What is the future of type?
"There will always be type, and as long as designers like difference, there will always be unusual typefaces for eccentric applications." So believes designer and author Steven Heller, but what do you think the future holds for type?
Designer Sarah Hyndman has been posing the question (via #Futureoftype) in preparation for an event at the St Bride Workshop on May 2. Part of her Type Tasting series, it promises to be "a workshop exploring Victorian display typefaces from the St Bride Library collection whilst discussing the future of type.
"Type samples from the collection will be available as templates so you can recreate the letters by hand," Hyndman says. "These will range from Grotesque sans serifs of the 19th century to the decorative letters by Louis Jean Pouchée. During the evening you will hand render tweets received about the topic. These will be combined to create the Steampunk style Twitter feed and form the basis for the group discussion."
As well as Heller, various other design luminaries have shared their view:
"The future of type is the same as football: everyone does it, and even more people have an opinion about it. Only a few make a living out of it, and some of these are very good," says designer, educator, typographer Petr van Blokland while when Design Week posed the question to Erik Spiekermann, he responded "You might as well ask “What is the future of mankind?”. Why could anybody ask such a general and unspecific question? I’ll still answer it. The future of type is the past of type: visual language. As long as we speak and write, we’ll have type. Different voices, different messages, different media: different type." Quite.
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Great read. Typography has been so heavily influenced by new media, at last it is now free... almost
I think there will be an even greater blend of print based typefaces and web based typefaces.
I have noticed examples of type also being influenced by the popular HTML styling language CSS where for example the idea and style of using a 1px text shadow has been reproduced for printed media so that both the web and print type match each other.
Another example I saw used CSS to recreate the colour offset effect that can happen when printing using CMYK plates on a printing press.
Web platforms like Adobe TypeKit also bring web based type and print based type closer together as this platform makes many of the print based typefaces available to web designers.
Type is dead.
We'll all be communicating solely via QR codes, instagram and gestures within the next three years. It's a new innovative paradigm.
Thank you for the comments I'll add them to the discussion tonight...
Justin's point of typography becoming free (almost) is one that has come up, along with the question—if fonts are free what incentives are there for designers to create new ones?
Matthew's point links to the convergence of web and printed type. When the printing press was first invented printers imitated handwriting for the first hundred years or so. Developments in type design started when it moved away from handwriting and fonts were designed for print. What happens when type on the web moves away from print?
'Type is dead' is a great opener, thank you I might just use that tonight! ...and sound? It's looking like Google Glass will have us all chatting away to ourselves.
Type will never die, Jan Tschichold and Eric Gill, Johnstone and Bodoni, Caslon, Goudy, TImes and all the wonderful old tye faces, with their classic shapes and cursives will endure it never goes away.
The computer has meant it is less carefully placed in a given area and there is less time for loving care and attention to detail but I hope typography will prevail always.
When I studied typography in LCP as it was then (London College of Priniting) we were lucky enough to have a foundry in the basement with hot metal type and letterpress and linottype machines, we hand rendered every project and it took forever but were truly beautiful works at final year show time.
we learnt composing and beautiful book binding also, how great was that?
I came out and worked at designing large coffee table books for Dorling Kinderlsy and started my own exhibition design company back in Ireland where I am from. Now I work in digital marketing so it has been a long journey but beautiful typography will always be my first love and will remain in my heart and soul and be enjoyed forever
. I hope the younger guys get the same great chances in this modern digital age. Please send me links to your site so I can see how it went.thanks, Caroline
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