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Subject: Re: Explaining font differences
From: Gunnar Swanson <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:TYPO-L Discussion of Type and Typographic Design <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Tue, 18 Aug 1998 10:12:25 -0700

text/plain (62 lines)

I am not advocating the position of the US Copyright Office but I think
misunderstanding it is not helpful. Also, the broad extension of copyright
to typefaces is not without many problems and it doesn't serve the type
world well to pretend otherwise. Back to my hammer analogy--most people do
not know the difference between a general carpentry claw hammer and a
framing hammer and would only notice the largest differences (fiberglass
vs. wood handle, etc.) on their own. I can explain to a group of people why
head shape, handle length and angle, etc. all make a difference and they
will understand. They would also, I assume, NOT conclude that this means
that there should be an automatic exclusive right to manufacture a given


At 8:00 AM -0400 8/18/98, Dave & Debby Poleshuck wrote:
>My general "audience" is 13-15 year old freshman in an inner city high school.
>I do explain font differences, starting with large differences and going
>down to subtle differences.
>I use a music analogy--asking them how many parents tell them all their
>music sounds the same and how many of them think all their parents' music
>sounds the same.
>I try to explain that you understand things, you see the subtle differences.
>Serif and Sans Serif are easy (I have even used that lesson when I am
>observed by my supervisors--even they understand it).
>But when the students first see the difference between Helvetica and
>Futura, I get "wows". It takes several lessons but they are excited and
>then I go on to Univers vs. Helvetica--even more wows. And then Avant Garde
>vs. Futura (with the knowledge that AVG Gothic was based on Futura and how
>it was designed).
>Bodoni vs. Time Roman--that's easy, but then I start to show them cap O's
>in ten different serif fonts and look at the stress--by this point this is
>extra credit--not all the students can see this.
>I have never tried to do this with a large group of adults--but I suspect
>it would be much harder. I also always get 9th or 10th graders. They are
>harder to teach, but I enjoy the energy levels.
>Dave Poleshuck
>Graphics Institute at Bushwick High School, Brooklyn, NY
>[log in to unmask]
>Dave Poleshuck

Gunnar Swanson Design Office
1404 Claremont Drive
Davis CA 95616

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