Typography ≠ lettering ≠ writing

Typography can look like lettering (Liza Pro, fancy opentype faces) but it’s not. It can even look like writing (formal scripts or handwriting fonts like FF Mister K), with the major parts of the letter or whole words formed of one stroke.
In the same way lettering can look like typography (rub-down letters, fine rendering) orwriting and still has nothing to do with those techniques.
The key nature of typography is, that it makes use of prefabricated glyphs, which are set with the help of machines according to abstract parameters.
If you send a setting instructions like the following to someone at the other end of the world, he will be able ro reproduce the exact same column of text, typographically, but never with one of the other methods.
Typographic parameters: typeface Nitty Mono light, 14/18 pt, flush left, tracking 0, 6 mm indent in first line of paragraph, none in first line of column, line length 14 cm

Typography can look like lettering (Liza Pro, fancy OpenType fonts) but it’s not the same. It can even look like writing (formal scripts or handwriting fonts like FF Mister K), where the major parts of the letter or whole words are formed out of one stroke. In the same way lettering can look like typography (rub-down letters, fine rendering) or writing and still has nothing to do with those techniques.

The key nature of typography is that it makes use of prefabricated glyphs which are set according to abstract parameters. If you send a setting instructions like the following to someone at the other end of the world, he will be able to reproduce the exact same column of text, typographically, but never with one of the other methods.

Typographic parameters are font, size, leading, alignment (justified or ragged), tracking, kerning, line length like for example in:
ITC Garamond light, 14/18 pt, flush left, no hyphenation, tracking 0, line length 140 mm, paragraphs indented by 1 em.

 

 

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6 Comments

  1. Posted 23. December 2010 at 14:16 | Permalink

    Totally agree. Well put :-)

  2. Indra Kupferschmid
    Posted 23. December 2010 at 14:22 | Permalink

    Ha, now that I’ve found someone at the other end of the world … do you have Nitti on your computer? :)

  3. Posted 24. December 2010 at 04:13 | Permalink

    unfortunately no! :-(

  4. Posted 25. December 2010 at 01:05 | Permalink

    *but* we could perform the same test with a more universal font, say Calibri? And also we would need to use the same piece of text :-)

  5. Posted 3. January 2011 at 03:12 | Permalink

    checking out nitti – i think i prefer nitti typewriter :-)

  6. Posted 15. February 2011 at 23:16 | Permalink

    great little intro to non-designers!

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