Notes about consistency

July 21, 2017 permalink

Type in the environment and in architecture

As my office building at the University adds more and more permanent signage with zero consistency in typeface choice or other typographic consideration, this passage from Adrian Frutiger stood out:

The reader encounters typefaces in other forms as well as in printing. His daily environment, in face his entire living space, is filled with typographic characters of all kinds.

Unlike printed matter, with which the reader can bring the written word into his field of vision according to his own desire and choice, lettering on buildings is forced into view without restraint. Depending on its design, such lettering can provide an enrichment of the environment, almost in the sense of ornamentation, or, on the other hand, it can be ugly and therefore experienced as aggressive “pictorial noise”, inimical to the environment.

In this connection, lettering can be regarded as two-dimensional architecture. This realisation makes it possible to appreciate the designing of public signs and notices from a completely new viewpoint, by integrating them into the total concept instead of simply “sticking them on” or “hanging them up”.

— Adrian Frutiger, Type Sign Symbol p. 70