What can we, as typographers and designers do to decrease the growing acceptance of bad typography?

CameronWilliams's picture

We’ve all seen the increasing proliferation of single open quotation marks (‘) used as substitutes for an apostrophe, - - used in place of an em-dash, end-quotes used in place of inch-marks, misspellings on shop signs (Quarts watches, Newstand, News Stand, stationary used to mean stationery), and the like.

While some may argue that there is now more public interest in typography, it seems to me that that interest is mainly in letterforms, and not in their proper use. What are the causes, and what can we do to halt this devolution?

charles ellertson's picture

Not much.

Each audience will find its own level of "good" typography.

I've often quipped that when doing a fine-print edition, you are finished when you are so exhausted you don't want to work on it anymore -- or you run out of money. There are always things that can be made typographically better.

And while not typography per se, you can spend an inordinate amount of time preparing halftones. It is rare today to find a book without a fair number of images.

To do an acceptable job usually takes 20 minutes with Photoshop, and that's assuming your monitor is calibrated, you've profiled your "proofing" printer, and you have accurate TVI data for all 256 levels of gray from the eventual printer, on the sheet that will be used for printing. To get the most out of an image, or to prepare an "art" image, takes far longer. But no one's willing to pay for that kind of work.

More often than not, you also start with a supplied image rather than being able to make a scan from an original, and that supplied image will be 8-bit, with an untagged color space, & somebody will already have (poorly) done some manipulation.

* * *

When I read something I'm interested in -- the best test -- I find that I can ignore a lot of poor typography, design, etc. It is sort of surprising to me, but I seem to reject buying a book, or quit reading one, more because of bad printing than any other single manufacturing issue.

jupiterboy's picture

Thank you Charles. All good points.

I often come to the conclusion that high standards have to be held at the institutions. Here I am speaking about the US specifically. From what I see all but the top institutions struggle with these simple standards. Graphic design programs at universities and museums are often behind the curve or simply not up to the standards that other countries set. When a museum or educational program teaching graphic design does not demand the best design and typography where do we look for standards?

Also, I see a general trend toward disrespect and non-recognition of expertise. The culture seems to have fallen prey to the idea that anyone can do any job, and that if I do not understand the particulars of what differentiates a good job from a poor job no one else does either.

Much of this has to do with ethical standards associated with business, and business culture inevitably encroaching on standards within institutions. Corporations know that by eliminating skilled positions and filling them with underqualified people within ranks or outside the organization money can be saved.

CameronWilliams's picture

@jupiterboy:

“Also, I see a general trend toward disrespect and non-recognition of expertise. The culture seems to have fallen prey to the idea that anyone can do any job, and that if I do not understand the particulars of what differentiates a good job from a poor job no one else does either.

Much of this has to do with ethical standards associated with business, and business culture inevitably encroaching on standards within institutions. Corporations know that by eliminating skilled positions and filling them with underqualified people within ranks or outside the organization money can be saved.”

You’ve hit the nail on the head, but there seems to be a larger issue here: where does it all end? Where only CEOs, salespeople and investors have value, and everyone else becomes a twenty-first century peasant? That seems to be where we’re heading, into a new dark age.

There must be something that we as designers can do to stem this rising tide of mediocrity.

jupiterboy's picture

I have to watch what I say, because I tend to want to site examples (thus my posting under a name that is not mine, which I have been scolded for.)

Like many difficult transformative labors the work is accomplished one on one, face to face. There is also the issue with the US being a relatively young culture, but then it is grafted off so many older cultures to start with.

The trend that has most depressed me is to do the work and then watch the waters close behind as I leave and everything reverts.

If we are truly moving into a new dark age I suspect there is little we can do to stop it save to take a preservationist stance. Often those within institutions that have the sense to strive for standards have to wall themselves off from the larger group and settle for controlling only their own output.

How do you approach a powerful person or group and mention that publications they are proud of etc. have missed the mark on fundamental levels that tag the work as amateur on an international stage? When peoples’ income and stability hang in the balance? Like everything in life, it all seems rather delicate and precarious.

aluminum's picture

If we're heading into another dark ages and we need to preserve typography then the answer is clear: We need to recruit many more monks.

Quincunx's picture

With regards to the apostophe mishaps, I think that is partly (mainly?) a software issue. InDesign automatically uses the proper quotation marks (provided you have this feature enabled, but I think it is by default), while the most used text processor, Word, does not have an option like this (I think). If Word would automatically apply the proper glyphs, the problem wouldn't be so widespread.

Nick Shinn's picture

...single open quotation marks (‘) used as substitutes for an apostrophe...

This is a negative side-effect of smart software that fixes a problem which began when the ur-encoding, ISO Latin 1, was configured without curly quotes. Perhaps if it had included them, there would be corresponding keys in the standard computer keyboard layout, which would have encouraged correct typographic practice.

Nonetheless, there is no reason why the standard keyboard layout should not now be improved upon.

I would suggest that instead of one key for quote marks/apostrophe, which sets single and double "hash mark" characters, there be two keys for quote marks: a left one which would set opening quote marks, and a right one which would set closing quote marks (the single of which could be used for the apostrophe).

There is no way that software can ever be smart enough to distinguish between a single opening quote and an apostrophe, so a hardware solution is called for.

Another solution would be to teach typography along with touch typing/keyboarding, at an early age.
Writing is taught with an aesthetic dimension, "penmanship", so if people aren't going to be making documents by hand in the future, that aesthetic quality may still be taught, as typography.

CameronWilliams's picture

@Nick Shinn:

“There is no way that software can ever be smart enough to distinguish between a single opening quote and an apostrophe, so a hardware solution is called for.”

Then typographers will be like the buggy-whip makers derided in Other People’s Money. What’s so bad about paying a human to go through a document using Find/Change to fix what the computer missed? Is there no intrinsic value there?

“Writing is taught with an aesthetic dimension, “penmanship”, so if people aren’t going to be making documents by hand in the future, that aesthetic quality may still be taught, as typography.”

I think that’s a much better idea.

Ed_Aranda's picture

@CameronWilliams: "where does it all end?"

I think it ends with the continued cultivation of a strong, unified professional design community that can work together to maintain the standards of the trade. In my experience, there is a lack of emphasis put on the importance of typography within the greater design community. This needs to be changed starting at the educational level. I have always found that outstanding typography can salvage lack-luster imagery, but no amount of breathtaking imagery can make up for poor use of typography. In the end, if the words look unprofessional, the whole piece looks unprofessional.

I think that more and more designers come out of school (especially the technical schools) underestimating the importance of typography, and consequently end up treating it as a supplement to the design, rather than as a crucial element of the design – an art form in itself. In advertising especially, some designers completely miss the boat on how important it is for a brand to have a consistent voice – an implied character whose use of language (tone, formality, etc.) reflects the values of the brand and it's target audience. This is a key part of the puzzle in creating a successful brand culture, and has only, in my opinion, been successfully accomplished by a handful of brands. These brands also just happen to be the ones that stick around for the long haul.

Since language and all of its denotations/connotations are at the heart of building a successful brand culture, we as designers need to respect the impact our treatment of typography has on the delivery of our language, and ultimately our brand's personality and values. In short, the language needs to set the stage for the imagery, not the other way around. I could go more in-depth about why writers are underpaid, but I digress.

So, coming full circle, it seems to me that education in design needs to hold itself to higher standards. I see too many technical schools with lousy design programs selling to-good-to-be-true degrees to students who are looking for an alternative to fixing air conditioners (no offense to air conditioner repairmen – I just think that people should strive to do things they are passionate about, whether they are fixing things, designing things, or crunching numbers). These programs are not exactly attracting those who are passionate about art and aesthetics, but those who see design as better than their other options.

[Edit]
By the way, my biggest pet peeve at the moment is when people don't hang their quotation marks for a pull quote.

CameronWilliams's picture

@Ed_Aranda: regarding your last comment: guilty as charged; I have no idea how to use HTML to hang quotes.

Regarding your comments on the whole: I agree wholeheartedly with everything you say, but, as you note, schools such as Apex Technical and BramsonORT are offering two-year design degrees. A friend of mine, a very good creative director for a top pharmaceutical agency, just lost her job to a recent graduate from one of these programs, who will work for one-third the price. He won’t begin to approach the standards she upheld, but the MBAs decided those standards don’t matter. She championed the same values you speak of, but in the end, it all comes down to £,$,€,¥, etc. How very sad.

jupiterboy's picture

I suspect that museums and universities that set the bar probably need to actually include the support of good design as part of a mission statement, and rethink the use of board and committee positions as rewards for wealthy donors and strike a better balance of power with those that can guide decisions related to design and the projection of standards worthy of emulation.

aaronbell's picture

@Cameron WIlliams, Unfortunately, hanging quotes in html is kinda a pain, especially when on someone else's site (like this).

I totally agree though. When I attended school (not that long ago even!), the design school I went to was focused primarily on motion graphics and flash development with branding as a close third and communication design & print & typography being left to short and ultimately inadequate amounts of time. I understand that the digital age is one about the dynamic — websites, flash, video etc. That's what attracts "normal" people nowadays and gets them excited. Even I am rather impressed by a well designed and executed piece. But the problem is that the split between print design and web design that occurred when the web came to be is starting to resolve itself and the two streams of thought are starting to remerge. Of course, not everything from print will carry over, but important aspects like grids, typography and visual presentation will. We're just at the growing pains stage right now.

Ultimately, the problem is that people don't have or are unwilling to spend the time to make good typography. I have been guilty of that myself in an attempt to build a webpage as fast as possible, but I'm making an effort now to make sure everything is done as good as possible (I'm even fixing our copywriter's double space after sentences — I need to talk to him about that). Anyone I work with I will essentially force to do the same until they do it and they'll teach the next person and so forth (my evil plot). Truly, the best thing we can do right now is to show that there are people that care about good layout and typography and make it important. The more effort put into it, the more schools are willing to listen and realize that it is actually something of important. Maybe then, they'll start to change their ways.

blank's picture

People need to be taught to value work that’s done well. That seems hard to do in a world where vinyl signs in artificially condensed Arial abound on the fronts of stores selling albums by guys who can’t finish a record without autotuning every second of the vocals, but it isn’t impossible.

I think that to tip the scales in favor of beautiful typography we must ally ourselves with other proponents of beauty and effort and expertise. There’s no shortage of such people in the world. Marian Bantjes seems to have inspired many graphic designers to care about work that’s done slowly, intelligently, and with great care. Karim Raschid is doing something similar in the world of industrial design, notably with his adorable little dustbuster. Alice Waters is pushing chefs (and people who cook at home) to take it slow and use the best ingredients. Alejandro Paul zips from convention to convention spreading a love for carefully crafted fonts and lettering. Jeff Koonz keeps pushing pop art to even more wonderful places than Oldenburg and Van Bruggen did. Sade still takes the time to slowly tease out a perfect album every decade.

What we need to do better is evangelize in favor of those who do it well. There are plenty of wonderful William Morrises out there who work with masters of their crafts, with with slow, artful dedication, and they need to be held up as examples of people doing it right.

charles ellertson's picture

By the way, my biggest pet peeve at the moment is when people don’t hang their quotation marks for a pull quote.

Interesting example. When I began typography along about 1980, this was considered an affectation as often as a nicety. This by the editorial sorts. The designers, at least the good ones, viewed it as sometimes useful, but sometimes working at cross purposes to what they were trying to achieve.

On the other hand, I & most of the people I know would view the use of a single open quote as an apostrophe as an error, just like a spelling mistake.

Design Police maybe something we need, but Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? On the other hand, correcting typos is always welcome.

phrostbyte64's picture

Unfortunately, the downfall of current accepted typography is an evolutionary process. Yesterday's poor language is today's accepted grammer. Companies hire cheap keyboard monkeys with as little training as they can get away with to save money rather than find qualified professionals. I've heard business people say more than once that graphic design is so simple that anyone can do it. With this in mind why should they pay a pro? The people at large, don't really care or notice and thus poor typography/design become mainstream. If you add texting, the web, and a popular youth culture that values basketball over brains you have an excellant recipe for the end of proper grammer and spelling, much less typography.

You can't stop it. No previous culture has stopped it, why should we think that we are special.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

...from the Fontry

Ed_Aranda's picture

@CameronWilliams: I'm sorry to hear about your friend. I hope she was able to find a place where her talents would be valued. Stories like these scare me a bit. Being a young designer and freelancer, I struggle all the time with living up to my own ever-evolving standards while providing my clients with the value that they have come to expect. But what will happen when people start to expect more for less? I can feel it happening all around me, and can't help but think that there will come a time when I have to either compromise quality or lose a client to someone who will do it cheaper.

@James Puckett: People need to be taught to value work that’s done well.

That's it in a nutshell. This extends beyond graphic design and typography to all aspects of life. It is truly sad to see the arts so undervalued in the American public school systems. People don't realize that it's not just about playing an instrument, or painting a picture, or writing a poem; it's about the universal concepts of balance, proportion, communication, problem-solving, attention to detail, and appreciation of craft.

The way I see it, as long as there are business owners and marketing execs who can't distinguish good from bad design, there will always be a niche for designers who offer a bulk discount on "quickie" designs. Part of selling our services, in many cases, needs to be a crash course in what makes good design and why it's worth the price tag. I like to give specific examples of exceptional design, and explain what makes it so and how it has provided lasting value back to the customer.

Nick Shinn's picture

What’s so bad about paying a human to go through a document using Find/Change to fix what the computer missed?

It's better to not make a mistake than try and fix it afterwards.

Speaking specifically about the "flipped" apostrophe: it's better to encode the apostrophe correctly in the first place (in the manuscript document, or right into the layout application if that's where it's being keyed), as an apostrophe/right single quote, rather than as a generic hash-mark which will be mis-set by "smart" layout applications--and then have to rely on a proof-reading of the finished art, which is not part of most work-flows.

The flipped apostrophe is a mistake that many businesses that are otherwise fastidious in their production will nonetheless make. For instance, Veer published a flyer a couple of years ago with a headline that said «‘70s» or some such thing, with the backwards apostrophe.

So that's why I argue for a hardware fix: put curly quotes on the keyboard, so that when text is first encoded, the writer has easier access to the correct characters--and this would also establish the idea that curly quotes are serious default punctuation, not just a fancy option.

dtw's picture

The problem with that laudable idea, Nick, is that you'd undoubtedly get twerps typing ”this“, which is worse than "straight quotes", surely?

What irritates me is when you get showcases of graduate work (eg as supplements in magazines such as Computer Arts) where you glance at a layout and think, "ooh, yes, some talented designers coming out of uni", and then you look closer at the actual text they've used, and think, "can't spell or punctuate for toffee though..."
________________________________________________
Ever since I chose to block pop-ups, my toaster's stopped working.

CameronWilliams's picture

@Nick Shin:

“The flipped apostrophe is a mistake that many businesses that are otherwise fastidious in their production will nonetheless make. For instance, Veer published a flyer a couple of years ago with a headline that said «‘70s» or some such thing, with the backwards apostrophe.

“So that’s why I argue for a hardware fix: put curly quotes on the keyboard, so that when text is first encoded, the writer has easier access to the correct characters—and this would also establish the idea that curly quotes are serious default punctuation, not just a fancy option.”

That’s just it, Nick. I saw the flipped apostrophe/date problem two weeks ago in The New York Times, a paper that once hired Ed Benguiat to design its masthead; the same paper that employed Roger Black as designer of The New York Times Magazine, the paper that publishes Williams Safire’s often witty and always informative On Language column; it’s only a slight exaggeration (if at all) to refer to the paper as “the pinnacle of newspaper publishing”. And they would not print a retraction.

And in the recent past, I’ve tried to fix these and other typographic mistakes in printed pieces for national advertisers and even for renowned publishing houses and ivy-league universities; only to be told: “stet”; “we cannot afford to risk offending the client”.

As for the hardware solution, I like it, but how do we convince anyone to use it? These characters are already accessible via combination keystrokes, yet the publishers of Mavis Beacon haven’t incorporated typography into Typing Tutor, nor can I foresee their doing so; their widely-praised method still advocates double-spacing after punctuation, and double returns at paragraph ends. How do we change the perception that typographic first principles are mere “niceties”, rather than necessities? Because if we can’t change that quickly-growing perception, your improved keyboard will never be manufactured; and awareness of mankind’s typographic heritage, a heritage inextricably linked to the rise of literacy (and its concomitant, self-determination) will surely fall by the wayside; that’s why I thought it no exaggeration to state that we may be entering a new dark age.

Can we mount a major museum exhibition, and will that have any effect? We could try a legislative approach; try to convince our local governments to issue fines for misspelled signs, and further fines for not correcting the errors, but I have little hope for that method. Should we take guerrilla action (I liked the Chevwrong advertisement posted elsewhere on this site, but that was politically rather than typographically motivated)? How can we convince educators that this is a matter of importance? Drastic steps, rather than incremental improvements, would seem to be appropriate at this point. Am I wrong? I’d like to see more comments and ideas.

jupiterboy's picture

1.) Shame incorrect usage, with artful tact if possible. Not letting it ride involves calling attention to yourself, which is a risk that probably should be taken.

2.) Disengage from organizations that actively promote low standards. So the local museum needs money and is on the rocks, but they can’t seem to use real quotes in their wall texts, hire book designers that don’t know what a ligature is for, or push the design and production of the quarterly newsletter off on a self-trained computer network manager. Tough love with an explanation may be in order.

3.)Reinforce good examples with praise and use this positive approach to influence when you can. A nice book gifted to a powerful person along with a kind hint about how nice ligatures look and what trouble type designers go to might just stick—enough that the next time they look at pages they notice the thing you have brought to their attention.

4.) Build consensus. Organizations often have internal disagreements, or differing levels of awareness about these issues. If you are on the inside find your friends, get them together on the issues, and if possible, start documenting. If it is on paper that things should be done a certain way, and a majority of the group becomes involved in policing you are no longer the cop.

Nick Shinn's picture

The problem with that laudable idea, Nick, is that you’d undoubtedly get twerps typing ”this“, which is worse than "straight quotes", surely?

That's not much of an argument.
It's like, we won't provide cruet at our café, because patrons might put salt in their tea.

They'd have to be real twerps to not understand the principle: The key on the left is for left quotes, the key on the right is for right quotes.

jupiterboy's picture

Left and right shoes have caught on, but are still an issue for some.

nina's picture

New market niche for introductory –twerp-proof– hardware!

Scalfin's picture

One option could be to judge whether we actually need all these different marks that look the same in most typefaces and, more importantly when written. I mean, if you're going to use the inch abbreviation instead of typing it out on a printed document of professional sign, it's a little late to be worried about which mark you use. Given that we've already gotten rid of the plural of "you" and the letter theta, this isn't exactly unprecedented.

Also, on misspellings and other typos, people are actually much less tolerant today than they used to be. According to my parents, you used to be able to get away with almost anything because people knew how much work it was to retype a whole page. I guess that means my parents are old.

1985's picture

Talk to everyone you meet about your job, don't be shy. This is best and most basic promotion of the trade.

Rick Poynor, in a recent eye magazine article, criticised the The Best Swiss Books 2007 for a bias toward arts publishing. I felt this criticism was maybe a little unfair given that publishers have such a huge hand in design decisions (restrictive) and budgets (low), but there may be some truth that designers' own agendas are more easily met working in the arts than any other field, and thus this is the market they approach. This obviously leaves a huge blind spot in the rest of the publishing world.

I am currently deciding who to send my portfolio to. I am really keen to send it to these blind spots but it is difficult to address. How do you tell someone when improvement is needed? I guess you have to lead by example.

guifa's picture

Given that we’ve already gotten rid of the plural of “you”

you was (and for some people still is) the plural, thou was the singular. Besides, there's already a replacement plural form, y'all.

I'm totally for having open and close quotes on the keyboard. I mean, we have open and close parenthesis, it makes sense. In the Portuguese (European) keyboard, they have the open and close quotation marks « », for instance. In Spain, since the keyboard only has " and most programs aren't smart enough to change them to the proper « », a lot of documents have the far less desirable English-style quotes.

nina's picture

Nice! I wish we had guillemets on our keyboards in Switzerland (where guillemets are quite common at least in professionally printed materials). We do have a key for the < > symbols though – and of course what people end up doing is <this>, and sometimes even <<this>>. Makes me cringe…

guifa's picture

I dunno altaira, I think I prefer <<this>> to "this" if the language is supposed to use «this».

nina's picture

Really? Well around here, both «this» and "this" is OK, actually even »this« can be seen (which Germans do). So "this" wouldn't be a problem. (Although we'd rather have the opening quote on the baseline.)
Dunno, but in my world <<this>> is a truckload worse than straight quotes instead of "these".

1985's picture

»This« is beautiful.

Don McCahill's picture

> So that’s why I argue for a hardware fix: put curly quotes on the keyboard,

Yeah, like that can ever happen. The original Qwerty keyboard arrangement was originally designed to slow down typists on early mechanical typewriters. 100+ years later we still use a device that slows us down, and you expect everyone to change to a new version just to placate the 1% of the population who are typographically aware.

Good intentions do not always lead to actions. If they did, we would all be speaking Esperanto.

paragraph's picture

Ando thanko providenco weo donto.

Nick Shinn's picture

Yeah, like that can ever happen.

With just a word in Mr. Jobs/Mr. Gates' ear.

drange's picture

@jupiterboy

A "preservationist stance" might begin with taking care with our own writing: making sure we cite examples rather than "site" them. We might further base our writing on good examples rather than "off" them. If we address "those within institutions" as who s rather than as "that" s, perhaps they would be more encouraged to take the risk of not letting it ride and undertake to "shame incorrect usage, with artful tact if possible."

CameronWilliams's picture

@drange

Excellent points. We must set an example if we are to be taken seriously.

EK's picture

Here's a clue: how did the ubiquitous practice of superscripting ordinals develop?

jupiterboy's picture

Point taken. I should slow down on my posts and give them a look before I hit ”post comment”. I do not spend the time on internet posts that I do on writing that prints, and probably spend more time than most fixing problems as I have always had to work at spelling. My sentiment is sincere though even if my methods are casual and slack. I know I was much sharper on points of spelling and grammar when I worked as a copywriter, but I still seldom read anything that does not have some issues.

I wish typophile didn’t bump a post to the bottom of the thread when you edit it. (Sentence ends in preposition. Tisk.)

cuttlefish's picture

"It" is a pronoun, not a preposition. You are forgiven.

jupiterboy's picture

Thanks. I’ll stop while I’m behind.

theorosendorf's picture

I wrote a post to my blog with the risk of coming across as anti-Obama. I prefer to stay away from anything politically charged, but I couldn't think of another way to write the title while staying under a certain line length.

"Obama’s Art with Dumb-Quote"

The post is not very popular. I believe the title is to blame for that.

Anyway, the point of the post is that the White House isn't immune to typographic ignorance.

http://typedesk.com/2009/05/28/obamas-art-with-dumb-quote/

jupiterboy's picture

That is Ed Ruscha’s art. The idea that you would critique fine art based on typographic standards is a bit pedantic. Calling this Obama’s art is bizarre.

If the error had been in a White House press release or a museum’s exhibition catalogue or wall text you would have a great point.

Nick Shinn's picture

...typographic ignorance.

Hark who's talking.
There were no such things as "dumb quotes" in 1983, when the Ruscha piece was painted.
(The concept of "dumb quotes" didn't exist before desktop publishing, which began with the Apple Mac in 1984, or arguably the Laserwriter in 1985.)

One might just as well criticize Aldus for not having Italic capitals.

eliason's picture

There were no such things as “dumb quotes” in 1983, when the Ruscha piece was painted.

Not by that name, but surely professional typographers were viewing typewriters' straight quotes as a lesser, compromised design before 1983, no?

jupiterboy's picture

Possibly so, but we also might give the artist the benefit of the doubt. I might describe his lettering as having a mechanistic nievete. I would not assume that he did not make an informed choice, nor would I assume he made a distinction.

CameronWilliams's picture

@eliason:

Not really; the division was between "typewritten copy" and "typography". The former was used in print only to simulate a typewritten page, so the existence of “dumb quotes” was not seen as a problem.

eliason's picture

@Cameron: That makes sense.
@jupiterboy: Well said (though not well spelled, again!)

typeidname's picture

I appreciate the concerns raised in this thread. My sense is that some sorting out of ideas and concerns would be valuable.

Personally I think it is wonderful that people are taking an interest in letterforms, quite aside from whether they have a passion for their proper usage in the sense addressed above.

Who will deny that letterforms are interesting in and of themselves?

I imagine that some of these letterform-only people have produced innovations which have been taken up and further developed by some of those with more rigorously conventional standards.

Isn't it well to have both sorts of people in the mix?

I expect that many in the old scriptoria viewed movable type as the harbinger and in fact the bringer of a Dark Age which digital technology only deepens today.

I wonder, for each of you, to what extent is this a discussion about aesthetics, per se (valid in my view) and to what extent a discussion about a fairly circumscribed subset of aesthetic concerns having to do with "craft" for lack of a better term (just as valid, in my view.)

Some research into the evolution of aesthetic notions generally might serve well to inform this discussion, for those who care to take the time.

I wonder whether a look at the history of the rise and fall of the Guilds might be valuable for those disposed to grant the artist a free hand in the use of type but who wish to maintain arbitrary standards for typographers as craftspeople?

Indeed exploration of the putative distinctions between art and craft, between artist and craftsperson, might be good vectors along which to advance understanding of some of the issues underlying this thread.

1985's picture

Is this thread about spelling/punctuation/grammar or typography? I sometimes worry that my s/p/g is quite poor – I usually have to ask for help. However, the best kept text can be poorly designed.

jupiterboy's picture

@Craig
Always a mess I guess. Serves me right for doing a search rather than using a dictionary. Back to painting.

@1985
This thread is wandering all over the place. The initial post was grousing about the lack of care to detail in the use of quotation marks and apostrophes. There was some discussion of the role of the institution in setting high standards and how it is hard to demand excellence when it sometimes doesn’t exist at the top.

theorosendorf's picture

How about we initiate a petition to fix the way software handles quotes?

Who are the companies that set precedence? Apple, Adobe, Microsoft?

How many petitioners would it take? 100,000?

In my opinion, the most problematic software is email. I'm sure most of you have attempted to type proper quotes in an email and find they somehow get dismantled along the way.

Why shouldn't a future version of HTML fix quotes?

I say kill the hashes for most users. If programmers need them, they'll figure out how to get them back. Them guys are smarties.

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