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Ten Commandments of Typography

16th May 2011

By Ian Collis-Smith

ten commandments of typography


I picked this up in the Arnolfini at the weekend, a book called the Ten Commandments of Typography. It’s by Paul Felton and sets out the 10 rules of Typography  (As prescribed by God – who of course created type!) Reading from the other side of the book is Type Heresy (The breaking of the Ten Commandments as led by Satan himself: Carson!)

It’s a very clever way of settling a debate that has raged within Fanatic at least for 10 years surrounding the various and often ‘firmly’ help opinions about whether its OK to break typography rules. It pitches God and his desciples (such as Eric Gill and others) to spread the word amongst graphic designers to fight the evil satan (David Carson and his followers) to not stray, and produce clean, conformist and legible type.

But reading from the back, Type Heresy shows with equal weight how each commandment can be smashed, to great effect!

The book and its witty approach finishes the argument for me… we do what we want if it fits a brief!

I’ve snapped (with my phone hence rubbish res) the Introduction, which goes like this:

IN THE BEGINNING God created type. And the world was without form, and void, and darkness was upon the face of legibility. God said, “Let there be ten rules to govern the use of type”, and there came structure, order and legibility…

The book is a beautiful piece of print in its own right, a delight to hold a fun to read. (which only takes about 10 mins!!).

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