Sunday, 31 August 2008

Bains and Haslams ‘Type and Typography’

I recently read a copy of Bains and Haslams book ‘Type and Typography’ in which they pointed out that one of the key problems with type is that it can sometimes fail to get across crucial elements of our sound system (such as expressions, gestures, emphasis, age, accents etc) – it ‘irons them out’. Up until this point I had never really seen type as having these effects, however as I began to think about type does loose these vital characteristics that we take for granted in speech. For example we have all received an email, a text message or instant message that we have taken the wrong way or misunderstood because type has ironed expressions. It is interesting to see how the use of ‘smiles’ and expressions such as ‘lol’ have begun to be used in day to written (or typed) correspondence to get round these problems. Bains and Haslam obviously point out that as designers we are normally able to use typography creatively to get around these issues however we do need to be careful to make sure messages aren’t misread.

Another interesting point from the book is that large amounts of black copy on a white background can put a strain on our eyes – for that reason books are often printed on an off white stock.

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