A lot modern typefaces were created either to rebel against or to emulate a preexisting typeface. The early typefaces from the typographical greats from Germany and France were brought together with those from Italy by Nicolas Jenson to create his ‘creatively’ named font, Jenson. Mrs Eaves was inspired (personally and typographically) from Baskerville. Bauhaus was created because avant-garde typographers completely rejected the traditional and historical typefaces that had been dominating the typography world for centuries.
If not in comparison of another typeface, many other modern typeface were created for practical purposes: the famous Helvetica was created for print, even though it is commonly used as the default font on computers, like mine. Times New Roman was created for newspapers. Verdana was created in order to have a sans serif typeface that was easy to read digitally.
These two phenomena are both understandable. First, there are several things in our material universe that are created in spite of, or because of something else. It is far easier to compare the new concept to the one that are already exists.
Secondly, practicality is the second way that things exists. If you don’t have, make it. If it is not satisfying your needs, create something that does. It is how so many of the items we use in our everyday lives were created: post-it notes, pockets, and so much more.
With so many existing typefaces, it’s very hard to create one that is not the least bit inspired by any of the preexisting ones. I am surprised and impressed at the amount of creativity that typographers have to create new typefaces in this day and age, as well as their dedication the creation of the “face” of language.
NB: The word “thing” has been used in such a vague and informal manner, however it is difficult to find a word that encompasses all concepts that have become materialized in the world.
Text and typography help the flow for the reader. They also try to decrease the amount of reading for the reader. I really like that. As someone who is a slow reader, it is hard to digest massive blocks of text. It is comforting to know that typographers’ goals are to minimize the work of the reader and make it simpler for them.
It is interesting to think that after knowing for so long with a picture holds a thousand words, we are now taking that proverb seriously and using icons to make sentences that have actual meaning. In text messages these days, young adults use “emojis” to add personality to their text, however, there are cases where people are using the emojis and other icons to compose full sentences. There are several blog posts on Buzzfeed and websites like it that test the reader’s ability to make out the meaning of a sentence created solely of emojis. In the 21st century, and keeping in mind a typographer’s goal, the idea behind emojis is completely valid. It reduces the amount of reading for the reader, but it does increase the difficulty of comprehension. Emojis and other icons can hold different meanings in different situations, causing issues in this advance in text readability.