Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve collected some of my favourite design, lettering, font and typography quotes from a variety of sources and decided to visualise them. Similar to a project I did in uni called IAMITHINKTWENTY-ONE where poetic quotes and sayings were illustrated typographically to form posters.
I think one of my favourite typography quotations has to be from Ellen Lupton, who, amongst other ‘titles’ is the curator of contemporary design at Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum in New York. She sums it up perfectly:
“Typography is what language looks like.”
Sorry to say I didn’t keep the original sources, but the author of the quotes are listed.
What are your favourite quotes on typography and lettering in general? I’d love to add to the list with your suggestions below.
Typography Quotes and Links
- No other design discipline requires so much learning and training as fontography, and by no other aspect can amateurs be so easily distinguished from professionals. To be font literate, a designer has to study the history and the principles of font design – Dmitry Kirsanov.
- Geometry can produce legible letters but art alone makes them beautiful. Art begins where geometry ends, and imparts to letters a character transcending mere measurement. – Paul Standard.
- Calligraphy reveals such different aspects of the human being as moral virtues, personal opinion of the beauty, and also immediate feelings of the minute. It helps leave a large footprint on the sands of time. It is impossible that life processes and phenomena do not influence the artist. – Samvel Vanoyan.
- It has to do with ‘mood-setting’ before the message is delivered. Typography is a hidden tool of manipulation within society. All schools should be teaching typography; we should be fundamentally aware of how typographic language is forming out assholes. – Neville Brody.
- It is almost impossible to look and read at the same time: they are different actions. – Gerard Unger.
- Since typography is a communication method that utilizes a gathering of related subjects and methodologies that includes sociology, linguistics, psychology, aesthetics, and so much more – we aim to educate that there is no single approach within typography that applies to everything. – Shelley Gruendler.
- Drawing is what I always loved the most. I discovered drawing type is drawing in a very pure form. Because a type designer does not draw letters. A type designer designs words and words are structures that contain patterns of black and white shapes, form and counterform. It is a game that deals with space and rhythm. Which is precisely what, for me, is the essence of drawing. – Cyrus Highsmith.
- As we know a font’s characters are meant to all work with each other. In a logo where we have fixed relationships we can draw the best possible letterform combinations. – Gerard Huerta.
- Most people think typography is about fonts. Most designers think typography is about fonts. Typography is more than that, it’s expressing language through type. Placement, composition, typechoice. Information is language. Typography is about language. The web is language. – Mark Boulton.
- Typography has one plain duty before it and that is to convey information in writing. – Emil Ruder.
- Typography needs to be audible. Typography needs to be felt. Typography needs to be experienced. – Helmut Schmid.
- Negative space is magical-create it, don’t just fill it up! – Timothy Samara.
- For me, typography is a triangular relationship between design idea, typographic elements, and printing technique. – Wolfgang Weingart.
- By all means break the rules, and break them beautifully, deliberately and well. That is one of the ends for which they exist. – Robert Bringhurst.
- Don’t underestimate [typography’s] importance. The best ideas, the most beautiful imagery, the most harmonious colour combinations will be blighted by inferior typography. So work at it, study it. Look at all those great names in graphic design history; Tschichold, Schleger, Rand, Fletcher, Aicher, Muller-Brockmann; and look at their beautiful type. They understood the need to understand it. – Richard Weston.
- Typography is what language looks like. – Ellen Lupton.
- There are now about as many different varieties of letters as there are different kinds of fools. – Eric Gill.
- Perfect typography is certainly the most elusive of all arts. Sculpture in stone alone comes near it in obstinacy. – Jan Tschichold.
- The most popular typefaces are the easiest to read; their popularity has made them disappear from conscious cognition. It becomes impossible to tell if they are easy to read because they are commonly used, or if they are commonly used because they are easy to read. – Zuzana Licko.
- Any good typeface can be completely destroyed when misused or extensively overused. Helvetica seemed to sustain a beating like no other. Still fresh, still popular Helvetica is king. – Alexander Gelman.