context to them”. In turn, this allows him to create a design language that is relevant and appropriate to the cause.
Pedro Arillia wrote this insightful article on using the right symbols in the right place: “We savour the silent sonority of words, the intimate rhythm of a sentence, the vibrant materialisation of language in black and white, and the stimulating arrangement of plumb soldiers. We both (you and me) are devoted lovers of the written word; and between us (you — the reader, and me — the writer) there is a vital link called typography”
Written words always exist within the three dimensions of the maker (the type designer), the user (the designer) and the consumer (the reader). But what does it mean to be a type-maker, -user or -consumer? How is language working anyway? Together with Dutch composer Jacq Palinckx and writer Kees ’t Hart, underwear visually expand an understanding of typography.
I have plugged Robin Rendle’s Adventures in Typography newsletter here before but (now in its 25th edition) I feel it bears repeating! Adventures in Typography is a (mostly) weekly love letter to the written word. Topics include: calligraphy, lettering, display type, micro type, books about fonts, type specimens, neon lights, posters, morse code, stamps, literature, web design, and books about seeds, the content is always thoughtful, engagingly written and full of visual delight.
From renaissance writing books to contemporary children’s books, the endeavor to form text into image is found throughout the Letterform Archive. Assistant Librarian, Kate Goad, brings these threads together in our latest collections feature, highlighting examples of shaped text that span centuries and formats.