Words to Design By

The following words to design by, from the pen of Lucian Bernhard, were written in January 1929—a year that started brightly and came to a crushing halt on October 29 with the  devastating collapse of U.S. stock market prices. After that, type and graphic design did not seem as important. But, surprisingly, it was. Type was one of the tools that the designers for industry used to help resuscitate the economy—a small tool, obviously, but part of the push to rebuild the consumer society. But I digress. Funnily, in characterizing “today’s reader,” Bernhard seems to be describing today’s issues:

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For more of Steven Heller on typography, check out Texts on Type: Critical Writings on Typography at MyDesignShop.com.

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4 COMMENTS

  1. Typography certainly does follow the “fashion of the era” (including music and all the media that surrounds it) – but it’s not the “font”. Past genres such as Punk, Grunge displayed a style to match the society at the time. Punk was chaotic and disorganised (the graphics being organised chaos – if that makes sense). Grunge had it’s broken and bitsy look. Today we have a mixture of the two with a fresh twist. Some of it is clean and precise (often with rounded touches etc) and some has a random “feel”. No one person/designer creates this look – it evolves as society moves forward. As long as you are receptive to this change, you can be a slight step ahead of the inevitable evolution.

  2. Love the clean, balanced design and message to go with it. Curious mentions of music, I’d love to see a study of evolving musical styles and typography since art always reflects culture. Is there a rap font?