2B.THE NON-DESIGNER'S TYPE BOOK
With the advent of the Macintosh computers and desktop publishing, type
design—for the first time on earth—was put into the hands of the masses.
More important than that, I believe, is that a mass interest in type was
sparked—many people who never noticed typefaces before suddenly were
wondering about the fonts on billboards and bread wrappers. With the
power to create personal typefaces and to manipulate their layout on the
screen, all the rules of traditional design and typography were demolished.
Who knows where this typographic anarchy will lead to, but it is certainly
fun and exciting to watch (and to use!).
Fringe typefaces (also variously called grunge, garage, deconstructive, edge,
lawless, or just plain ugly) are typically distorted, schizophrenic, deliber¬
ately trashed, often difficult to read. But they are certainly identifiable and
different from any other typefaces in history, and many are exquisitely
beautiful in their ugliness. And they are incredibly fun to use. You might
want to check out a fun book of mine called A Blip in the continuum, illus¬
trated byJohnTollett, that is simply a celebration of ugly type.
Fringe typefaces—aren't they amazing?
I love them.
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I : CENTURIES OF TYPE. 27
Script and decorative typefaces have popped up in just about every period
of typographic history. Script faces, of course, emulate handlettering in
many varieties—blackletter (as in many of the Bibles handlettered by
scribes), calligraphic (as in wedding invitations), drafting (as in architects'
drawings), cartoon, and so on. No one has much trouble identifying type¬
faces in this category.
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Décoratives are quite noticeable as well—the fonts made of ballet shoes or
rope or Japanese pagodas or eraser dust. Decorative faces are not meant for
anything else except to be decorative, which is far from an idle occupation.
They can add punch to a publication, create a definite "look," or emphasize
the content. If overused, they can destroy a design.
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