What is Typography?

Outside of the Helvetica-loving Comic-Sans-hating world of design, how would one define typography?

Recently I found myself sitting in the back of an airport taxi with a particularly chatty driver. Not long after getting into the car we dove into the topic of the internet of which he clearly had no knowledge. This soon turned into endless questioning as to what “the internet” did, how one entered it and what in the world “the Google” was. Easy to describe? Not so much.

When asked my favorite part of design I replied; typography. After all, who wouldn’t love a well-design ampersand or that ever so slight embellishment on the bottom of a Baskerville “Q”? To my surprise, he once again had a question. “What is typography?”

The dictionary defines typography as “the art or process of setting and arranging type.”

Type being the characters or letters that make up a word. We see it everywhere. From the Univers type on the Exxon logo to the Helvetica used on every road sign in the US. Typography is everywhere.

I tried pointing out various signs and talking about how every logo, printed brochure, etc has a different look which comes from a varied use of type. No difference.

While I am still not yet confident in my ability to explain typography, maybe in looking around I’ll be able to figure it out. Perhaps there are other people out there that share my same love for type and wince at every sighting of Comic Sans. That’s what this blog is for.

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2 thoughts on “What is Typography?

    • thanks for the link! i might have to do a post about this one, looks pretty cool. interested to know how they went about coding it to change based on the facial features.

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