>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.
Although the "we read best what we read most" mantra is nonsense if
taken to literal extreme, it is no more nonsense than the
previously-prevailing wisdom. "People are willing to try to read
stuff in some proportion to how familiar it seems and familiar
stupidity is less distracting than unfamiliar stupidity" just isn't a
catchy manifesto soundbite.
It is very interesting to look at old issues of Emigre and ask one's
self what all of the fuss was about. Their old shocking radicalism is
not particularly difficult to decipher (and the sort of reading you
talk about in your article in -Graphic Design & Reading- doesn't seem
to apply to the short snippets and interviews editorial format of
that era of Emigre.)
I find the current, less-controversial incarnation comparatively
difficult to read because of Rudy's love for long line lengths. I had
hoped the small format would cure that problem but he just changed to
>** 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?
I suspect that the appeal of over-stated relativism is partially a
reaction to the many statements of personal prejudice or arbitrary
group preference that are put forth by "authorities" as Truth.
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