Typography…‘more than just holding hands’?

I recently read an online article entitled ‘Web Design is 95% Typography’ by Oliver Reichenstein. In the article Reichenstein suggests that ‘choosing a typeface is not typography’. This for me holds some resonance as the Design for Visual Communication course that I run believes that a basic understanding of typography begins with a practical comprehension of those characteristics that are common to all typefaces. For more on how typography functions please see my previous post on this blog, ‘Typographic Notes’. Reichentstein continues: ‘Information design is not about the use of good typefaces, it is about the use of good typography. Which is a huge difference. Anyone can use typefaces, some can choose good typefaces, but only few master typography’. The love affair with typography probably does begin with an appreciation of the form typefaces take, but (and here comes the segue to my favourite Beatles track ‘If I Fell’), there is ‘more to love that just holding hands’. You develop a lifelong relationship with typography and with some designers with one typeface. Colin Banks once said that you don’t master typography rather that it is a ‘lifelong apprenticeship’. A love of typography means a love of all the subtle nuances beyond the style of the particular typeface. Don’t invest in the idea that purely choosing a typeface will solve the particular design challenge, it’s what you do with the typeface that is important. Let me know your thoughts.

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