HELP! Looking For Great Quotes About Type

I am looking for quotes about the definition of typography to use in a book.

I am pretty sure someone coined the phrase, "words we see" but can not find the citation or author. Any and all such quotes about what is typography would be appreciated. And, I will credit both the original author and who has helped me by posting it!


You might find something on this old thread.

Other suggestions in another old thread:


Thank you both.

Here's one from a book, I think it is pretty obscure, maybe not:

"P's and Q's, A Book on the Art of Letter Arrangement" by Sallie B. Tannahill, (Garden City, New York, Doubleday, Doran & Company, Inc., 1944) in the introduction:

"Well-selected letters, drawn with force and quality, arranged in good proportion, tone, and colour, and grouped in a sign, a poster, a card, or a letterhead, may be as fine and as complete a design as is a costume, a textile, a plate, a chair, or a building. The symbols of out alphabet are fixed; an A must always be an A, a P can never be a Q, but the power to use these letters, to vary them, and to arrange them is unlimited. The problem of the designer is to know how to do this in a fine way."

And not a definition, but an assessment of the power of typography:


Lovely, thank you.

"It’s better to be slightly illegible than completely irrelevant."
— Nick Shinn in "Hip 2B Square: If the fonts you're using aren't Post-humanist, they're out of date" from Graphic Exchange, Sept. 2000. To read the article, go to and click on the "writing" tab. The article in question is at the bottom of the list.