Type is Art...
more specifically... performing art.
It is a rich history, one of typographical masters who have developed
the art of characters for textual communication. In its past, typeface useage
and design has been the result of enormous attention to the aesthetic principle.
Type was designed for specific purposes on demand... by artisans with limited
resources... and virtually no recognition. Type was the result of careful
planning and attention to character width as well as consistancy. This craftsmanship,
while expensive, was required by the current technology to produce acceptable
results. The key word here being acceptable results.
Printed material has always been very expensive. This is due to the nature
of the process that required thousands of man-hours to produce a result.
Prior to movable type, this was even more the case with acually having to
hand-scribe each and every character. The amount of man hours to create
a copy of a document were immense. Looking at the art and the individuality
of these documents, we can begin to appreciate the impact of the press,
and what it has done to our industry.
Well, now we are through the threshold of the digital age. Everything
we see printed in today's world has been generated on a computer. This has
served a multitude of purposes, but one or two in particular concern me.
The art and attention to detail that typesetting required in past
technology was just part of what it took to put out a document. With the
constantly evolving tools from Gutenberg himself to Aldus Manutius, and
more recently Sumner Stone, the machines may have changed but the art was
effectively maintained from each level of technology... until the computer.
Any questions or comments please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
All of a sudden... people think its o.k. to look at a bunch of dots that
barely look like a character, and that is good enough. Because it was done
on a computer. Cool! (not really)
All of a sudden, everybody can publish. The resources are not so consuming,
and anybody who has anything to say can do so fairly simply. It is now extremely
important to strive to maintain the principles that the typographic masters
outlined. Technology is not the limiting factor here... the expertise of
the publisher however is.
The computer should mimic life... not vice versa.
It is not o.k. to accept less than best quality with new technology.
It is because of this that I am most excited about the PDF technology from
Adobe Systems. This technology holds the potential to maintain the high-quality
typographic subtleties that we have become accustomed to, but to also provide
electronic document flexibility.
You use the internet (or you would not be reading this) and are probably
used to the look and feel of many of the web pages out here. Aesthetic principles
have been tossed to the wind in favor of the limitation of the standard
ASCII set, for the sake of platform invisibility. Now the PDF file format
allows the same cross-platform seamless approach, with the added advantage
of using PostScript typefaces and extended character sets. Now... electronic
publishing on the internet does not have to be relegated to ASCII... There
is going to be no technical reason why one would not be able to browse the
contents of the internet in PDF format.
So, before all of you folks get heavily involved with the creation of Web
material (everybody seems to be doing it lately)... please keep in mind
all of the efforts that our forebears provided for us to use... and let's
try to do them the justice they so richly deserve. Learn how to use ligatures,
em-dashes, and kerning pairs. and take a look at the possibilities of PDF.
I am excited.
Thanks for the time... and enjoy the PubWire
(Clicking any of the small images will download a high-resolution JPEG file)
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