From: William Adams
> A more interesting thing would be a pair of typefaces designed
> with identical intent, as regards usage and design specification
> (e.g. x-height, etc.) but the odds are long one would get a
> harmonious and useful pair when set together.
Or a *set* -a system- of such typefaces. I myself have done some
work in this direction, but largely in the area of display usage,
not text - the two are really fundamentally different.
As for Harmony, over time I've become increasing uncomfortable
with [most] people's usage of the term. It's used very haphazardy
and often romantically, and I'd venture to say that we really don't
know what it means. For one thing, here too there is a difference
between display and text.
I recently read a charming little book called "The Harmonograph"
by Anthony Ashton: it describes the mechanics of a device that
draws complex spiraling shapes using pendulums. Ashton tries to
explain why we like some of its patterns and dislike others, and
I found his insight to be shockingly relevant to type design.
My conclusion was that the simple patterns appeal to our
conscious/cultural side, but the complex patterns (which *are*
patterns, not chaos) cannot be appreciated by our consciousness,
and appeal directly to our subconscious; and this is something
that makes our consciousness uncomfortable to some extent.
So, a highly modular type design (like Futura) is easily appre-
ciated, but a design with a deeper level of meaning (like Gill
Sans) can more successfully "talk" to our subconscious, which
is what we rely on during immersive reading.
I think it's pretty easy to make a display font more/less
masculine/feminine, but I'm unsure about text: can a font
tap into the gender associations on our *insides*?
> Anyone know of a male / female pair (twins? brother-sister?
> want to elminate as many variables as possible) whose hand-
> writing (or calligraphy) is similar enough to allow for a
> reasoned, objective comparison?
I suspect handwriting is too artificial to
provide any usable insight into our being.
> one would at least like to thinks the depths of
> the spirit of humanity will never be plumbed.
Indeed. A system cannot understand itself.
We can only pretend to understand, and hope
that others agree with us, or can be made to...