Spartan typography

Subject: Spartan typography
From: Bruce Byfield <bbyfield -at- AXIONET -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 17 Dec 1997 20:35:49 -0500

geoff-h -at- MTL -dot- FERIC -dot- CA wrote:

> On the "face" of it (sorry), I'd tend to agree, but I'd
> want to see the specific example before condemning it out
> of hand. As I noted earlier, the design can still be
> effective despite the use of many fonts. OTOH:

I suppose I have to agree in theory, but I wonder if anything could
support the practice.

I've become a typographical minimalist myself for a number of reasons:

--as Eric Gill points out in "An Essay on Typography," modern taste is
geared to an aesthetic of utilitarianism. Or, in plain English, modern
people like their layout plain. There's no point in distancing readers
with an over-elaborate layout. And people do notice: in the
small-sampled usability testing I've done, customers universally prefer
the well-designed plain layout to the well-designed elaborate one. So do
clients. In fact, since I became a minimalist, I've found myself in
demand as a template designer.

--the more fonts, the harder your manual is to maintain, especially when
you returnto it after a long absence.

--the more elaborate the layout, the harder it is to work on. When I've
done elaborate templates, I've often had trouble remembering the
conventions I've established myself, especially at the end of the day.

--the more elaborate the layout, the harder for anyone else to work with
the template. You may even have to put in extra time on style guides.

Bruce Byfield, Outlaw Communications
(bbyfield -at- axionet -dot- com) (604) 421-7189 (Updated December 13)

"Granite Years
Harbour lights, city nights and bitter tears
And you don't care where you're going,
Say that I was foolish,
Say that I was blind
Never say that I got left behind."
--Oyster Band, or

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