Typographic Design:

Form and Communication

Fourth Edition

Inspirational Quotes

Typography at its best is a visual form of language linking timelessness and time.

Robert Bringhurst

All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware.

Martin Buber

Sometimes there is simply no need to be either clever or original.

Ivan Chermayeff

Good design, at least part of the time, includes the criterion of being direct in relation to the problem at hand - not obscure, trendy, or stylish. A new language, visual or verbal, must be couched in a language that is already understood.

Ivan Chermayeff

Optimism is a strategy for making a better future. Because unless you believe that the future can be better, it’s unlikely you will step up and take responsibility for making it so. If you assume that there’s no hope, you guarantee that there will be no hope. If you assume that there is an instinct for freedom, there are opportunities to change things, there’s a chance you may contribute to making a better world. The choice is yours.

Noam Chomsky

It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.

e.e. Cummings

Continuity is not only the uninterrupted steps from one point to another, but it is also the cohesive force that holds a diverse composition together.

Donis A. Dondis

Symmetry is static‚ that is to say, quiet; that is to say, inconspicuous.

William Addison Dwiggins

The details are details. They make the product. The connections, the connections, the connections. It will in the end be these details that give the product its life.

Charles Eames

Who ever said that pleasure wasn’t functional?

Charles Eames

Don’t ever take a fence down until you know why it was put up.

Robert Frost

If you remember the shape of your spoon at lunch, it has to be the wrong shape. The spoon and the letter are tools; one to take food from the bowl, the other to take information off the page... When it is a good design, the reader has to feel comfortable because the letter is both banal and beautiful.

Adrian Frutiger

When I’m working on a problem, I never think about beauty. I think only how to solve the problem. But when I have finished, if the solution is not beautiful, I know it is wrong.

R. Buckminster Fuller

Dare to be naive.

R. Buckminster Fuller

I am enthusiastic over humanity’s extraordinary and sometimes very timely ingenuities. If you are in a shipwreck and all the boats are gone, a piano top buoyant enough to keep you afloat may come along and make a fortuitous life preserver. This is not to say, though, that the best way to design a life preserver is in the form of a piano top. I think we are clinging to a great many piano tops in accepting yesterday’s fortuitous contrivings as constituting the only means for solving a given problem.

R. Buckminster Fuller

Design must seduce, shape, and perhaps more importantly, evoke an emotional response.

April Greiman

Form follows function-that has been misunderstood. Form and function should be one, joined in a spiritual union.

Frank Lloyd Wright

Thoughts exchanged by one and another are not the same in one room as in another.

Louis Kahn

Design is not making beauty, beauty emerges from selection, affinities, integration, love.

Louis Kahn

To me, nothing is more vibrant than having the power to do something but not having the experience of knowing what’s right and what’s wrong.

Tibor Kalman

Experience without theory is blind, but theory without experience is mere intellectual play.

Immanuel Kant

I think one of the important evolutions is that we no longer feel compulsively the need to argue, or to justify things on a kind of rational level. We are much more willing to admit that certain things are completely instinctive and others are really intellectual.

Rem Koolhaas

The work in S,M,L,XL was almost suicidal. It required so much effort that our office almost went bankrupt.

Rem Koolhaas

If we would have new knowledge, we must get a whole world of new questions.

Susanne Langer

I prefer drawing to talking. Drawing is faster, and leaves less room for lies.

Le Corbusier

Space and light and order. Those are the things that men need just as much as they need bread or a place to sleep.

Le Corbusier

Typographical design should perform optically what the speaker creates through voice and gesture of his thoughts.

El Lizzitsky

I make solutions that nobody wants to problems that don’t exist.

Alvin Lustig

I have broken the blue boundary of color limits, come out into the white; beside me comrade-pilots swim in this infinity. I have established the semaphore of Suprematism. I have beaten the lining of the colored sky, torn it away and in the sack that formed itself, I have put color and knotted it. Swim! The free white sea, infinity, lies before you.

Kasimir Malevich

We shape our tools and afterwards our tools shape us.

Marshall McLuhan

It’s not rocket science. It’s social science—the science of understanding people’s needs and their unique relationship with art, literature, history, music, work, philosophy, community, technology, and psychology. The act of design is structuring and creating that balance.

Clement Mok

Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.

William Morris

I never saw a discontented tree. They grip the ground as though they liked it, and though fast rooted they travel about as far as we do.

John Muir

Tug on anything at all and you’ll find it connected to everything else in the universe.

John Muir

Art is an idea that has found its perfect visual expression. And design is the vehicle by which this expression is made possible. Art is a noun, and design is a noun and also a verb. Art is a product and design is a process. Design is the foundation of all the arts.

Paul Rand

Providing, meaning to a mass of unrelated needs, ideas, words and pictures - it is the designer’s job to select and fit this material together and make it interesting.

Paul Rand

Simplicity is not the goal. It is the by-product of a good idea and modest expectations.

Paul Rand

Give me a laundry list and I'll set it to music.

Gioacchino Rossini

Only the guy who isn’t rowing has time to rock the boat.

Jean-Paul Sarte

Freedom is what you do with what’s been done to you.

Jean-Paul Sarte

Typography needs to be audible. Typography needs to be felt. Typography needs to be experiences.

Helmut Schmid

You cannot not communicate.

Erik Spiekermann

Form follows function.

Louis Henri Sullivan

Good design is a lot like clear thinking made visual.

Edward Tufte

Beauty is the result of clarity and system and not of optical illusion.

Henry van de Velde

Less is a bore.

Robert Venturi

There is nothing simple or dull in achieving the transparent page. Vulgar ostentation is twice as easy as discipline. When you realise that ugly typography never effaces itself, you will be able to capture beauty as the wise men capture happiness by aiming at something else.

Beatrice Warde

A myth is an image in terms of which we try to make sense of the world.

Alan Watts

The simpler the assignment, the more difficult the solution.

Wolfgang Weingart

A man will be imprisoned in a room with a door that’s unlocked and opens inwards; as long as it does not occur to him to pull rather than push.

Ludwig Wittgenstein

The fundamental failure of most graphic, product, architectural, and even urban design is its insistence on serving the God of Looking-Good rather than the God of Being-Good.

Richard Saul Wurman

A lot of mathematics and technical knowledge are involved in our work today. I would not call us artists any more. I think ’alphabet designer’ is more accurate, and our comrade is no longer the punchcutter but the electronics engineer. If the technician learns that he doesn’t have to work with a crazy artist, and the designer learns a little about electronics, they will make an ideal team. It is still teamwork as it was in the good old days of metal type.

Hermann Zapf