Type Speaks 1948: Reflective Thoughts

“What if printing type never existed? and Is it taken for granted?”

Type Speaks 1948 is a short documentary on how a type was intricately dimensioned, engraved, scaled with height and weight. It shows a complex stage to create a certain type letter under a skilled craftsman. Yet after inventions and evolutions, type might be taken for granted.

To many people, typography is not art but a legible language to communicate. Typefaces and font families are just there taken for granted. However, if you observe closely, each letter is an individual design dependent on every other letter in the font. This is made so that when they are placed in every combination, it looks cohesive and constant. Furthermore, type craftsman considers the thought of creating a serif or san serif? How far down should the descending or tail be in a certain letter? The angle placement of an ear? The curved angle of a letter’s shoulder? and etcetera. (For example, like the image below.)


These are just a few of the macro design decisions of typographers. Further into the micro decision of the subtle differences in line thickness, curve, slant or embellishment. These far intricate process to create a type are past us, that we do not understand yet taken for granted. Opening a word document, picking a typeface and font to create our script. All we care is that is the legibility and the message the type can carry across. 

However, one thing that everyone sees type as is a language. It can be used in different situation and purposes to emphasise a certain message, depending on the typeface. It speaks the language. Thus, after watching this video made me realise and appreciate typography even more and how it was more than just a legible language. Developed and processed throughout the years, I could definitely say it is an under-appreciated art that people should know more about through history.