An overabundance of type styles

Subject: An overabundance of type styles
From: geoff-h -at- MTL -dot- FERIC -dot- CA
Date: Mon, 15 Dec 1997 12:53:22 -0600

Beth Agnew described a manual with far too many type
styles, and noted that <<All of these various uses of font
and typeface are laboriously described in their
"Conventions Used in this Manual" section.>>

Quite simply, if you have to describe how you're using
typography, then you've created an ineffective design: I
seriously doubt that anyone except a techwhirler reads
these things, and anyone who does will not likely remember
them. And speaking as an editor... what a nightmare to have
to proofread the document for consistency.

In my opinion, typography should support a good design, not
substitute for one. Along those lines, I'm not aware that
there's any practical limit to the number of typefaces and
styles that you can use in a well-designed document (e.g.,
see Adobe's typeface catalog for an obvious, albeit
extreme, example), but I strongly suspect that this number
increases in direct proportion to how well the design has
been done. Someone who's actually researched this in some
depth (attention Karen Schriver! <grin>) can probably
provide some more concrete information, but the bottom line
remains: nobody should ever have to read a user's guide to
your user's guide.

--Geoff Hart @8^{)} geoff-h -at- mtl -dot- feric -dot- ca
Disclaimer: Speaking for myself, not FERIC., or

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