A great quote

illix's picture


I'm doing a workshop on saturday for some 17-18 year olds.
It's an itroduction to graphic design, one of the seven topics will be Typography.
Any suggestion for an inthused quote of someone that I can open up this topic with?

microspective's picture

"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
The Elements of Typographic Style

Oliver Wehn's picture

2006 we did some typographic compositions in the typography class in Basel during our first year at the academy with our professor Philipp Stamm. We worked with the words of a quote by Kurt Schwitters taken from his script «Die neue Gestaltung in der Typografie» (loose translation: «The New Design in Typography») he did in 1930. It's:

«Gestaltung ist Einheit aus Vielheit, durch Auswahl, Begrenzung, Gliederung, Rhythmus, durch ruhendes oder gerichtet bewegtes Gleichgewicht, durch System.»

I would translate it this way:
«Design is unity out of multiplicity, by selection, limitation, formation, rhythm, via static or directedly moved balance, via a system.»

He also writes «Die neue Typografie erfasst alles durch Gestaltung.» what means «The new typography compasses anything through design» – just to link the two terms in this context.

Si_Daniels's picture

"Reed College at that time offered perhaps the best calligraphy instruction in the country. Throughout the campus every poster, every label on every drawer, was beautifully hand calligraphed. Because I had dropped out and didn't have to take the normal classes, I decided to take a calligraphy class to learn how to do this. I learned about serif and san serif typefaces, about varying the amount of space between different letter combinations, about what makes great typography great. It was beautiful, historical, artistically subtle in a way that science can't capture, and I found it fascinating.

None of this had even a hope of any practical application in my life. But ten years later, when we were designing the first Macintosh computer, it all came back to me. And we designed it all into the Mac. It was the first computer with beautiful typography. If I had never dropped in on that single course in college, the Mac would have never had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts. And since Windows just copied the Mac, its likely that no personal computer would have them. If I had never dropped out, I would have never dropped in on this calligraphy class, and personal computers might not have the wonderful typography that they do. Of course it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards ten years later."

logosam's picture

Milton Glaser once said to our graphic design class at SVA,"There are three responses to a piece of design – yes, no, and WOW! Wow is the one to aim for."
Hope this helps, it informed my work for the rest of my life.

Si_Daniels's picture

"Wow is the one to aim for.”

Providing the Wow is properly kerned.

Cheers, Si

Alessandro Segalini's picture

That was witty, Simon !
What about "I have no special gift. I am only passionately curious" by Albert Einstein ? — or "The interactivity is not just in the design but it's in the evaluation of the work" by David Berlow.

eliason's picture

Good stuff from Charles Eames here.

illix's picture

Thanx everybody.
Yes, it should be one shape excitement after the other when it comes to type. I love it. Thanx guys. In return is a visual a C I did for a logo that was never chosen.

Chris Rugen's picture

"...it might be said that designers are content to bring a certain artistry to their work, and to recognize that there is much in common between the few masters in any field -- fine-art, design, science, medicine, philosophy -- more, perhaps, than unites the very disparate standards that coexist in any one profession."

-Norman Potter, 'What is a designer: things.places.messages

Chris Rugen's picture

And the following, which is long for a quote, but is a vital idea in design, whether you agree or disagree with Warde's conclusions. There are a few good quotes in there you could pull out:

"Imagine that you have before you a flagon of wine. You may choose your own favorite vintage for this imaginary demonstration, so that it be a deep shimmering crimson in colour. You have two goblets before you. One is of solid gold, wrought in the most exquisite patterns. The other is of crystal-clear glass, thin as a bubble, and as transparent. Pour and drink; and according to your choice of goblet, I shall know whether or not you are a connoisseur of wine. For if you have no feelings about wine one way or the other, you will want the sensation of drinking the stuff out of a vessel that may have cost thousands of pounds; but if you are a member of that vanishing tribe, the amateurs of fine vintages, you will choose the crystal, because everything about it is calculated to reveal rather than to hide the beautiful thing which it was meant to contain.

"Bear with me in this long-winded and fragrant metaphor; for you will find that almost all the virtues of the perfect wine-glass have a parallel in typography. There is the long, thin stem that obviates fingerprints on the bowl. Why? Because no cloud must come between your eyes and the fiery heart of the liquid. Are not the margins on book pages similarly meant to obviate the necessity of fingering the type-page? Again: the glass is colourless or at the most only faintly tinged in the bowl, because the connoisseur judges wine partly by its colour and is impatient of anything that alters it. There are a thousand mannerisms in typography that are as impudent and arbitrary as putting port in tumblers of red or green glass! When a goblet has a base that looks too small for security, it does not matter how cleverly it is weighted; you feel nervous lest it should tip over. There are ways of setting lines of type which may work well enough, and yet keep the reader subconsciously worried by the fear of 'doubling' lines, reading three words as one, and so forth."

"The Crystal Goblet or Printing Should be Invisible"
from Beatrice Warde, The Crystal Goblet, Sixteen Essays on Typography, Cleveland, 1956

Alessandro Segalini's picture

Simon, did you quote Steve Jobs' commencement speech 2005 at Stanford University ?

Si_Daniels's picture

Yes - sorry didn't attribute the quote - thought people would recognize it. Students need to realize who invented computer typography.

venticaratteruzzi's picture

I see graphic design as the organization of information that is semantically correct, syntactically consistent and pragmatically understandable.

We need to aim at essential things, to remove every redundant effects, every useless flowering, to elaborate a concept on mathematical bases, on fundamental ideas, on elementary structures; we strongly need to avoid waste and excess.

An image can only be one element in constructing a sequence of understanding.

Alessandro Segalini's picture

And your "venti caratteruzzi" comes from Galileo Galilei, right ?

Charles_borges_de_oliveira's picture

"The lettering artist is the graphic designers best friend" - James Fedor

Alessandro Segalini's picture

Charles, that was written by Saul Bass and Harold Adler ; )

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