And other ridiculous categories of type
with Robert Bringhurst
For those of you who have read The Elements of Typographic Style, you probably agree with us when we say it is an absolute gem. Bringhurst writes about typography in the poetic form it damn well deserves. Perhaps one of the most enjoyable bits of text happens when Bringhurst begins to rant about contents pages in recipe books:
“The two favourite ways of destroying such an opportunity are setting great chasms of space that the eye cannot leap without help from the hand, and setting unenlightening rows of dots that force the eye to walk the width of the page like a prisoner being escorted back to its cell.”
Did he just compare leader dots to prisoners? Yes, yes he did.
Among the many gems, Bringhurst presents a classification system based in chronology and calligraphy. Bringhurst describes the eight divisions that make up his system in his usual poetry: Renaissance (15th & 16th centuries), Baroque (17th century), Neoclassical (18th century), Romantic (18th and 19th centuries), Realist (19th & early 20th centuries), Geometric Modernist (20th century), Lyrical Modernist ( 20th century) and Postmodern (late 20th & early 21st century).
Bringhurst uses the same name for serif and sans serif faces. He combines the two in one category based on style and chronology. For example, a Realist Sans Serif would have an unmodulated stroke and vertical axis. A Realist Serif would be exactly the same in style with the edition of abrupt feet with equal weight.
Is this the solution we have been looking for? Afraid not. While classifying faces by is certainly an intriguing idea, without separating by serifs and sans the classifications are too broad. Regardless, we ❤ you Bringhurst.
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