Why do designers make typography every day?Recently I was asked this question; Why do designers make typography every day?
Typography is just one of the many things that a graphic designer does. Part of a means to an end.
Many of us began training at the university level and now it is muscle memory, or habit. Typesetting, or composition means time to kern each word, examine each sentence break, and all the paragraph starts and ends. The typeface family selection, the font weight, line length and matching point size and leading all become part of the art, science and judgement in typography.
Typography is the style and appearance of type. All the things that need written language made legible and readable when viewed.
Typography is part of all the stuff around you in civilization; signs, billboards, packages, flyers, posters, ads, books, magazines, newspapers, instructions, products, presentations, web pages and more.
Really good typography is frequently the work of not only graphic designers, but art directors and creative directors. These are teams of people trained in typography and who use graphic design principles and best practices to make good visual communication work. Often these people design with editors and writers in partnership and collaboration to produce all the stuff around you in civilization.
Just 60 years ago many people worked in composition departments as typesetters creating the basis for effective communication. Initially as the computer systems called photo-typesetters, then digital-typesetters replaced previous hot and cold metal type, people traditionally were trained as compositors or typesetters and then advanced into layout artist, graphic artist, graphic design, art director, and creative director positions.
In the 1980’s the desktop publisher spewed forth upon the world and civilization. The art and technique of arranging type to make written language legible, readable, and appealing when displayed, that’s typography and it has been impacted ever since.
Now, every day people without training or knowledge make publications, products and other visual communications and sometimes they create and foster a low form of typography.
Every day people use word processing programs ignorantly believing they are typesetting and making good typography.
With so much poorly prepared typography it seems every day fewer people exist that know, produce and can explain what quality typography is. With an acceptance of mediocre typography it seems at times decline of written language is inevitable. What is to emerge, with so many people self publishing books, web pages, e-magazines, tweets, e-pubs. New learning and exploring of typography seems one outcome. It is possible amazing typography can happen with better broader written language spread across new media, only time will show us.
So graphic designers make typography every day so that others will learn, understand, embrace, object, react, buy, rebuild, repair, apply, think, listen, laugh, cry, heal, grow. If the typography is done well it is both legible and readable and you do not notice it is there unless you are supposed to.
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