The Typographer as Reader

We may come to look back on the late 20th century as the time when typography went through an interesting kind of mid-life crisis. 400 years in, it started dressing unusually and keeping unlikely company. Following that metaphor, it may be that it is now time for typography to renew its vows with language.

It is in design’s responsibility to language that we find objective criteria and a basis for order and critical awareness, and the order found in this way is independent of modernist or post-modernist ideology, so long as we’re prepared to read.

We might stop thinking about making things less difficult –and start to think about making the difficult more attractive. If we respond positively, creatively, to the lure of the difficult, our world becomes larger. And the larger our world, the better we are equipped to respond and communicate to others. Which is the typographic designer’s highest aim and purpose.

Will Hill
Originally delivered at Typecon, Atlanta July 2009