OCR Output (chars: 1038)
The Trouble with Type
Most education systems fail to provide even a basic
training in media techniques and processes: it seems
that the Information Age cannot persist without
promoting its opposite, Disinformation, which feeds
on ignorance and exclusion. Therefore in spite of the
growth of information technology, it seems unlikely
that typography will become a burning educational
issue when standards of world literacy are themselves
in such decline.
Why does typography appear so marginal? The choice
of typeface is the first message of any communication
and colours perception of the information it gives
form to. From an early age, we are taught that typeset
words should demand our attention (but never how,
or why), and from then on, we perceive typography as
something no more remarkable than water is to fish.
In fact, we no longer see it. Consequently, mediocrity
is accepted as the norm, good typography will be as
rare as ever and the myths that have built up around
type design will go unchallenged.
OCR Output (chars: 1360)
Typography continues to be an innately conservative
medium, resisting anything that challenges the
familiarity of its ‘classical’ past; whilst there is no
doubt that this past has provided a wealth of Practical
alphabets that highlight a fine balance between form
and function, typography is not immune to change.
In Britain, the power and restrictive practices of the
Graphic Arts’ Trade Union, the N.G.A., have been cast
aside by new technology and anti-Union legislation,
yet other areas such as the archaic copyright laws
that apply to type design remain inadequate — as a
number of post-war typographers, especially Hermann
Zapf, have found to their cost. Digital technology
throws this problem into sharp focus. It is as problem-
atic to prevent the piracy of digitised typefaces as itis
to prevent home taping of LPs and CDs — but this has
done nothing to stem the tide of type.
The best way to encourage a new generation of type
designers is to break open typography’s closed circle,
to question its traditions and to support risk-taking.
The function of typography has changed — the power
of television has long since broken its monopoly as
ameans of distributing information. Legibility is
as important as ever, but it must also be linked to
broader considerations of perc ption and recog- ©
ti ith over 4000 typeface /availab
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