If you think design criticism is a new phenomenon, think again. In the November 1928 of Monotype, Frederic W. Goudy (above), America’s leading type designer, sounded the charge against flagrant typographic practice.
“The insatiable demand for novelty in printing is giving us, just now, a senseless & ridiculous riot of ‘beautiful atrocities.’ Former products of ignorance and eccentricity are revived & new designs even more bizarre are contributed to present day printing. The efforts of the few (who retain their sanity) to prevent printing reverting to the innocuousness of the last century are rendered difficult and of little avail by the inundation of freak types.”
Like today’s popular semi-literacy in type, owing to the computer, yesterday’s technologies trigger typographic interest:
“The increasing interest in lettering and printing type & the greater appreciation of fine printing on the part of readers has suggested it might also be interesting if an experienced designer of type should set down somewhat of the mental processes that lead to the production of a new type face.”
For your enjoyment, I reproduce a portion of Goudy’s essay “Art in Type-Design,” an articulate explanation of process and proclivity.