Guiding principles for typography 文字設計的指導原則

Design 360 cover ‘Crossroads’ model for typography

Extracted from an interview with Keith Tam, Design 360°, issue 51, June 2014

What’s your guiding principle for typography?

I believe that typography is situated at the intersection of language, culture, technology and aesthetics. First and foremost, typography rests on the foundation of language, this is the most important. After all, typography cannot exist without language, and language is a cornerstone of civilization. Technology on the other hand, has to do with how we render, reproduce and disseminate written language. Writing implements, paper, typesetting technologies, the book format, the internet, all the way to the now ubiquitous digital screen – they influence what letterforms or characters look like and how content is arranged, interacted and comprehended by readers. Under this context, culture comes into play. How we connect with others, how we connect with information and knowledge, our behaviour and ways of life as a result of the communication as mediated by written language and communication technology, form the cultural aspects of typography. It defines who we are as groups of people who share common visions and sets of values. And last but not least, aesthetics is of course an important part of all this, but not as a pure form of artistic expression. The aesthetic value of typography is sometimes very difficult to define, and evolves over time and place. Typographic aesthetics concern readers’ emotional responses and have associative qualities that can be very powerful.

節錄自《Design 360°》與筆者的訪談,第51期,2014年六月

您的文字設計指導原則是什麽?

我認為文字設計位於語言、文化、科技和美學的交匯處。首先,語言文字是文字設計的根本,也是最重要的。畢竟脫離了語言,文字設計無從談起。而且語言也是人類文明的基石。至於科技,它則推動了書面文字的轉化、複製與傳播。書寫工具、紙張、書籍、網路,直到無處不在的電子屏幕,所有這些媒介改變了字型的外貌,也影響了內容的呈現,互動,以及讀者消化的方式。在這樣的條件下,文化開始發揮作用。其實人的行為和生活方式是語言和傳播技術操縱的結果。人和人,人和信息、知識發生關係的方式便構成了文字設計的文化內涵,人們因為共同的視野和價值體系而獲得定義。最後再說美學,它之於文字設計當然重要,但它不是純粹形式上的藝術表達。文字設計的美學價值有時很難界定,它會隨時間和情景而轉變。美學與受眾的情感反應尤關,能驅使強大的聯想力。

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