Famous Quotes from Type Designers

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Jim Rimmer's picture
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"If you like what you do, and you’re lucky enough to be good at it, do it for that reason."

Phil Grimshaw

Chris Lozos's picture
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"Bring back the old Typophile"
-- Sergej

ChrisL

Andrea Emery's picture
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I found this in David Jury's About Face: Reviving the rules of Typography, 2004. It's an anonymous quote and not really about typefaces per se, but I thought you'd enjoy it nonetheless:

Eye halve a spelling chequer
It came with my pea sea
It plainly marques four my revue
Miss steaks eye kin knot sea.
Eye strike a quay and type a word
And weight four it too say
Weather eye yam wrong or write
It shows me strait a weigh.
As soo as a mist ache is maid
It nose bee fore two long
And eye can put the era rite
Its rare lee ever wrong.
Eye have rune this poem threw it
I am shore yore pleased two no
its letter perfect awl the weigh
My chequer tolled me so.

Sarah Koz's picture
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"…a work of art, i.e. a thing made by a man who, however laughable it may seem to men of business, loves God and does what he likes, who serves his fellow men because he is wrapped up in serving God — to whom the service of God is so commonplace that it is as much bad form to mention it as among men of business it is bad form to mention profits."

"I think it is generally agreed that picture writing was the beginning of our lettering. You might wish to communicate something to someone at a distance. If you have no letters or none common both to you & your correspondent, what else can you do but draw a picture? — the language of pictures is common to all. After a time your pictures are used to signify words and not simply things, and as the system develops and communications become more precise, the pictures become simpler and simpler, more & more conventional, and they come to signify single sounds rather than whole words. And the pictures, by now, have ceased to be pictures. They are, by now, hardly recognizable as representations of things: they are conventional signs, & their pictorial origin is forgotten."

–Eric Gill, An Essay on Typography, 1936

Vincent Connare's picture
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"A typeface is an alpahbet in a straightjacket"
- Alan Fletcher

William Berkson's picture
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I think this is from "Letters of Credit" by [[Walter Tracy]], but I can't put my hand on it at the moment:

"A great typeface is not a collection of beautiful letters, but a beautiful collection of letters."

Tina Parker's picture
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I think Matthew Carter said that (Logo, Font & Lettering Bible)

Norbert Florendo's picture
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William, do you have a copy of Walter Tracy's "Letters of Credit"?
If not, I can check the quote this evening at home.

--------------------------------------------------
Yes, I'm old, but I'm back in style!

William Berkson's picture
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Norbert, I have it, but I seem to have misplaced it (arrrrghh! as Charlie Brown used to say).

William Berkson's picture
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My copy of [[Leslie Cabarga]]'s 'Bible' is to hand. On p. 200 the quote from [[Matthew Carter]] is

"As the saying goes, type is a beautiful group of letters, not a group of beautiful letters."

So Carter felt he was quoting someone else. Maybe Tracy?

Laurence Penney's picture
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“You can do a good ad without good typography, but you can't do a great ad without good typography.”
[[Herb Lubalin]]

Source:
Herb Lubalin obituary, Baseline issue four, TSI Typographic Systems International Limited, 1981

Hrant H Papazian's picture
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You have pre-#10 issues of Baseline?!

hhp

Laurence Penney's picture
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This one was £2 at the Bristol Book Barn. It has only 20 pages but every article is very readable today. Excellent short pieces on New Johnston, Renault, Usherwood's Caxton, Baskerville and Adrian Frutiger. (I give out that Book Barn link reluctantly. On the road to Bath, it is a kind of purgatory for books: a cold, depressing place with free instant coffee. But you have to check it every now and then.)

David Berlow's picture
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type is a beautiful group of letters, not a group of beautiful letters = Tracy

Laurence Penney's picture
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"From an early age he loved letters in the literal rather than literary sense."
Timothy Rogers, writing of Will Carter

"It is a rarer gift to lay words out properly than to write them"
Nicholas Barker, writing of Will Carter

"The seventies were my fattest decade. Overall I think the seventies were distinctly bulbous. People looked chunky, typefaces were rounded, writing implements penile."
Will Self

Norbert Florendo's picture
Joined: 9 Jun 2005 - 2:21pm
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There is a distinct advantage in being a practising typographer when it comes to deciding on a new typeface design. There seems little sense in designing faces that will not be profitable for the typesetter and it happens too often that designers tend to go down just one path as opposed to designing the variety of faces needed to ensure a good mix. As a result, their designs tend to look too much like each other.

Les Usherwood
Article on release of TSI Caxton (pages 6 -- 9)
Baseline, International Typographics Magazine, Issue four

Oddly enough, I also have a copy of Baseline issue four. Somehow it managed to survive in my old files.

--------------------------------------------
Yes, I'm old, but I found my Baseline!

Vincent Connare's picture
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Hello
My name is German Bold Italic
I am a type face
Which you have never heard before
Which you have never seen before
I can compliment you well
Especially in red
Extremely in green
Maybe in blue blue blue

You will like my sense of style
You will like my sense of style

I fit like a glove - ooh!

Gut ja!
Gut ja!

-Kylie Minogue (said it sung it)

Nick Shinn's picture
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Kylie? I thought it was Towa Tei.

Nick Shinn's picture
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>As a result, their designs tend to look too much like each other.

That's a bit bizarre, coming from Les. He would go on to reuse the same skeleton a lot, doing different serif treatments, etc. After all, that's a productive, profitable way to work.

But he was right in a sense, in that if his AD clients liked the way Flange set, they would also like a version of it with more substantial serifs, or more contrast.

Vincent Connare's picture
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Kylie sang it. towa tei wrote it.

Vincent Connare's picture
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Kylie sang it so she said it. Towa Tei wrote it

Vincent Connare's picture
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http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/4654077.stm

a quote from a polititian but worth a look it's got ligatures and long s's ....

Andrea Emery's picture
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Will Burtin, in the Foreword to Ben Rosen's 1963 Type and Typography: The Designer's Type Book, says "Each typeface is a piece of history, like a chip in a mosaic that depicts the development of human communication. Each typeface is also a visual record of the person who created it — his skill as a designer, his philosophy as an artist, his feeling for... the details of each letter and the resulting impressions of an alphabet or a text line."

Robert Fripp's picture
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And I'm grateful that Will Burtin imported Helvetica to North America in 1958, just a year after Max Miedinger developed it in Zurich. What a super font. Where would we be without it?

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And I'm grateful that Will Burtin imported Helvetica to North America in 1958, just a year after Max Miedinger developed it in Zurich. What a super font. Where would we be without it?

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"La gracia en tipografía surge espontáneamente cuando el tipógrafo pone un poco de amor en su trabajo. Quien no ame su trabajo no puede esperar que le guste a los demás."

-- Jan Tschichold

"¿Piensas en letras o las letras te hacen pensar?"

-- odafonts

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Ok, I'm sure this issue is tired, i just remembered where i found the 'shagging sheep' comment.

http://www.spiekermann.com/iblog/C1109747452/index.html

This is where I got my info. Go fig.

Bonus Question.
Were you really told to “stop stealing sheep,” or is that a watered down version of what was said for letter-spacing all caps?
frederick goudy said that "men who would letterspace lower case would shag sheep', as that was (and is) considered a cardinal sin by typographers. Letterspacing caps, however, is done and should be done generously.

Tim Daly's picture
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Strange that this should appear beneath a suggestion to track out copy set in less than 12pt.
Tim

Norbert Florendo's picture
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In Erik's book Stop Stealing Sheep & find out how type works,
he admits to not knowing Goudy's exact wording, but that "it makes infinite sense" regardless of wording.

So let's not take Erik's versions as historically accurate, just rhetorical.

When Mr. Goudy made his statement, he obvioulsy knew it was a faux pas since apologized profusely by saying he says that about everything!

IMHO, the "blackletter" and "steal sheep" version seemed more likely since he was being presented an award (certificate with blackletter?) at a public forum.

Also, IMHO, "shag sheep" seems to be more of Welsh origin, and Goudy was American born and bred, so if he did ever used the term "shag," he more than likely got it from his father who probably told young Frederic to stop shagging sheep ;)

Joe Pemberton's picture
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In 1998 our class was visiting [[Jonathan Hoefler|Jonathan Hoefler's]] studio. I can't say this is a quote, more of a paraphrase, but it made the right impact at the time! (I'll try not to mess it up...)

Student's Question: "What do you think of experimental typography?"

Jonathan's answer: "People think they can open Helvetica and just f*** with the points and call it experimental. That's not experimental."

William Berkson's picture
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At Typecon, Mario Feliciano said to me this lovely variation on Walter Tracy's quote:

"You want beautiful words, not beautiful letters."

Ben Archer's picture
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Aha! I knew I had one somewhere... only snag is that it's not actually from a type designer.

"Typography fostered the modern idea of individuality, but it destroyed the medieval sense of community and integration."

Neil Postman, in 'Amusing Ourselves To Death' 1985, as quoted in the introduction to Lewis Blackwell's '20th century type (remix)'

Peter Enneson's picture
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Tiffany, where is this going? is it still relevant to add things here? do the quotes have to be from practicing type designers? is the 'why' out yet? are you getting what you're looking for?

Wadim Kahlkopf's picture
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A bit away from this topic (I`m not font designer), but I found my own quote in my designmagazin published online for about 6 years funny.
I must have been drunk as I that wrote:

http://www.kahlkopf.com/files/typographie.gif

Translated from german:

Typografie is the true kickass, believe me. It makes you crazy and compliant again and again. It plays "cat and mouse" game with you.
It, the science for itself, inspires you with its ability to transplantation and transfusion the thoughts. It never leaves you in the pass...

Gerald Lange's picture
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Since there are several traditional ways to create emphasis with blackletter, including letterspacing, second color, substitution of a roman font, and, given the date of the award, 1936, my understanding is that Goudy's comment had to do with the growing anti-German sentiments of the time period.

Gerald

Gerald Lange's picture
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A further note regarding the possibility that Goudy's now infamous quote was at the time a slur on Germany made as a point for engaging his audience; this culled from The Book Collector's Packet of 1939. A boycott on "Nazi-made types" was undertaken in the U.S. by the Graphic Arts Forum, "a group of democratically minded graphic arts and advertising people." The banned typefaces included Bauer Bodoni, Bernhard Modern, Eve, Futura, Kabel, Neuland, Trafton, and Weiss.

Gerald

Jem's picture
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All typefaces are historical.
Jonathan Hoefler

Eric West's picture
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Quoting Leslie Cabarga from his Logo Font and Lettering Bible

"...Matthew Carter's Big Caslon is so scrumptious, I want to lick it. "

pg. 201

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and from another Cabarga book, i think this one by Sumner Stone should become a classic:

"My ways are many. All mysterious. I have said too much already."
(Learn FontLab Fast, p. 9)

erik spiekermann's picture
Joined: 9 Dec 2001 - 9:28pm
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“Men who would letterspace blackletter would shag sheep” - Frederick Goudy

That is the correct quote. E. Ginger did the research for "Stop Stealing Sheep", and she actually spoke to an old lady who had been to the event and heard Goudy say the "s" word. Patrick Ames, then publisher for Adobe Press, loved the quote, suggested it as the title for the book and changed it, for obvious reasons. The book was intended for typographic novices, and those were obviously not deemed grown-up enough for real four letter words. I always thought the titel way too obscure, but I do have a collection of model and toy sheep (too small to shag), because lots of friends think it very funny to give me sheep as presents.

erik spiekermann's picture
Joined: 9 Dec 2001 - 9:28pm
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My favourite quote (for obvious reasons) is by Robin Kinross, in Baseline (I have it somewhere, but cannot be bothered to look for it – too many book shelves):

"Meta is the Helvetica of the 90s."

erik spiekermann's picture
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Robin Kinross, in Baseline

Oops, I meant Blueprint. Perhaps I shouldn’t quote from memory at 2am.

Simon Daniels's picture
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I updated the wiki to attribute the quote... http://typophile.com/wiki/FF%20Meta

You can click the 'edit' text if you want to fix errors in your posts - a useful feature.

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From all these experiences the most important thing I have learned is that legibility and beauty stand close together and that type design, in its restraint, should be only felt but not perceived by the reader.

—Adrian Frutiger

Will Ko's picture
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as much as i love type, i've got to disagree with this guy:

“It is a rarer gift to lay words out properly than to write them”
Nicholas Barker, writing of Will Carter

Tiffany Wardle's picture
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I needed this for TypeCon this past July. However, keep them coming as I think others might find this a fun resource in the future.

Glad to see people are still posting.

David Berlow's picture
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Of all the achievements of the human mind, the birth of an elephant is the most momentous.
— Frederic Goudy

{what I read when I first saw the quote.}

Chris Lozos's picture
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That's an eary quote David, you must have truncated one of the words :-)

ChrisL

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Down with Univers! Long live Gill Sans!
-- Leo Maggs
in Types Best Remembered/Best Forgotten , ISBN 1884606008

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"By the year 2000 every secretary will have a favorite typeface."
(or was it font?)"
-- Roger Black (possibly at Type90 in Oxford, England)