RE: Sickening stuff from Engineers

Subject: RE: Sickening stuff from Engineers
From: <mbaker -at- analecta -dot- com>
To: "'Steve Hudson'" <sh1448291904 -at- gmail -dot- com>, "'Wright, Lynne'" <Lynne -dot- Wright -at- Kronos -dot- com>, <austechwriter -at- freelists -dot- org>, <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 2 Sep 2016 08:29:36 -0400

I'm sorry, but that is a fundamental misunderstanding of what art is.
Mathematics is as much a tool of art as it is a tool of science. The
well-tempered tuning is math. The golden ratio is math. These are the
equations of beauty. As with engineering, so with art: sometimes we discover
the math by studying what works and why it works, sometimes we discover what
will work as a consequence of the math.

And in engineering, and science, as in art, imagination also plays a key
role.

Understanding the mathematics, and the psychology of art does not enable you
to produce good art by rote, but nor does understanding the mathematics and
physics of materials enable you to produce good engineering by rote. It is
always a combination of understanding and imagination. But if you think you
can jettison understanding and get by on imagination alone, you are
misunderstanding the nature of art.

And I think it is important to appreciate just how important aesthetics are
to engineering. There is an astonishing tendency for things that look good
to work better. This is not because artists come along and plaster a pretty
face on ugly tech. Good tech is beautiful under the hood as well. And this
makes intuitive sense to me. We are a tool-making species (not the only one,
but by far the most sophisticated). It follows that our aesthetic
sensibilities would be aligned with what works. Health is beautiful;
sickness is ugly. A fertile field is beautiful; a barren one is ugly. A
functional tool is beautiful; a broken one is ugly. A clear and
communicative sentence is beautiful; and obscure and difficult one is ugly.
Our sense of beauty follows our sense of utility. (It also, I think, follows
our sense of the numinous. But one could argue that has spiritual utility.)

It is not astonishing that there is a mathematics of beauty. I would be
astonishing if there were not.

Mark

-----Original Message-----
From: techwr-l-bounces+mbaker=analecta -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
[mailto:techwr-l-bounces+mbaker=analecta -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com] On Behalf
Of Steve Hudson
Sent: Friday, September 2, 2016 4:37 AM
To: 'Wright, Lynne' <Lynne -dot- Wright -at- Kronos -dot- com>; austechwriter -at- freelists -dot- org;
techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Subject: RE: Sickening stuff from Engineers

I'm standing firmly on the side that says design and layout are ART, and
trying to present them, or reduce them to, a serious of equations is fraught
with failure. As my comment says, engineers should stick to stuff where
formulae rule, and leave the 'other stuff' to experts. Still, I am sure they
get equally a good giggle at code written by technical writers

-----Original Message-----
From: Wright, Lynne [mailto:Lynne -dot- Wright -at- Kronos -dot- com]

Are you implying that the content of the article is somehow wrong or
objectionable?

I used to be a typesetter back in the day, using a DOS-based program to
generate galleys for print production. Given how limited the options for
finessing type were back then, I found this article pretty
interesting/illuminating in terms of how to work with digital type for
electronic media.

-----Original Message-----
From: techwr-l-bounces+lynne -dot- wright=kronos -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
[mailto:techwr-l-bounces+lynne -dot- wright=kronos -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com] On
Behalf Of Steve Hudson
Sent: August-28-16 12:12 PM
To: austechwriter -at- freelists -dot- org; techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Subject: Sickening stuff from Engineers

https://medium.engineering/typography-is-impossible-5872b0c7f891#.h6obkxudm

Of course, I couldn't read that without a comment.

To you guys, I will say this. This link contains high macabre comedy
regarding how an engineer approaches typography. I need medicating urgently.

Steve Hudson
Word Heretic


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References:
RE: Sickening stuff from Engineers: From: Steve Hudson

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