I have been thinking about the subtle modulations available within a type family: roman, medium, bold, italic etc and how these elements could be used by typographers to further enhance the understanding of a text. I started to imagine these modulations as a kind of mark-making, akin to mark-making in drawing or painting, a form of self-expression.

Gerard Unger has remarked that: “Reading is not the same as looking.” If type is not for reading, if it becomes unreadable, then does it become decoration? As Emil Ruder states: “Typography has one plain duty and that is to convey information in writing. No argument or consideration can absolve typography from this duty. A printed work which cannot be read becomes a product without purpose.”[1] Visual reading, of the kind associated with Émigré, prioritised looking over reading. Expressionism, on the part of the designer was foregrounded at the expense of the meaning of the text.

[1] Ruder, Emile (1967) Typographie, Basel, Niggli




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