The Path for Redemption

Reading through Lupton’s book has been both a learning and a condemn. It opened up an absolutely new world for me and this world has nothing to do with the one I used to habit in terms of typography and text design. It was impossible for me not to read every section of the book Thinking with Type and not to think about all the type crimes I’ve been systematically committing in my presentations, papers, flyers, blog posts, and every single writing I’ve done so far. Starting with what typeface to choose, how to combine caps, small caps, lowercases to the alignment of the text, the disposition of it in space and the different meanings it may carry…in sum, almost unlimited possibilities to be used with proper knowledge and wisdom. As Lupton says, the interesting thing about her book is that the emphasis on typography is an emphasis

“on with - typography is a tool for doing things with: shaping content, >giving language a physical body, enabling the social flow of messages” (9).

Moreover, another aspect highlighted by the author is that from what typeface to choose to its size, all is a matter of context.

“Scale is physical.People intuitively judge the size of objects in relation >to their own bodies and environments.

Changes in scale help create visual contrast, movement and depth, as well as express hierarchies of importance. And this is really important. I believe that it’s not only a matter of what you’re saying, but how you’re saying it. The Form complements and enriches your content. I’ve personally always thought in that way, and loved well designed sites and blogs, but when it was my own work, I wasn’t able to replicate all the things I liked from others.

Moving from the letter to the text, I found super interesting the different meanings that you can create simply by using a particular arrangement of the letters in space. In a few words, saying less by showing differently. Another aspect of the text to be mindful of are paragraphs. And there again, when reading to all the do not practices for having a paragraph properly display on the web, I felt ashamed of all the overused I’ve been doing so far.

All right. I’ve been committing so many type crimes. But, should I have known how to do it right? Or under a better design? Maybe I could have looked for myself some guides for graphic design, I should have talked to some friends for best practices and tips, I could have also be more mindful between the relation of the content and the form. I definitely could and should have done all of that. And we, as students, graduate or undergraduate, could receive some training on that. We’re in a way pushed to work in multiple environments, and the digital is becoming a key one. Because of that, design should be part of our training, as it would enrich our scholarship. Again, for me the form complements and enhance the content. Putting a deliberate effort in design, in thinking both what and how we’re saying things, is a practice that can only add value to our work. Although not explicitly, our readers will appreciate it. It may take time, learning, practice and working with many unknown concepts and tools, but I think that it’s worth it.

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