November 30th, 2003

default, pepper


While it wasn't NaNoWriMo, November did turn out to be collecting editing/layout month for me. And the layout's done, to a point where I'm comfortable sending it off to the editor and publisher, even though I'm sure it's not press ready yet--it'll still need people playing proofer, I'm sure.

But I like it. And I think it looks good.

Occasionally a discussion about typography comes up which boils down to: "I don't really notice it unless it's bad." That's true; you usually only notice typesetting if it's calling attention to itself, and unless it's consciously trying to do that (a lot of "postmodern" typography like Wired and Mondo 2000), the chances are it's noticeable because it's, well, noticeably poor. So why pay much attention to typography that, if it's good, isn't going to call attention to itself?

The best answer to that I found was from poet and typographer Robert Bringhurst, who compares the author and typesetter of a text to the composer and conductor of an orchestral piece, respectively. "The typographer must analyze and reveal the inner order of the text, as a musician must reveal the inner order of the music he performs. But the reader, like the listener, should in retrospect be able to close her eyes and see what lies inside the words she has been reading. The typographic performance must reveal, not replace, the inner composition. Typographers, like other artists and craftsmen--musicians, composers and authors as well--must as a rule do their work and then disappear."