“Typography is beyond letters. It tells a story beyond words.”

– Carlos Segura, type designer

The purpose of design—and of typography as part of design—is to communicate. There is a misconception at newspapers that communication means only to disseminate information, and design’s role in communicating is to provide structure and clarity. Only part of communication is information. Tone, gesture, emotion and context can say just as much as the words. Design—and typography—communicates by informing AND expressing.

A typeface is a drawing of an alphabet and its punctuation. Well, actually, a single typeface is two alphabets: Roman capitals and minuscule lowercase. And they’re not the only alphabets we use. There’s also italic, script, hand-written cursive, blackletter—and probably an evolving digital one.

This is quite amazing, when you think of it. We have adopted many different alphabets. We understand and seamlessly blend together many letter variations, structured quite differently and then widely stylized (from Grotesques to slab serifs).

This indicates that at its core, typography is inherently mutable and unfettered.


[For complete paper, use “download PDF” button above. Control-click to save linked file to desktop.]

paper 3 info This paper was handed out during the second of two typography talks for the Seattle Times. This is a more creative discussion about typography.
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