Two tweets from my drafts

What’s the reason for the current thin-skinnedness in type all-around? I think, constant aggressive marketing causing stress and jadedness, and
and sheer Existenzangst. Can’t blame anyone for being sensitive. Might need more fundamental changes than just shutting up in public though.

  • There’s no doubt that tensions are high in the type field. There are more overreaching statements than ever; and perhaps more overreactions, too. “Thin-skinned” is one way at looking at it. But another way to look at it is to consider that some folks would like to see more thoughtful criticism than snark — especially when reviewing the work of a colleague. I wouldn’t want anyone to shut up; I’d like to see them write more. One sentence reviews are fun, but maybe lazy. One word reviews are just lame. People look up to folks like Erik for informed guidance. I don’t think he’s a hater, but I think he can do better. I think we can all do better.

  • When people get in these sorts of fights on the Internet, I get really pissed. On the other hand, I occassion start a Twitter-war myself, so I am as guilty as many other type people.

    I see both aides of this. As a creator of anything, it really sucks when anyone – especially someone you know – posts vague, one sentence (or one video) criticism of your work. How are you supposed to react to that? If they had written a detailed five paragraph essay, at least you could write a similar essay in response. THAT is civilized dialog, and I wish we had more of that. I do not know whether to blame Twitter or discussion boards (nobody wrote thoughtful essays on Typophile or Typedrawers, either … those are open agoras, not a magazine’s editorial pages or letters to the editor section; blogs were always superior media to discussion boards).

    On the other hand, the current type culture sometimes really sucks. We all know each other, and we are all involved in everyone else’s projects in one way or another (or we worked together in the past, or we know/hope we might work together in the future, etc.). We have come to the point were this level of mutual intimacy makes it impossible to even mildly criticize anyone else’s work without their feelings being genuinely hurt. Not every conference is well put together, and not every article has had enough research put into to withstand even the least amount of objective academic or journalistic scrutiny. Each case could represent hours, months, or years of labor … often unpaid labor. But to publish anything means that you have to be willing to accept criticism (in your conference/article/typeface/etc. you forgot to includ this one thing I think is import!). This kind of criticism HAS to be able to be made publicly. First, because that is the whole damn point of the publishing/reading/discussing dialog. And secondly because there is often a good reason why the publisher had left something out! When that back and forth happens in public, rather than in private emails, then the community benefits from the discussion.

    Still nothing is going to change, because we have all become jaded as fuck.

  • I agree. And yes, I think there is more grumbling going on in the type industry these days than a few years ago. As already briefly mentioned above, I see several things leading to this:

    – the huge market pressure MT is putting on everyone, indies and MT’s own employees (see how their people are frustrated and react to critique)

    – the “price” pressure put on the commercial market by open source, zero-priced fonts for end users

    – customers being super tired by the pushy type marketing of sales, flash sales, other sales, and discounts, trying not to miss out on a deal, feeling cheated on if they buy something at full price, feeling unsure about what a reasonable price even constitutes with all the discounts and free offers going on

    – type designers and indie foundries feeling pushed against a wall by changing contracts and dependencies, reacting strongly and frustrated, pondering how to save their ass

    – and as a reaction and to try to stay afloat are also marketing like crazy, accelerating the competitiveness and the touting for customers and clients

    I don’t know how to break this cycle, but I know that this is contributing to the current sentiment in the industry. It is certainly not the one-line reviews to blame for this. I agree with Dan, everyone who puts themselves out into the world has to live with reactions, and we should be able to have critical discussions, too. If we feel shot in the foot my someone, not sure the right reaction is to shoot the other person – or even more people around us – in the foot, too, though.

    Stephen, instead of tweeting three tweets in a row, you could also write a short comment/post on Typographica or somewhere. I tried to revive the blog-venue for myself this year. I don’t want to let anyone dictate in what form or extensiveness I will write about what I think should be written about there, but everyone is free to disagree with that of course. And to write up their own view.

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