From: Robin Kinross
> The debate about legibility of the early 1990s in "Emigre", "Eye",
> and elsewhere, was a reflection of this. People said "there is no
> such thing as legibility -- reading is different for everyone".
Wow, the single best typographic example of
how Absolute Relativism falls on its face.
Familarity is indeed a factor, but so is human physiology.
For example, the retina has certain characteristics which
affect our reading "affinities". And although comprehensive
empirical evidence does not exist, this should not prevent
us from using deduction and good judgment to arrive at some
conclusions that we can apply confidently.
And this is not something new: the best typographers and
type designers* have been doing this for ages. When Javal
made his seminal discoveries (around a hundred years ago),
type people not only paid attention, they eagerly applied
the findings to improve their work. These days there is
a very strong trend among designers* to simply look the
other way - and I personally can't stand it.
Irrespective of familarity, FF Extra is not as
legible (nor as readable) as Quadraat. Period.
* See Unger's interview in the most recent Eye magazine.
** I don't know if this is intersting to everybody, but I can't
help but wonder: why do otherwise intelligent people "escape"
to relativism? Is it because type design has now acquired the
trappings of Art, where thoughtful analysis is shunned?