From: "Mark A. Hiselman"
> Lots of energy flow, probably due to balanced color.
Could you possibly elaborate on this?
From: "R. Aizan Sasayama"
> I'm impressed with Helvetica's gender mobility.
I guess that stems from its overall genericity.
But whereas you can't tell if Helvetica is male
or female, you *can* tell he/she is middle-aged...
> I don't think designers on the whole don't have the
> cognitive skills and methodological background for
> this sort of investigation.
Well, I do think that contemporary designers as a
group are generally discouraged from being analytical.
But an individual designer can still be smart.
> I think there's no reason why there shouldn't be
> more than one interpretation and representation
> of what is male and female.
Sure, on the surface (and the surface does have
its importance). But deep down the separation
is solid, even if we can't see it perfectly.
From: Gunnar Swanson
> By simple analogy to Western music I'd say that harmony is the
> combination of forms that are sufficiently different to provide
> contrast while having characteristics in common that make the
> union satisfying.
Music is in fact a superb analogy, I think,
and Ashton plays on that too (pun intended).
> So (as least within Western music) tones that are very
> close together but not sharing sub-frequencies (such as
> intervals of less than a half step) are not very harmonic
> and are often dissonant.
Here's where things already get hazy: Dissonance cannot be
consciously created - one might say it doesn't even exist.
The threshold between harmony and dissonance is like the
threshold between fact and opinion: it lies entirely in
what each of us as an individual can "handle". It's really
a practical distinction, not a tangible one, and when we
can't consiously pin down harmony/fact, we simply call it
dissonance/opinion. But in reality, there's no question
that it's *all* relevant.
For example, I have a CD by Ali Akbar Khan, a renowned Indian
musician, and some of it simply sounds horribly dissonant to
me. But since it's man-made, I know deep down that it can't be
dissonant (and those who know about Indian music have assured
me that it's not dissonant at all), and I make an effort to hear
deeper. Anyway, one of my points is that only pure randomness
can create dissonance, and I feel that even the chirping of
group of birds is not random. Have you ever really listened to
a field of crickets? There's harmony there, you can *feel* it.
And this "feeling" is where you cross the simplistic boundaries
of the consciousness, and go where it really matters.
My ears are not trained to hear/appreciate the more complex
harmonies of Indian music. Likewise, many people's eyes are
not trained to see/appreciate the deeper harmonies of some
type/typography. We shouldn't try to reduce typography to just
what we can point our fingers at - it's an *experience*, like
If you take a person who grew up by himself in the wild, he won't
even be able to appreciate the simplest harmonies - like an animal.
But I bet even an animal can be trained to consciously appreciate
some degree of harmony. Subconsciously, it's a given, for any being.
There is one question, though: does the human brain
itself have some kind of limit as to the depth of
harmony is can absorb, irrespective of "training"?
> I won't belabor the analogy to type. If the application of this to
> choosing multiple typefaces or multiple sizes or weights isn't
> obvious to anyone, just ask.
OK, but what about in the design of type?
> Futura is the sound out of a sin wave generator or
> a tuning fork and Gill the sound of a brass bell.
From: Patrick TJ McPhee
> I've seen printed work, especially from the 19th century,
> which made larger elisions than are common today, something
> like `Exhib'n of Astound'g Nat'l Wonders! Tues.--Fri. 4 o'clock')
My dad (who I used to think was from the 19th
century...) abbreviates "Engineering" as "Eng'g",
and he says he learned that at Ohio State.