Justification for perfectionist type designers

eliason's picture

from Fournier's Manuel Typographique (1760s)

The punchcutter should neglect no means of imparting to his work the greatest perfection. Before entering upon it he should consider deeply of everything that may help to give it the greatest possible beauty. Unlike many trades, in which indifferent productions find a use proportionate to their worth, printing must have the best: not even the second best will serve; for it costs as much to cast and print ill-cut letters as to cast and print the very best; therefore if the punchcutter lack the necessary skill, the founder and the printer who reproduce his work, the one on metal and the other on paper, neither being in the least able to alter it, will only be giving permanent proof of his ignorance and dishonouring printing.


dezcom's picture


1985's picture


Stickley's picture

Another great quote in that vein, from Linotype's 1923 The Manual of Linotype Typography:

The staffs of many printing offices lack any one with sufficient technical knowledge and creative feeling to originate pages beyond the commonplace. As a result, the output suffers from uninspired monotony, and there is nothing to attract new business, or to develop old customers into larger users of print.

In other printing offices, no attempt is made to create even commonplace pages. Instead of this, books and catalogues already issued are used as models and copied boldly. Unfortunately, the type pages so imitated are frequently inferior, or, at best, the imitation is only an imitation, because the imitator has not grasped the principles which make the original design good.

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