as8: Quotes on Typography & Type Design

New quotes are added anytime I note down a relevant one.

If you feel like to contribute, just email me.

[go to quotes on graphic design and design in general]

Quote #121

" The difference between the almost-right word and the right word

is the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning! "

Mark Twain (1835-1910)

Quote #120

" Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind. "

Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936)

Quote #119

" The domain may be unfamiliar, but establishing contexts, understanding limitations,

and identifying options is a constant in design. "

Gerry Leonidas

Quote #118

" The Germans have a saying that you have to be on fire yourself to light one.

Many designers are driven by a special kind of dedication, both professionally

and personally. In addition to craft and creativity, bringing passion to the job

is the key to success. Passion gives us the power to act.

It is the foundation of change and of progress. "

TYPO Berlin

Quote #117

" Science is not a believe system, it is a rigorous process of inquiry.

That is what science is about; it is about checking. "

Lord Christopher Monckton Speaking in St. Paul

Quote #116

" No other design discipline requires so much learning and training as fontography,

and by no other aspect can amateurs be so easily distinguished from professionals.

To be font literate, a designer has to study the history and the principles of

font design. "

Dmitry Kirsanov

Quote #115

" We hold this truth to be self-evident:

That every human has an equal and unalienable right to the means to create,

distribute and consume information to realize their full potential for

Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness – regardless of the country they

live in, their gender, beliefs, racial origin, language or any impairments

they may have. Take away imagination, pity, hope, history, belief and all

the other intangibles from humanity, and all you have left is an ape that

falls out of trees a lot – (with apologies to Terry Pratchett). "

Bill Hill

Quote #114

" Geometry can produce legible letter but art alone makes them beautiful.

Art begins where geometry ends, and imparts to letters a character

trascending mere measurement. "

Paul Standard, 1947

Quote #113

" Non-reading is not just the absence of reading.

Being culturally literate means being able to get your bearings quickly

in a book, adopting a stance in relation to the immense tide of books.

I bet all cultivated people know culture is above all a matter of orientation.

It's actually more important to know a book's role in our collective library

than its details. "

Pierre Bayard (1954-)

Quote #112

" A man may break a word with you, sir; and words are but wind;

ay, and break it in your face, so he break it not behind. "

William Shakespeare

The Comedy of Errors

Quote #111

" Writing allows even a stupid person to seem halfway intelligent;

if only that person will write down the same thought over and over again,

improving it just a little bit each time.

It is a lot like inflating a blimp with a bicycle pump. Anybody can do it.

All it takes is time.

Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

Palm Sunday

Quote #110

" The chief and most monstrous characteristic of our time is that

the methods of manufacture which we employ and of which we are proud are such

to make it impossible for the ordinary workman to be an artist, that is to say

a man responsible not merely for doing what he is told but responsible also

for the intellectual quality of what his deeds effect.”

Eric Gill (1882-1940)

Quote #109

" Just like the voice and finger prints, our handwriting is unique.

Every letter we write can not be copied. It is the basic law of calligraphy.

The signature becomes the sign of graphic self-actualization both in legal

and psychological aspects. Graphology and handwriting studies are often

considered to be the same disciplines, whereas the two notions are completely

different. Graphology is more mystical, so to say; its main aim is to define

one’s character through one’s handwriting. Handwriting studies are aimed at

matching the existing handwriting samples to establish the authorship.

As we said, signatures may reveal the individual psychological characteristics.

A qualified expert can tell them basing on the letter specifics, intervals,

letter sloping and other details. "

MVK Contemporary Museum of Calligraphy

Quote #108

" It is the designer/typographer’s task to match form with content;

to create an authoritative document. "

Nick Shinn

Quote #107

" Calligraphy reveals such different aspects of the human being as

moral virtues, personal opinion of the beauty, and also immediate feelings

of the minute. It helps leave a large footprint on the sands of time. "

Samvel Vanoyan

Quote #106

" There are five virtues: accuracy, literacy, a strong hand, industriousness,

and the perfect writing utensils. " 

Mir-Ali Khoravi

Quote #105

" Writing is half the knowledge. "

Muhhamad the Prophet

Quote #104

" ‘What designers do’ is to harmonize and optimize all the variables in a design.

Real designers don’t design documents where type style may be changed willy-nilly:

you change one thing, everything changes. What a designer needs is good taste,

an eye for detail, and a sense of which way the cultural wind is blowing. "

Nich Shinn

Quote #103

" Inside and outside of the paper, there’s no confusion about who

the paper belongs to. Not the editors who built it, not the reporters

who fill it with articles, but the men who bought and paid for it. "

David Carr

Quote #102

" Every designer or photographer should have an ongoing conversation

with the word editor –- you are all journalists. "

Roger Black

Quote #101

" It's sort of the atomic level… It would be very unusual to someone

to be able to recognize their suit thread by thread – in the same way

people don't recognize typefaces letter by letter on the page. "

Matthew Carter

Quote #100

" …It has to do with 'mood-setting' before the message is delivered.

Typography is a hidden tool of manipulation within society.

All schools should be teaching typography; we should be fundamentally

aware of how typographic language is forming out assholes. "

Neville Brody

Quote #099

" A life rich in reading is the only path to thinking and creating. "

Mandy Brown't-read

Quote #098

" We realise now that long documents do not work on the web.

We should never have thought otherwise.

But all those short documents we’re reading instead are poisoning

our ability to read long documents. "

Joe Clark

Quote #097

" It is almost impossible to look and read at the same time: they are different actions. "

Gerard Unger (1942-)

While You’re Reading

Quote #096

" What they call Originality is achieved by getting down to

the root-principle underlying the practice.

From that origin you think your way back to the surface,

where you may find you’re breaking untrodden ground. "

Stanley Morison (1889-1967)

Typographic advisor to the Monotype Corporation

and the greatest type historian of the 20th Century.

Quote #095

" What a shame to our age for making books void of lasting. "

Honoré de Balzac (1799-1850)

Illusions Perduesé_de_Balzac

Quote #094

" Since typography is a communicaton method that utilizes a gathering

of related subjects and methodologies that includes sociology, linguistics,

psychology, aesthetics, and so much more – we aim to educate that there is

no single approach within typography that applies to everything. "

Shelley Gruendler

Quote #093

" I submit to you, if the kids today had to cast off, count character,

use a haberule and do the math.

There wouldn't be as many people wanting to pursue a Career in Design. "

Frank Briggs, DesignMaven

Quote #092

" Drawing is what I always loved the most. I discovered drawing type

is drawing in a very pure form. Because a type designer does not draw letters.

A type designer designs words and words are structures that contain patterns

of black and white shapes, form and counterform.

It is a game that deals with space and rhythm.

Which is precisely what, for me, is the essence of drawing. "

Cyrus Highsmith

Quote #091

" Type design is one of the most visible and widespread forms

of graphic expression in daily life. It is still not noticed by all

readers of newspapers, magazines or books. Nevertheless letter forms

reflect the style of a period, and its cultural background.

We are surrounded by them everywhere.

The designer of new typefaces works in extremely small dimensions in

shaping a letter, and he is also limited by the traditional forms of

the alphabet. There are few possibilities for new ideas, for a good design

should not have eccentric and unusual details.

But the compromises required in designing for metal type can be ignored

today because the new digital technology allows freedom in making new designs.

Typography is two-dimensional architecture, based on experience and

imagination, and guided by rules and readability. And this is the purpose

of typography: The arrangement of design elements within a given structure

should allow the reader to easily focus on the message, without slowing

down the speed of his reading. "

Hermann Zapf (1918-)

Quote #090

" Type is like music in having its own beauty, and in being beautiful

as an accompaniment and interpretation ; and typography can be used

to express a state of the soul, like the other arts and crafts.

But like them it is too often used mechanically, and so the full

expressiveness of this medium is unrealized. If it is used according to

a rule or recipe, it becomes dull and loses vividness.

Type appears at first to be a rigid medium ; but like other rigid media,

it is plastic to the living spirit of a craftsman. "

J.H. Mason

Quote #089

" To give a text an author is to impose a limit on that text,

to furnish it with a final signified, to close the writing.

In another words : we should abandon the society’s prejudgements

which destroys the writing and the reader. "

Roland Barthes (1916-1980)

Quote #088

" ‘Explain, explain,’ grumbled Étienne.

‘If you people can't name something you're incapable of seeing it.’ "

Cortázar, 1966, Hopscotch

Dennis Pelli

Quote #087

" The map is not the territory.

Shaping context & connection is an act of architecture.

A new form of space requires a new form of architecture.

Space made of information requires information architecture. "

Alfred Korzybski

Quote #086

" As we know a font’s characters are meant to all work with each other.

In a logo where we have fixed relationships we can draw the best possible

letterform combinations. "

Gerard Huerta

Quote #085

" Design thinking is about analyzing situations and becoming conscious. "

" Typography is what language looks like. "

" Are some free fonts a gift to humanity rather than a blight on typographic civilization ?"

Ellen Lupton

Quote #084

" Open Type License: The main purpose is to enable a true open

typographic community to spring up and grow. The OFL provides

a legal framework and infrastructure for worlwide development,

sharing and improvement of fonts and related software in a

collaborative manner.

Victor Gaultney

Quote #083

" Rudolf Rudovsky used to ask,

‘How do you expect to have great architecture when you wear such terrible clothes ?’ "

John Hudson

Quoted in Bringhurst’s essay ‘The typographic mind.’

Quote #082

" It is true that we were born with our eyes,

but they will only open slowly to beauty,

much more slowly than one thinks. "

Linotype Specimen of Sabon Next (2003), Part II, p. 6.

Quote #081

" I am really interested in type that isn't perfect.

Type that reflects more truly the imperfect language

of an imperfect world inhabited by imperfect beings. "

Barry Deck (1962-)

Quote #080

" Cognizing of 'things' is prior to cognizing of words.

And this priority must have applied to the development of language

in the species as well as it does to contemporary human individuals. "

Robert W. Rieber

Dialogues on the Psychology of Language and Thought (1983)

Quote #079

" The freedom of a motorist is conditioned upon observation

of the highway code. Ideally there should be no collisions,

and for that a system of rules is necessary. "

Otl Aicher

Typographie, 1988

Quote #078

" The grid system is an aid, not a guarantee.

It permits a number of possible uses and each designer can look for

a solution appropriate to his personal style. But one must learn

how to use the grid ; it is an art that requires practice. ”

Josef Müller-Brockmannüller-Brockmann

Quote #077

" Visual design is important in reaching ethnic audiences,

especially those for whom English is a second language.

In the first seconds that a person views a message – before even

reading a word, no matter what the language – it's the images

that hold the power to connect.

It's the images that make a viewer decide even whether to read a word. "

Ronnie Lipton

in "Designing Across Cultures"

Quote #076

" The interactivity is not just in the design but it`s in the evaluation of the work. "

David Berlow

Quote #075

“A Great Quote on Typography” thread,

Quote #074

" Reed College at that time offered perhaps the best calligraphy

instruction in the country. Throughout the campus every poster,

every label on every drawer, was beautifully hand calligraphed.

Because I had dropped out and didn’t have to take the normal classes,

I decided to take a calligraphy class to learn how to do this.

I learned about serif and san serif typefaces, about varying the

amount of space between different letter combinations, about what

makes great typography great.

It was beautiful, historical, artistically subtle in a way that

science can’t capture, and I found it fascinating.

None of this had even a hope of any practical application in my life.

But ten years later, when we were designing the first Macintosh

computer, it all came back to me. And we designed it all into the Mac.

It was the first computer with beautiful typography. If I had never

dropped in on that single course in college, the Mac would have never

had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts.

And since Windows just copied the Mac, its likely that no personal

computer would have them. If I had never dropped out, I would have

never dropped in on this calligraphy class, and personal computers

might not have the wonderful typography that they do.

Of course it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward

when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards 

ten years later."

Steve Paul Jobs (1955-)

Quote #073

" Common Typographic Diseases

Various forms of dysfunction appear among populations exposed to

typography for long periods of time. Listed here are a number of

frequently observed afflictions :


An excessive attachment to and fascination with the shape of letters,

often to the exclusion of other interests and object choices.

Typophiliacs usually die penniless and alone.


The irrational dislike of letterforms, often marked by a preference

for icons, dingbats, and—in fatal cases—bullets and daggers.

The fears of the typophobe can often be quieted (but not cured)

by steady doses of Helvetica and Times Roman.


A persistent anxiety that one has selected the wrong typeface.

This condition is often paired with okd (optical kerning disorder),

the need to constantly adjust and readjust the spaces between letters.


The promiscuous refusal to make a lifelong commitment to a single

typeface—or even to five or six, as some doctors recommend.

The typothermiac is constantly tempted to test drive "hot" new fonts,

often without a proper license. "

Ellen Lupton (1963-)

Quote #072

" Some people say that letters exist to be read and therefore the things

that interfere with legibility should be discouraged.

(This is a bit like saying that the purpose of liquor is to get you drunk.

If it were right, people would swig metal polish, and the farmers of Cognac,

Burgundy, and Champagne grow potatoes.) " 

Gunnlaugur S.E. Briem

Quote #071

" Read for knowledge and write with the goal of exploring ideas.

If students developed a genuine interest in their field, grades

would take a back seat, and holistic and intrinsically motivated

learning could take place. "

Aaron M. Brower

Quote #070

" In the first place, the typographer must be capable of analyzing ‘copy’

and if need be, re-ordering its structure. A thorough understanding of the use

of English is essential for him to handle efficiently any material given to him. "

Michael Twyman

Interim report of the Working Party on Typographic Teaching in 1968

Quote #069

" Your words don’t mean anything to your students if they can’t translate them into physical actions. "

Erica Rodefer

Quote #068

" How to make engineers write concisely with sentences ?

By combining journalism with the technical report format.

In a newspaper article, the paragraphs are ordered by importance,

so that the reader can stop reading the article at whatever point they lose interest,

knowing that the part they have read was more important than the part left unread.


State your message in one sentence.  That is your title.

Write one paragraph justifying the message.  That is your abstract.

Circle each phrase in the abstract that needs clarification or more context.

Write a paragraph or two for each such phrase.  That is the body of your report.

Identify each sentence in the body that needs clarification and write a paragraph

or two in the appendix. "

William A. Wood

Quote #067

" If you want to learn new things, you should try reading old books. "

Richard Cytowic

Quote #066

" Most people think typography is about fonts.

Most designers think typography is about fonts.

Typography is more than that, it’s expressing language through type.

Placement, composition, typechoice.

Information is language.

Typography is about language.  The web is language.  Who has a writing budget ?

Language has structure :

     words --> sentences

 sentences --> paragraphs

paragraphs --> groupings

 groupings --> sections

  sections --> document

Documents have a conceptual structure, made visible by headings, subheadings,

paragraphs, lists, tables ; all chunks of information.

In separating content and presentation, we’re losing art direction. "

Mark Boulton

Quote #065

" ...It is not surface, it is not the last thing that needs to be considered,

it is the thing itself. "

Stephen Fry

Quote #064

" Typography has one plain duty before it and that is to convey information in writing. "

Emil Ruder (1914-1970)

Quote #063

" Before digital typesetting and offset printing, there was the letterpress.

A typeface was composed of fonts, one font for each size.

These size-specific fonts consisted of individual letters made from metal alloy.

Single letters were placed by hand to create words, words were aligned into

sentences, sentences were stacked to make paragraphs, and these were inked and

pressed into paper. "

Kris Sowersby

Quote #062

" Humanist sans are typefaces to be read.  They may be drawn with only

one thickness of line (although not all of them are) so that they stand

foursquare on the page in the way that a modulated serif text face

usually does not, and they may be stripped of serifs so that they look

streamlined and somehow modern, but they have the forms we're used to

in a typeface for reading. They fit together well -- the best ones,

anyway -- and they flow along the line of text.  Most of them have true

italics, not just slanted versions of the roman letters, and the best

include old-style figures and small caps, which are attributes of a text face.

Readability isn't just a matter of serifs.

Some very talented type designers have given us a wealth of new tools

to work with ; let’s put them to use. "

John D. Berry

Quote #061

" For me the basis of all good text typefaces is writing

with a broad nibbed pen.  The contrasts in written characters

is derived in a natural way, and it is the type designer who

translates these contrasts in a printing type. It is not only

the contrast that comes into being, also the widths and proportions

within the characters flow from the pen. Making a seriffed typeface

based on a sans serif leads to unbalanced proportions.

I am of course not saying you cannot design a sans serif without

first making a seriffed typeface, there are a lot of fine sans

serifs that are designed without a written base.  But when a family

of serif and sans serif is created it is my conviction that the

seriffed version is the starting point. "

Martin Majoor

Quote #060

" It is my conviction that you cannot be a good type designer

if you are not a book typographer.

I am not talking here about display types but about text types.

A type designer must know how type works in a piece of text,

he must know what happens with the type on different sorts of paper,

he must know how a typeface behaves with different printing techniques. "

Martin Majoor

Quote #059

" A good typographer does what he should do, not what he wants to do.

While there are certainly many solutions to the problem of designing

any one book, the better solutions -- the solutions that are best for

the reader -- are often the simplest, or, appear to be the simplest.

Ironically, the careful and thoughtful work of the designer should

hardly appear at all to the casual reader lest he be distracted from

the content at hand.

The temptation to use typographic trickery can be overwhelming, but

the careful typographer must determine what is truly required to best

communicate the specific and coherent ideas of the author or artist.

Only when these ideas are conveyed -- no matter how delicious the paper

or precious the binding -- can a book be beautiful.

However, while we’re trying to convey those aforementioned ideas, why

not letterspace the small caps and insert oldstyle figures and leave

some room for your thumbs in the margins ?  That’s what we do -- even

if you don’t want to pay for it.  We just can’t help ourselves. "

Michael Russem

Quote #058

" Developing typefaces is an old craft.  Today, we see that typefaces

is getting a more and more important role in corporate identities.

It is recognized that a typeface is a strong element in the toolbox of

a visual identity.  We at Kontrapunkt would also like to pace typefaces

forward.  Having your own font is a subtle and elegant way to illuminate

identities. "

Bo Linnemann

Quote #057

" When it comes to contruction documents, then you have to design by computer,

because the procedure is mathematical, is digital.  You are still a craftman,

except that your tool is getting more sharp.  Architecture is the most imposing

art, but in the end it’s about beauty, it’s about truth, and it is unattainable !

We don’t impose a personal stamp ; we may impose our skill our coherence.

I love lightness; transparency is coherence.  We have a sense of inadequacy, when

you are just about to grab the vision you have, you face an immense gap, you find

that you arms are too short.

You only understand when the building is finished.  A new building, even if it is

beautiful it needs time.  Even a classic at its time it was modern, modernity is

a funny concept, you don’t really know what is good what is wrong.  This is the

problem of architecture, it is rational, but it is also very much about intuition.

Intuition when you are young it has not been informed by experience, that is why

hands are so important, to metabolize, so it seems the gesture of the hands are

closer to intuition than to the brain.  Every place has a little genius !

The building is a presence...  They sing only when they have a soul.

Still, poetry lasts more than a stone. "

Renzo Piano (1937-)

Quote #056

" We want to be both literary and professional, to keep small and think big. "

William D. Turnbull (1927-1991)

Quote #055

" [Sculpture]... should always give the impression, whether carved or modeled,

of having grown organically, created by pressure from within. "

Henry Moore (1898-1986)

Quote #054

" Language is not so much a creator or shaper of human nature,

so much as a window onto human nature. "

Steven Pinker

Quote #053

" Usually, and quite rightly, newspaper design is bound by the conventions

of its production and structure, by the fast turnaround of ideas that

precludes against overtly expressive design, and by the formal traditions,

craft and Victorian ideologies of the newspaper.

News designers live very much on the grid, working from templates, tied by

the rules of preassigned headline, text, caption sizes, precise spacing.

It is an exacting, dictatorial, inherently rigid view of the world of design.

The grid is the imperious king, with whom you do not mess.

Richard Turley

Quote #052

" I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free. "

Michelangelo Buonarroti

Quote #051

" Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing left to add,

but when there is nothing left to take away. "

Antoine de Saint Exupéryéry

Quote #050

" Words are defined as vehicles that takes us even mentally, spiritually, physically,

to places that we've never gone. "

Derek Luke

Quote #049

" When you have a writer that writes so movingly and ispiringly, all you have to do is act. "

Danielle Darrieux (1917-)

Quote #048

" On the Web, design is not a method for implementing narrative, as it is in print,

but rather it`s a method for making behaviors possible.  If one must compare the web

to other media, typography would be a better choice.

For a web design, like a typeface, is an environment for someone else's expression.

Architecture (the kind that uses steel and glass and stone) is also an apt comparison

-- or at least, more apt than poster design.  The architect creates planes and grids

that facilitate the dynamic behavior of people.  Having designed, the architect

relinquishes control.  Over time, the people who use the building bring out and add

to the meaning of the architect's design.

Web design is not book design, it is not poster design, it is not illustration,

and the highest achievements of those disciplines are not what web design aims for.

Web design is the creation of digital environments that facilitate and encourage human

activity ; reflect or adapt to individual voices and content ; and change gracefully

over time while always retaining their identity. "

Khoi Vinh

Quote #047

" Teaching allows focusing on problem solving, as Mies van der Rohe justly said,

 ‘in architecture one is confronted with problems for which one must find solutions.

The best architecture is the clearest and most direct solution to the problem’. "

Philippe Barrier (1952-)

Quote #046

" If all writing is information storage, then all writing is of equal value.

Each society stores information essential to its survival, the information which

enables it to function efficiently. There is in fact no difference between

prehistoric rock paintings, memory aids (mnemonic devices), wintercounts, tallies,

knotted cords, pictographic, syllabic and consonantal scripts, or the alphabet.

There are no primitive scripts, no forerunners of writing, no transitional scripts

as such (terms frequently used in books dealing with the history of writing),

but only societies at a particular level of economic and social development using

certain forms of information storage. If a form of information storage fulfills its

purpose as far as a particular society is concerned then it is (for this particular

society) 'proper' writing. "

Saki Mafundikwa

Quote #045

" The relevance of U&lc to designers and students today cannot be underestimated.

U&lc showed how typography could be used as an art form to facilitate communication

and convey ideas.  Lubalin and his predessesors often did it by hand or with photo-

lettering, whereas today we can use Illustrator and Photoshop.

But the goal is the same, to create design that has emotion and power.

The tools have evolved but the ingredients are the same—typefaces and the letterforms. "

Matt Warburton

Quote #044

" However, writing software without defects is not sufficient.

In my experience, it is at least as difficult to write software that is safe

-- that is, software that behaves reasonably under adverse conditions. "

Wietse Venema (1951-)

Quote #043

" Let us work with love and without fear of our faults,

those inevitable and habitual companions of the great qualities.

Yes, faults are qualities; and fault is superior to quality.

Quality stands for uniformity in the effort to achieve certain common perfections

accessible to anyone. Fault eludes conventional and banal perfections.

Therefore fault is multiple, it is life, it reflects the personality of the artist

and his character ; it is human, it is everything, it will redeem the work.

James Ensor (1860-1949)

Quote #042

" La lingua, parlata o scritta, è come un abito ;

  di un abito non ha senso dire « elegante » :

  sono le persone che sono eleganti. "

  " A spoken or written language is just like clothes ;

    it makes no sense to say « elegant » for a dress :

    it’s the persons who are elegant. "

Raffaello Fornaciari (1837-1917)

Quote #041

" You cannot understand typography and typefaces without knowledge

and you can’t keep that knowledge for only yourself.

Type design is a cultural act, not just a few lines of data in the corner

of a hard disk. "

Jean-François Porchez (1964-)

Quote #040

" This then is the scribe’s direct purpose : the making of useful things legibly beautiful. "

Edward Johnston (1872-1944)

Quote #039

" In reading, for example, the enunciation of a proposition, we are apt

to fancy, that for every word contained in it, there is an idea presented

to the understanding ; from the combination and comparison of which ideas,

results that act of the mind called judgement.

So different is all this from the fact, that our words, when examined

separately, are often as completely insignificant as the letters of which

they are composed; deriving their meaning solely from the connection, or

relation, in which they stand to others. "

Dugald Stewart (1753-1828)

Quote #038

" After the semitic invention of the alphabet, the invention of

the word is the single most important invention that I know.

The word – and with it reading – is what has made western civilisation

possible.  I want to take stock of this turning point in the story

of civilisation, but I cannot find reference to it in the history

books, nor in the paleographic corpus. Even in cultural-historical

literature the concept of the word does not make an appearance.

I had to seek out the invention of the word on my own from reproductions

of old manuscripts. If I can rely upon the dating of their origins,

then the word appears to have been invented in Ireland in the first

half of the seventh century. "

Gerrit Noordzij (1931-)

Quote #037

" Faces of type are like men’s faces.  They have their own expression ;

their complexion and peculiar twists and turns of line identify them

immediately to friends, to whom each is full of identity.”

J.L. Frazier

Quote #036

" The letters of the alphabet, the characters of a typeface,

are building blocks.  Besides being symbols to construct a written

language, they can be used to compose any visual impression imaginable.

To me, typography is the visual arrangement of letterforms and symbols.

Its style creates identity.  If the composition contains coherent

content, this visual identity will convey the message in a distinct

and original way.  A new expression.  A new impression.  A new corner

of the mind is opened. How exciting !"

Max Kisman (1953-)

Quote #035

" By all means break the rules, and break them beautifully,

deliberately, and well.  That is one of the ends for which they exist. "

Robert Bringhurst (1946-)

Quote #034

" In typography there is a fundamental relationship between the

physical image of the text and the visual apparatus of the reader.

For 2600 years of making and re-making, the breeding of the Roman

letter has been under way. Traditional type sizes are the product

of a lengthy accumulation of human attention.  Like a star

crystallized out of the heavens, like a species of creature, each

size of type is relatively absolute. It represents a reduction,

a cooking down of the reading and writing experience of many

generations. "

Sumner Stone (1945-)

Quote #033

" Type design is a craft.

All fonts are hand-made.

One learns by doing, not by theorizing.

Designers think with their hands, drawing on the left side of the brain.

If you think only with your right brain, your designs will lack grace.

Isn’t this why you are studying calligraphy ?"

Nick Shinn (1952-)

Quote #032

" When initially a narrative is imposed on the formal design

of the typeface, it can easily drop off later, but at least

that doesn’t lessen the usefulness of that narrative. "

Barry Deck (1962-)

Quote #031

" For me, typography is a triangular relationship between

design idea, typographic elements, and printing technique. "

Wolfgang Weingart (1941-)

Quote #030

" A lot of mathematics and technical knowledge are involved in

our work today.  I would not call us artists any more.  I think

'alphabet designer' is more accurate, and our comrade is no longer

the punchcutter but the electronics engineer.

If the technician learns that he doesn’t have to work with a crazy

artist, and the designer learns a little about electronics, they

will make an ideal team. It is still teamwork as it was in the good

old days of metal type. "

Hermann Zapf

Quote #029

" Have you noticed that life, real honest-to-goodness life,

with murders and catastrophes and fabulous inheritances,

happens almost exclusively in the newspapers ? "

Jean Anouilh (1910-1987), from The Rehearsal (1950)

Quote #028

" The digital imaging of paper books has nothing strategically

to do with preservation.  While the efficacies of Google searching

are obvious, the methods of digital preservation are vague and

problematic.  The only agenda advanced for digital preservation

is the concept of a ‘institutional digital depository’ that

transforms digital resources into near paper-like archives. "

Mary Sue Coleman

Quote #027

" Typography needs to be audible.  Typography needs to be felt.

Typography needs to be experiences. "

Helmut Schmid, "Typography Today", Idea mag.

Quote #026

" Just as there is nothing more boring than boredom, nothing more

exciting than excitement, nothing more loveable than love or hateful

than hatred, so there is nothing that arouses interest so much as

interest.  Interesting people are interested people, and an enthusiasm

- be it as thankless as birdwatching or as bizarre as philately - marks

out the enthusiast as a source of curious learning and a person with

a mind that glows. "

Roger Scruton (1944-), "On Hunting"

Leading British academic philosopher, founder of Claridge Press.

Quote #025

  " Letters

    continue to fall


    precise rain

    along my way.



    of all

    that lives

    and dies,

    letters of light,

    of moon,

    of silence,

    of water,

    I love you

    and in you

    I gather

    not only thought

    and combat,

    but your dress,


    and sounds :


    of glorious avena (oat),


    of trigo (wheat) and torre (tower)



    like your name

    of manzana (apple). "

'Ode to typography' by Pablo Neruda

translation from Spanish by Carlos Lozano

Quote #024

" I think it is generally agreed that picture writing was

the beginning of our lettering.  You might wish to communicate

something to someone at a distance.  If you have no letters

or none common both to you & your correspondent, what else

can you do but draw a picture ? — the language of pictures

is common to all.  After a time your pictures are used to signify

words and not simply things, and as the system develops

and communications become more precise, the pictures become

simpler and simpler, more & more conventional, and they come

to signify single sounds rather than whole words.

And the pictures, by now, have ceased to be pictures.  They are,

by now, hardly recognizable as representations of things :

they are conventional signs, & their pictorial origin is forgotten. "

Eric Gill (1882-1940)

from "An Essay on Typography", 1931

Quote #023

" In the workshop an astrarium is kept in continual motion :

a thing marvellous to behold; and other instruments are being made

for observing the heavens, as well as appliances for everyday use,

whose names it would be tedious to recite. Last of all it has been

decided to practise the wonderful art of making printing type for

lasting records, and may God prosper it !  Once that is mastered,

though the workman die soon after, death will have no bitterness

for him, knowing as he will that he has left to posterity a gift

to save them for ever after from want of books. "

Johann Regiomontanus (1436-1476)

from Carter`s "A View of Early Typography", pp. 40—41.

Quote #022

" Hermann Zapf designed his most famous typeface, Palatino,

more than half a century ago. The drawings were completed

in 1948, and by 1950 it was in use both as hand-set type

and as a hot-metal typeface set on Linotype machines.

In the early 1950s Zapf extended the Palatino family to include

Aldus, a version designed specifically for text setting,

and a pair of display variants (Michelangelo and Sistina),

as well as narrow and swash italics. "

John D. Berry

Quote #021

" I do love the vision you have for 'written word empowering.'

This is ethical science at its best. "

Victor Gaultney

Gentium (

Quote #020

" WYSIWYG.jpg "

The first proposal of designing letters on a Macintosh computer

Hermann Zapf received as a gift from Steve Jobs, Apple Computer

Corporation, Copertino, California in 1984.

Quote #019

" Although usually attributed to Jaugeon,

the contribution of a "technician" like Truchet was without doubt

decisive.  Indeed, all the manuscripts that have been preserved

were all signed by Truchet.  Their design is attributable to André

Jammes and James Mosley.  While Simoneau's printing plates have

been reproduced many times, his hand-written notes are little known.

Yet these are the equivalent of today`s AFMs (Metrics Font)

or hinting instructions. "

Jacques André on Sébastien Truchet (1657-1729)

Quote #018

" PornQ.gif "

Courtesy of Lucas de Groot, (c) 1994, FUSE, FontShop Berlin.

"Forbidden Letters" article at Sdz.

Quote #017



†°¢£§•¶ß®©™´¨≠ÆØ∞±≤≥¥µ∂∑∏π∫ªºΩæø¿¡¬√ƒ≈∆«»… ÀÃÕŒœ–—“”‘’÷◊ÿŸ⁄€‹›fifl‡·


ASCII (1963-)

Quote #016

" A word is not a crystal, transparent and unchanged ;

it is the skin of a living thought, and may vary greatly

in color and content according to the circumstances

and the time in which it is used. "

Oliver Wendell Holmes (1809-1894)

Quote #015

" I have made this letter longer then usual because I lacked

the time to make it shorter. "

Blaise Pascal (1623-1662)

Quote #014

" I dip my pen in the blackest ink,

because I'm not afraid of falling into my inkpot. "

Jean Larcher

Quote #013

" The only complete reading is that which transforms the book

into a simultaneous network of reciprocal relations. "

Jean Rousset (1910-2002)

Quote #012

" Come to the edge

He said. They said : We are afraid.

Come to the edge

He said. They came.

He pushed them, and

they flew... "

Guillaume Apollinaire (1880-1918)

Quote #011

" If this is calligraphy, then it is calligraphy without precedent. "

Brody Neuenschwander

Quote #010

" But I don`t need to draw more letters, I got the soul. "

Kivanç Kuphan

Quote #009

" I`m also interested in calligraphy and occasional book-burning. "

Sergej Malinovski

Quote #008

" If you remember the shape of your spoon at lunch,

it has to be the wrong shape.

The spoon and the letter are tools ;

one to take food from the bowl,

the other to take information off the page...

When it is a good design, the reader has to feel comfortable

because the letter is both banal and beautiful. "

Adrian Frutiger

Quote #007


What is left in nowadays life.

Or what one can afford to take away,

in a more Zen approach. "


Quote #006

" There are strong arguments that music inhabits a semiological realm

which, on both ontogenetic and phylogenetic levels, has developmental

priority over verbal language. "

Yuri Lotman (1922-1993)

Quote #005

" Typographical design should perform optically

what the speaker creates through voice and gesture of his thoughts. "

El Lizzitsky

Quote #004

" Give me a laundry list and I`ll set it to music. "

Gioacchino Rossini (1792–1868)

Quote #003

" Lettering is a precise art and strictly subject to tradition.

The 'New Art' notion that you can make letters whatever shapes you like,

is as foolish as the notion, if anyone has such a notion,

that you can make houses any shapes you like.

  You can`t, unless you live all by yourself on a desert island. "

Stanley Morison (1889-1967)

Quote #002

" Seems normal that generation of men & women addressed themselves

to writing and printing to keep and to share their most deep hopes,

intuitions, dreams and fears. "

Robert Bringhurst (1946-)

Quote #001

" There is nothing simple or dull in achieving the transparent page.

Vulgar ostentation is twice as easy as discipline.  When you realise

that ugly typography never effaces itself, you will be able to capture

beauty as the wise men capture happiness by aiming at something else. "

Beatrice Warde (1900-1969), "The Cristal Goblet"

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