‘Distinguishing features should be stressed in proportion to the difficulty of reading’

Tim Ahrens, writing for Just Another Foundry:

Dwiggins, who was a type designer and maker of marionettes, also employed the concept of pre-compensation. In order to make the puppets more recognizable from the last row of the audience, he emphasized the features on their faces by making them simpler, coarser, and with more prominent edges and corners. For some of his typefaces, he used the same strategy.

That’s an excerpt from the new edition of Size-specific adjustments to type designs: An investigation of the principles guiding the design of optical sizes. Great type designers routinely prepare typefaces to compensate for intended use and the means of production, and this book of Tim and Shoko’s is laser-focused on one aspect of doing that well.

Understanding how type works at specific sizes is good for graphic designers, too.

Topics: Making type