There certainly is room for "creative spelling" in any script, for various reasons (and not all of them merely visual). As long as one knows what rules one is breaking, instead of pretending there are no rules because one thinks it's pretty.
Also, in the case of the scan Tim showed, I would say that making the umlauts tuck in should preferably have been accompanied by the "Q" and "J" not having descenders. (Which reinforces the point that that at least was a technological issue much more than an aesthetic one.)
>the “Q” and “J” not having descenders.
Good point. That's particularly useful for drop caps.
I imagine that [Hartley & Marks] has an address to which they are sending the checks
Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha hahhhh...
Hmmm.... Maybe a stylistic set for drop cap alternates?
I have just learned from an executive at Hartley & Marks that they have no information or material to help me. He also is fairly certain that Lydia Chappell (Warren's wife) is "in a state of dementia" or dead. Sad news.
So now I have e-mailed Knopf, and I am looking into the special collection of Knopf materials at the University of Texas in Austin.
This was obviously not “dumb”, but a carefully considered piece of typography.
Affectation is the word I would have used. By 'quality French publishing', I meant book publishers, generally following the typographic norms promulgated by the Imprimerie nationale.
I wouldn't call it an affectation.
Its raison d'etre derives from the requirements of the typographic layout, not from a linguistic authority.
While it's true that commercial forces are apt to occasionally run roughshod over "proper" orthography, the converse of this is a streak of snobbery towards "trade" amongst the academic preservers of the flame. It's been that way from Hansard to Updike to Kinross.
History decides which "affectations" become adopted as part of the canon.
> the converse of this is ...
Not necessarily. Although I think you've nailed the two main schools quite well, there is in fact (at least) a third way, which I myself follow: avoid artistic affectation, but treat authority with healthy disrespect; I feel this allows one to help other people mark real progress. In effect, the two main schools are both superficial, self-serving and cozy, while I think we can aim for a deeper harmony in the things we make to serve others.
History decides which “affectations” become adopted as part of the canon.
I have a collection of grammars for various languages, many of them dating from the 16th-18th century, and I'd be inclined to argue, based on their content, that most decisions about orthographic practice have been made by grammarians, not by typographers. On the subject of Greek accents, which we have touched on here and spoken of at greater length elsewhere, you will find entire volumes devoted to nothing but their correct placement.
When a magazine art director decides that 'the requirements of the typographic layout' demand possible ambiguation of text, it seems to me that his is looking at the whole thing backwards. Since when has typographic layout involved 'requirements' that override the integrity of the text? I don't think there are any such requirements, and if one creates such requirements in a layout then it isn't a very good piece of design, no matter how lovely it might look. If you have to abuse the text in order to typeset it, there is a problem.
But let's assume for a moment that your dictum is correct. It seems to me that history has plainly not accepted as canonical the typographic affectation of Paris Match in the 1960s. No one does this now, and I doubt if anyone else did it then: it was and remains idiosyncratic and hence, I argue, an affectation.
> it isn’t a very good piece of design, no matter how lovely it might look.
>possible ambiguation of text
We're talking about a few words in a headline.
Missing accents isn't going to befuddle the readers.
Yes, it is an affectation, but you had used that word in contrast to "carefully considered piece of typography". On reflection, it is both.
As to whether history is made by grammarians or typographers, the face-off that comes to mind is the competition for the best reformed Polish accents that occurred in the 18th century (as recounted by Adam Twardoch). As I recall, the authorities asked a writer, a scientist, and a typographer to propose the best scheme, and the typographer won.
>it isn’t a very good piece of design, no matter how lovely it might look.
You theorists crack me up.
You don't even have to see what something looks like, and on principle you know whether it's good or bad design?!
@Nick Shinn:You theorists crack me up.You don't even have to see what something looks like, and on principle you know whether it's good or bad design?!
That seemed like a very sensible comment. The goal of design is for something to have an attractive appearance, and so the means by which that is achieved would not seem to make something "bad design".
However, I went ahead and looked for the original of the statement, and found this:
Maybe "bad typography" instead of "bad design" would have been more appropriate, but the idea that it doesn't matter how pretty the result looks if, by omitting accent marks, you have made the text hard to disambiguate by the reader, seems valid to me.
Even so, there is another side of this argument. Omitting accent marks from all-capitals text is, in fact, a quite common typographical practice, and hence literate native speakers of many languages that use accented letters don't seem to be bothered much by the practice. So it would depend on the language (and also on the text) whether criticizing this as bad typography is legitimate.
I'm not a theorist, Nick. I'm a type designer who spends most of his time dealing with language support issues rather than graphic design issues. I think our disagreement stems from the fact that we design within different contexts.
> You don’t even have to see what something looks like, and
> on principle you know whether it’s good or bad design?!
For myself, I don't do that to instances, but I
can still think that a principle is good or bad.
And I think pretty is often dysfunctional.
And yeah, John is not [just] a theorist... :-)
Oh, and of course neither is Gerry.
Sorry John, that wasn't meant as a generalization, it's just that both you and Hrant had dismissed something you haven't seen as bad design, on principle.
You're right about the different contexts, which is my point really, in that I don't think language (your background) trumps layout (my background) every time -- just most of the time, but not in occasional circumstances, particularly headline and display typography.
> something you haven’t seen
Vision is only one faculty.
And interestingly not a highly reliable one, in terms of memory at least.
> particularly headline and display typography.
Yes, a critical distinction.
But don't you do the same sorts of things for your "text" cuts?
>But don’t you do the same sorts of things for your “text” cuts?
It's not about me, Hrant.
Walk the talk, "dude", get off your butt, publish Patria and share with the world what a good "text" cut is supposed to look like.
I don't get it: you just made a good distinction,
and I'm wondering if you actually implement it.
>I don’t get it:
Well, for anyone out there who cares to follow my efforts on this, things are pretty dry. I have not been able to locate any heirs, nor have I been able to locate any source materials yet. I never received a reply from the Knopf archive staff, but Robert Bringhurst has informed me that the image used in the book was most likely a personal photograph. So, if it exists at all, it would probably not be in the Knopf archive.
It looks like my last and best hope might be the Waren Chappell Art Collection at Columbia University (http://www.columbia.edu/cu/lweb/eresources/archives/collections/html/4079660.html).
I guess if I cannot locate anything more on the original design, I might still work from the image in the book and end up with something at least "inspired by" Chappell's Eichenauer.
Fortunately for everybody, there comes a point where an
expectation of diligence can cross into the unreasonable.
Ergo: once you've tried hard enough but still failed, go
ahead with it anyway.
Yeah, after all, it'd be perfectly acceptable if say even though Mrs. Chappell was gracious enough to grant permission to a person who has since spent the past decade-and-a-half working on these designs that someone else who didn't take the time to get such permission or thoroughly research things knocked out something and beat him to the punch.
It shouldn't take 15 years of work to realize that's not what I said.
> It shouldn’t take 15 years of work to realize
> that’s not what I said.
True. You either get it, pretty instantly, or you don’t at all. In this case, I don’t. :>
For example, if you expend more effort trying to unearth permission than it will take to eventually make the font, you're doing more harm than good, to everybody. Nobody tries to track down Garamont's heirs, and that's a good thing.
Currently, in most countries copyright protection lasts up to 70 years after the author’s death. There are people who believe that typeface designs should be protected through copyright. If you are such a person, I believe it is only morally correct to act *as if* that copyright protection were already in place.
Wait... Actually, it *is* in place, just not in all countries (e.g. not in the U.S.). So obeying general copyright rules when doing a revival is not only a moral but also a legal obligation -- if you plan to publish the font worldwide.
Of course you can also do a risk analysis: what is the chance that the widow or the children of a deceased author (typeface designer, painter, writer etc.) will ever sue me if I *don’t* ask permission? If you think that risk is minimal, you are free to go ahead and do whatever you want to do no matter what. But I doubt that such actions would have actual legal standing, or that they would be ethically clean.
I shall add that every time the type design community accepts the practice of unauthorized revivals, it actually supports the notion that fonts are unworthy of being protected as intellectual property.
1) Essentially I was talking in the abstract (as I'm wont to do) not about specifics.
2) Copyright after death is only valid if there's somebody there to inherit it.
But to me more important than the legal aspect (and certainly any clinical commercial "risk analysis") is the ethical aspect: how does one ideally behave in the total, on this planet that we share? So for example in #2 above, it's actually not enough for somebody to inherit the rights, that party actually has to care about it enough as well. I think the human reality is malleable and complex enough that sometimes (though rarely) this can even allow for the unauthorized revival of something by somebody who's still alive. Remember, the French Revoution was illegal.