letter shapes are selected and arranged into words and phrases, which are then printed on a page, in typography. A typographer may also be concerned with the selection of paper, the inks, the printing method, or the design of a book’s binding, although the word typography without modifier most often denotes the activities and concerns of those most involved and concerned with the appearance of the printed page.
The term “reading” can only be used, if ever, by analogous extension to “reading” in which the material at hand is anything other than words that stay stable on flat hard surfaces, as there was no typography prior to the mid-15th century discovery of printing from moveable type. A cathode-ray tube or a signboard’s face-moving letter that was formed electronically is not a typographic component. Typography, therefore, is a middle ground between the permanence of manuscript writing and the ephemerality of the digital picture. It doesn’t matter whether the letter is created using metal type or a photographic picture; the final product, whether it’s a book or a page, has no bearing on its status as typographic.
Typeface design as a practical art form
If we take a broad look at typography, we may make a few generalizations:
Most importantly, the technical methods by which the typographer’s ideas are realized via typography and printing are valuable arts. Even while typography is a fine art, it is not a fine art itself. People who have something to say are the primary source of typographic examples in books; they are selected for printing by publishers who see merit and hope for profit in disseminating the statements of the writers to an audience; and, properly, they are edited and designed by craftsmen whose boundaries are fixed for them based on the needs of writers to communicate and readers’ needs to utilize. The typographer’s job is not to communicate his own preferences in design or aesthetics, but rather to serve as an intermediary between those who have something to say and others who are interested in hearing it.
Although Beatrice Warde, an English typographic authority, advocated for printing to be invisible, this does not negate the importance of the typographer’s role. To argue that typography is functional art and as such should not stand in the way of the writer-reader relationship is not to say that there is only one solution to every typographic problem, and that aesthetics and taste as well as individual judgments and imagination have no place.
In addition to being a useful art with the recognised initial use of transferring information, typography is a secondary art for at least three different reasons.
One reason it isn’t primary is the fact that it relies on notation systems that aren’t the product of its own creations. It’s easy to see how this reality affects art. For the most part, Western writing and printing rely on a tiny set of individual letters that may be arranged in almost endless ways to convey ideas. Despite the fact that different languages have different alphabets, there is a lot of cross-over in letter forms and fonts. The task of a type designer is made easier since the number of pictures (letters) to be created is minimal and controllable. As a result of linguistic carryover, typography has been able to build significant typologies, worldwide styles and norms, and standards and traditions of taste by which typographers enhance their work. As a consequence, it is likely that between 8,000 and 11,000 fonts have been created in the 500 years since Gutenberg’s printing revolution. Many of the hundreds of typefaces accessible to the professional typographer are of unquestionable quality since they were developed in international traditions and have been judged by many people in many countries over many years, making them among the greatest in the world.
Contrary to this, the Japanese system of writing and printing uses a variety of systems, including more than 3,000 kanji (Chinese character-based symbols), seicho (based on the brush-written Kana script), and two sets of phonetic symbols, each consisting of 46 individual symbols (hiragana and katakana). Many designers are unable to overcome the challenge of developing over 3,000 symbols, some of which are quite complicated, in a lifetime. A lack of choice has resulted in the Japanese typographers having to pick between the Roman and the Gothic fonts—Minho and Gothic—which are basically the same types found in the West. Typo is a font designed by a group of Japanese designers in the 1960s.
Typographers are also constrained by reading norms over which they have little or no influence. For Western readers, starting at the top left of a page and reading to the bottom, a line at a time is more important than the designer’s aesthetic preferences when it comes to the look of a book page. Sans serif type (the two small bases on which lowercase “n” components rest, as well as the backward-pointing slab above me or “l”) has long been a favorite of typographers because of its clean and uncluttered appearance. But the problem is that practically every research has shown that sans serif type is more difficult to read in text than type with the serif typeface has been finished. A vertically printed Western text, with each letter occupying a distinct line with no horizontal linkage to the ones before and after it, may have eliminated the apparent benefit of serif typefaces in this respect.
It is arguable that the printed page’s appearance would be altered and one minor annoyance of reading—”doubling,” in which eyes finish a line, return to the left margin, and begin the same line all over again—might be eliminated if people could be persuaded to accept this reading pattern:.