Typography…It’s Important!

This piece was a little difficult to understand and so I am a little confused about what exactly the author is trying to get at in this piece. I could be interpreting this all wrong, so bear with me. From what I understand, typography and text, when written down (on a computer, for example) has dimension, occupying space and time, and a fixed location…or something. As such, this has a very different feel to it than a written (by hand) work. The evolution of typography over time has also changed the way we read and create texts. According to the author, the text on a computer is supreme to the written word in a book. Due to technology, text and typography has become much more fluent and liquid than ever before. There are four ways that this has changed our lives: errors, spacing, “linearity”, and the user.

It is so much easier to detect errors today than it was, say 150 years ago, when everything had to be written down (and even with the typewriter); errors were so common and not so easy to detect and fix. This is obvious. Of course technology has made our lives easier to proofread our work. The problems are right there in front of us, and fixing the problem takes all but a few seconds to do.

A written piece, like an article, is like a type of art.  Spacing is important and integral to a written work(noonewantstoreadorwritelikethis), but it shouldn’t dominate it. Again, pretty self explanatory. No one wants to read a piece that has as much white space as actual text; despite how lazy we have become with reading, we still want to read something.

The next part, linearity, is a little confusing. Here, the author claims that since writing occupies space and time, the reader is, or has the potential to be, “liberated” from the linearity that we are so used to. Although technology can be so nonlinear, we so often see this linearity, such as the ticker on the bottom of the TV screen was one watches CNN. Word and PowerPoint are also linear by using a “one-way flow of speech”. One of the premier examples of a nonlinear form is a database, which is a structure behind electronic games, magazines, and catalogues. I’m not exactly sure what the difference between a “linear” work and a “nonlinear” work is, though. Nonetheless, the author thinks that we should stray away from linear media and turn to nonlinear one’s more.

Finally, the birth of technology and the Web as brought about “the user”. The user controls pretty much everything, including the significance of a given text. The use has also become significantly more impatient as the years and decades have gone by; this is due to the fact that the use of technology gives the user a different expectation of what to expect over a written work (productive vs. contemplative). Without the user, the Web is basically useless.

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18 comments

  1. karencronin

    A couple lines from page 65 in this reading I think, gave the jist of one of the points the author was discussing. The author comments that “a classic typographic page emphasizes the completeness and closure of a work, its authority as a finished product.” To me this means that once a page is printed, on paper, it’s considered a complete and finished work. But now that technology has allowed us to create and read works online, the notion of completeness and closure has changed. All works on line could really be considered open. Meaning, they always have the potential to be changed. For instance, if we type up a post for a blog and realize the next day we forgot a line or we have spelling errors, we can easily go back to the draft of our post, make changes, and then re-post with the corrections. This document, even after being corrected and re-posted is still considered open because we have the option to change it again if we need to. Wikipedia is a great example of an open work. The works on the site are changed and added to constantly. Technology has allowed access to a great number of works online. But those works may not be the same at a second reading due to their always open status. We could say all works online may never be considered complete.

  2. lisak0

    It’s amazing how much technology has evolved. Without technology, so many people would have little mistakes, such as a minor punctuation or spacing mistake. It really does amaze me when people constantly make such huge mistakes on blog posts (I am a victim of doing it once :[ !!). In my opinion, once a work is posted, it should not get edited. It is the final product, like a final paper. Once you hand in your final research papers to your Professor, they usually don’t give you a second chance to fix your final papers- it’s graded and just handed back. The way we use our grammar should be taken into deep consideration. Proper uses of: punctuations, spellings, and articles really make a difference to a post. For example, the classic: Let’s go eat, Jack, and Let’s go eat Jack. Huge difference, single comma. Also with linearity, it is such a complex concept, but once looking more in depth, it is so simple! Blogs are non-linear because so many people can contribute. News channels (on TV) are linear because people cannot immediately provide feedback or physically comment on the TV site. I also love succinct posts that provide in-depth details. It sucks reading such a long article that requires me to sit in my seat for over 30 minutes (maybe it’s just me…).
    You are correct that users are what makes the web. Without users, the internet would not even be alive! There will be nobody liking, sharing, posting, commenting, and interacting- except for a single person, maybe! It’s crazy how much the internet and technology has evolved. I don’t know what I would do without any form of technology!

  3. Miss Bombshell

    I’ve always thought what my day would be like without using one piece of technology and even just thinking about that concept required me to use technology because I actually googled it (lol). But seriously I am a person who has been guilty of printing or publishing a work and feel like once its officially printed or publish there’s no need to look over it again (hence my many errors on my blog). So when Lupton talks about a typographic page and its completeness of work, I can totally agree and understand because that’s the way I view all things that I write. I consider it a final piece of work that I have created and once I publish it to me it symbolizes closure. But on the other hand being that I am a huge lover of technology I can agree with others who say that technology has changed this idea of closure because we are now allowed to re-read, edit, and change our work which in a way voids the idea that once something is published it’s finalized. Therefore, this idea really gets me thinking when I read things online are they considered a final piece of work being that they can be reworked or edited at any time?

  4. evanhuaru

    This was a very interesting piece, confusing at some places, but it really brought up a whole new perspective. The idea of completeness was brought up within this piece and the difference between something written or on the internet. Ones physically available and the other is intangible. The difference is that when something is printed out physically like a book or a paper, the words that are written within can’t be changed, in another sense completed. It’s completed as an official piece of writing which is a classic typographic page. On the other hand with the internet, articles and blogs are able to posted by authors allowing them to change the writing if there is a mistake. In a sense I understand why some people have said that things written on the internet are incomplete. The writing is intangible making the work not a final paper, but a rough draft. In my opinion, blog posts or articles are completed. Usually people read articles or blog posts only once, so regardless if they edited the writing before or later the reader reads a complete piece of writing. The writing is there at the moment and whatever is available is technically the “completed piece” the reader reads. Only when you go back and read the work again is when the material they previously read considered incomplete. The new article they read with the changed texts should be considered the new completed source of writing since it contains different material.

  5. briellebuis

    Although this article was a bit confusing. Typography is basically making a blog, or any type of writing complete in the sense that it is fully complete. Not just the words, but the look. Everything has a specific meaning from the words, to the text, to the font and size and shape. It is all very detailed. Computers allow constant edit therefore it is never really a finished typography. True typography in my mind is when old Kings had scribes who hand wrote out books for them. That is why books used to be so expensive because they were all hand crafted and thought out. Since the time of the printing press it has become obviously much easier. Today, things can be printed and reprinted to the point that anyone has the ability to read and write without hesitation. Overall, computers and technology have completely morphed typography’s original meaning. But then again what has technology not morphed the original meaning of?

  6. mlew210

    I actually took a lot of graphic design classes in high school, so I understood what the article was talking about. The wording of everything kind of distracted from the actual meaning, but the message should still be clear. Typography is there to distract you from reading what is there. It is a visual stimuli that brings meaning to the words in such a way that it enhances the overall message as well. This comes in the form of font, layout, spacing, coloring, etc. All of these attributes add up to create something more than just words on a piece of paper. Technology lets us enjoy basic print in a large variety of ways by constantly transforming the way we see things. Presentation is everything since we have to visually take in information. It actually reminds me of a Spongebob episode where Spongebob has to write a paper for boating school. He ends up drawing a very fancy “The”, and while it looks silly in the episode, it shows how something simple can be transformed into what I consider a very well drawn word. Typography is art, and when combined with literature, forms something entirely different for a user to enjoy. That is why I believe it is crucial for writers and artists alike to use the two to invent new ways for others to experience their artwork.

  7. mjdenis38

    The linearity reading helped me understand typographic form. The content, meaning the writing, is the crucial part of the piece, not the extra features, such as index pages. Other visual means also seem to distract the reader from the content. It seems in this instance that technology is hindering our ability to analytically process the content we are reading. Lupton wrote that it creates a completeness to the work having just a simple linear format. But there is also the concept being able to edit and re-post work online, thereby making the content never truly complete. Even major news publications go back and make corrections and make a note of it on the page, and the previous suggestion was that the article was the final draft. Again, technology plays a role in hindering our abilities to process information analytically, and in an online format, we can go back and make changes. We are essentially not learning from the mistakes we make, we can just go back and change it. I think this is what makes the nonlinear form as Lupton suggested. So is something truly ever a final piece of work? I would say no.

  8. Megan Murray

    I love creative pictures and adds that use typography is cool new ways. They stand out, making a great advertisement that leaves an impression or a memorable logo for a website. But honestly, I feel the most important thing for general text on a website is that it is easily readable. There are so many very pretty fonts out there, something very scripty perhaps, but while pretty they are not necessarily the best for the bulk of your text on a website.
    While there are a lot of cool fonts you can download, that’s just it – if you download it, other people (visitors to your site) have not downloaded it, and won’t be able to see your cool new font.

  9. hillary601

    I think that typology is really important. When I am writing on my personal blog i really like to italicize and bold certain words that i think mean something to the post or describe the band. i think it would be really cool if I had an option for different fonts. I want to have a typewriter type of font. I think that this would give my blog a certain edge. It would kind of reflect my voice. That is really important to me. In my opinion, the purpose of a blog is to use your own blog to tell either a story or discuss topics of your interest. In order to express your voice in text, I think that font can really share that. With different types of font, the reader can read the text however the author wants it to be read whether that is wacky or serious or edgy. I do believe that typography is an art. I think that expressing your words through typography can make your words seem artistic. I like that people take words and write them out and space them out in certain ways like a tree or a logo. Logos are really cool because they express the brand but in a way that draws people attention. I think that a lot of people respond to pictures more. Everyone likes things that are easy on the eyes and pictures are a good ways to draw people in. Typography can be a form of art and be in the form of pictures.

  10. Brian

    I too somewhat understand the idea of typography. I never really paid that much attention to it since it seemed to be common sense. If I feel that if I look at the blog and can honestly say to myself: “ok I like how the blog looks and how my words look on the post”, then it is complete. If not, then I work to make the necessary changes whether it is by error, spacing, or linearity. However, I can still see the importance of having this knowledge. After all how your blog looks is almost as important as the blog itself. With knowledge of how typography, one can add another layer of depth so to speak into how the blog looks. It can make the blog change in terms of theme and feel. A good blog can become an elegant blog or a powerful blog just by the impression it gives. Another wonderful idea is that with the use of technology, the idea of permanently complete is less of an issue. Before, if things are printed or published it would be much more of a hassle to make changes. However, with the development of technology, this problem is hardly relevant.

  11. gisellehernandez412

    Typography is absolutely an essential aspect of text. I would even go as far as to say that it’s just as important as the content because it affects the focus of the reader. If you really want a reader to absorb everything that you’re trying to say, the layout (which includes the use of white space and fonts) is crucial. Technology and websites can be distracting and can thus shift the readers attention away from the content. This becomes more of a concern with nonlinear writing, as they are primarily online which poses distraction. From what I understood, a nonlinear work can be edited by different writers once it has been posted–it’s not permanent. At least this is how I understood it. I do agree that a tangible text does have a greater sense of permanency than online text and I suppose that is because there is really no way to change a text once it has been printed. However, I read and write online posts and articles as if they are permanent as well . Once I hit “publish” it’s essentially the same thing, to me, as clicking “print.” That being said, I can still see the difference between linear and nonlinear writing that the author discusses.

  12. ktomiak25

    First of all, when I was reading the article I immediately related it to the discussion we had about what makes something “good writing”. The opening sentence of the article is SO general, I thought it was so funny. (The first sentence: “Letters gather into words, words build into sentences.”) If I started a paper for a class with a sentence like that I’m sure my professors wouldn’t be happy- and my ability to recognize the over-generalized opening sentence started the article off in the realm of “bad writing” in my mind. Now onto the text and content itself. People may not realize it at first but typography is an integral part of writing. Handing in a paper in comic sans is obviously not appropriate- academic and serious works demand a serif font at a specific size, line spacing and paper margin. Fonts can set the tone of the writing without a doubt. I’m going to skip talking about linearity since we made longer posts on that ourselves. One cool thing that my graphic design teacher taught me is how negative space works, and how things would look if the world was simply written in times new roman. Everything looks the same– nothing is emphasized! Even the way novels are printed set their tone. Really dense, thick books are intimidating for some people. When i get assigned books for classes and open them up and see they are not only thick, but also size 9 font with tiny margins its most likely a very serious and classic book. It’s not something you enjoy to read as much because larger fonts with more spacing is more pleasing to the eye, not as stressful to the reader or intimidating. It’s incredibly important as the title of this post announces, even if you don’t think about it often.

  13. jordannao

    Typography has a key role when it comes to blogs or just writing in general. Choosing the appropriate font for the appropriate audience or information is crucial in order to get your point across much better. A comic book wouldn’t want to use times new roman as their title, instead they would choose a very cool font that would express what the comic book might be about. For example if the comic book is about heroes they might use a very fat and strong font in order to emphasize the super hero theme better. I believe the same goes when writing at blogs. It is very hard for the reader to understand your theme and your idea from simples words, visualization whether it is in pictures, audio or in font style helps a lot to close the gap of the unknown characteristics of the topic of your post!

  14. Yadybel

    I think that we usually read things without really taking the time to appreciate the typography. I do think it impacts the way we feel about the work that we read but more in subconscious kind of way. Typography really impacts the way a reader reads and interprets the work. Typography includes things such as things like font and white space. We do not really pay close mind to it but it is there. We may notice things like typography more when it is not properly used. An example is if your reading something and the whole page is filled with words; there is not much white space and it becomes difficult to read. The text of course is important but how the text is presented really affects the person who is reading it; it will determine whether the reader will continue to read or not. The best uses of typography are when they are subtle and flow with the writing. This should help the reader feel more comfortable reading the work. I like it when writers use a font other than times new roman; I think that attracts me to the work more. I would not like if the font was too over the top to the point where it takes too much attention from the actual work. I think typography and the actual writing should work together in attracting and satisfying the reader both context wise and visually.

  15. tedrihn

    Like you I too am very confused by the topic of typography. The author talks about how “Electronic redlining is replacing the hieroglyphics of the editor.” This sentence features a strike through design which just doesn’t make sense to me because it adds to the overall content of the paragraph and yet he wants to strike it out. The idea of typography has changed so drastically with new technology now a days. We don’t need to edit or revise our works anymore because the computer does it for us as we type. That is the redlining the author mentioned before. Written texts back then had to be sent through an editor and double and triple checked while today redlining allows the author to quickly scan his work for grammatical errors. Thus in a sense cutting out the middle man (editor). And it isn’t just what we type that can be affected its how we type or write it. Giant bulky lettering wasn’t readily available like it is today. With one click of a button word users have instant access to a title word art creator that changes the size and font of the heading. Things like that had to be done by hand which was a costly and time-consuming effort back then.

  16. wilschiu

    I agree with the other commentators that this piece was a little bit confusing to read. Technology has come a long way, but I think one of the big points that people tend to forget, is that science can also be an art. Like you said, a piece of text can almost be looked at as a piece of art. As technology progresses, so does our possibilities of creating new kinds of art. Like other kinds of art, a piece of text is more than just as it appears. It is more than the letters that comprise it. The symbolism and meaning behind the words used add another layer. The spacing, font, size of the text also adds dimension to the piece of art. In a way, it is no different from a painting, a visual representation of something that the author wanted to portray.
    The internet is another technological invention that changed this art. Text took on a new form in the different types of media available. It lost it’s linearity and its consistency. Text on the internet is always subject to change and can be edited. Unlike previously, there is little finality to the text. Like a lot of things, we have been trained by familiarity into forgetting the artistic aspects of something, in favor of the functional. That is why graphic designers who use typography are so successful, because they make us remember that the use of text can also be an art.

  17. moegor94

    I thought this was a very interesting take on the subject. When I compose a text I often neglect the revising process, for some reason I feel like I can’t focus on something that I’ve already read too much. It often leads to careless errors and mistakes that I often regret. When you examine a piece of text and try to look at it from a different perspective, like for example, seeing it as art, you start to see how treating it the way I just described seems careless and silly. An artist would never submit his work or display it without it being fully complete and perfect, he would make sure what he was displaying was saying exactly what he wanted it to say, exactly how he wanted it to be said. When you image text as art you start to see more clearly the importance of typography. Typography can change the message and meaning of text, turning it into a versatile and real statement instead of cold, uniform text. A small phrase, changed with typography can trigger different things in the reader, as opposed to just the phrase written in plain text. Typography also allows a creator to say more things with less text, it can portray ideas that help elaborate on the actual text, making it a very useful tool in fields like advertising.

  18. dmhgs

    All I can think of when reading this blog post, the article, and our comments is that we are judgmental. We spoke of this when talking about the layout of our blogs, because how our blog looks really affects the reader and their opinion on our blogs. Typography is almost the same concept except that it deals with how the readers sees and interprets the actual writing on our blogs. You can really manipulate your writing to be much more interesting than it would be if you kept the same formatting. Think of the advertisements we saw in class, would the writing on those pictures have been more or less interesting if they were at Times New Roman 12 pt font? Of course they would have been less interesting.

    The posts you have on your blogs already aims to entertain the reader; to catch their attention and keep them reading. What typography does is catch their attention before they even begin reading. Like the Coffin advertisement, you see that the words are in the shape of a coffin before you even know what the advertisement is about. Typography is another way to attract people to your post, and besides the layout of your blog is the most important cosmetic aspect of your blog.

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