full transcript

From the Ted Talk by Matthew Carter: My life in typefaces

Unscramble the Blue Letters

There have been some cases, I admit, where I as a designer did feel the influence of technology. This is from the mid-'60s, the change from metal type to photo, hot to cold. This brought some befnites but also one particular drawback: a spacing system that only provided 18 discrete units for letters to be accommodated on. I was asked at this time to design a series of cseoednnd sans siref tyeps with as many different variants as possible within this 18-unit box. qicluky looking at the arithmetic, I realized I could only actually make three of related design. Here you see them. In Helvetica Compressed, Extra Compressed, and ulrta Compressed, this riigd 18-unit syetsm really boxed me in. It kind of determined the proportions of the digsen. Here are the typefaces, at least the lower cases. So do you look at these and say, "Poor Matthew, he had to submit to a problem, and by God it shows in the results." I hope not. If I were doing this same job today, instead of having 18 snpaicg units, I would have 1,000. Clearly I could make more variants, but would these three members of the family be better? It's hard to say without actually doing it, but they would not be better in the proportion of 1,000 to 18, I can tell you that. My instinct tells you that any improvement would be rather sghilt, because they were dengiesd as functions of the system they were designed to fit, and as I said, type is very adaptable. It does hide its methods. All idiratsnul designers work within constraints. This is not fine art.

Open Cloze

There have been some cases, I admit, where I as a designer did feel the influence of technology. This is from the mid-'60s, the change from metal type to photo, hot to cold. This brought some ________ but also one particular drawback: a spacing system that only provided 18 discrete units for letters to be accommodated on. I was asked at this time to design a series of _________ sans _____ _____ with as many different variants as possible within this 18-unit box. _______ looking at the arithmetic, I realized I could only actually make three of related design. Here you see them. In Helvetica Compressed, Extra Compressed, and _____ Compressed, this _____ 18-unit ______ really boxed me in. It kind of determined the proportions of the ______. Here are the typefaces, at least the lower cases. So do you look at these and say, "Poor Matthew, he had to submit to a problem, and by God it shows in the results." I hope not. If I were doing this same job today, instead of having 18 _______ units, I would have 1,000. Clearly I could make more variants, but would these three members of the family be better? It's hard to say without actually doing it, but they would not be better in the proportion of 1,000 to 18, I can tell you that. My instinct tells you that any improvement would be rather ______, because they were ________ as functions of the system they were designed to fit, and as I said, type is very adaptable. It does hide its methods. All __________ designers work within constraints. This is not fine art.

Solution

  1. system
  2. designed
  3. types
  4. serif
  5. design
  6. slight
  7. quickly
  8. benefits
  9. industrial
  10. ultra
  11. rigid
  12. spacing
  13. condensed

Original Text

There have been some cases, I admit, where I as a designer did feel the influence of technology. This is from the mid-'60s, the change from metal type to photo, hot to cold. This brought some benefits but also one particular drawback: a spacing system that only provided 18 discrete units for letters to be accommodated on. I was asked at this time to design a series of condensed sans serif types with as many different variants as possible within this 18-unit box. Quickly looking at the arithmetic, I realized I could only actually make three of related design. Here you see them. In Helvetica Compressed, Extra Compressed, and Ultra Compressed, this rigid 18-unit system really boxed me in. It kind of determined the proportions of the design. Here are the typefaces, at least the lower cases. So do you look at these and say, "Poor Matthew, he had to submit to a problem, and by God it shows in the results." I hope not. If I were doing this same job today, instead of having 18 spacing units, I would have 1,000. Clearly I could make more variants, but would these three members of the family be better? It's hard to say without actually doing it, but they would not be better in the proportion of 1,000 to 18, I can tell you that. My instinct tells you that any improvement would be rather slight, because they were designed as functions of the system they were designed to fit, and as I said, type is very adaptable. It does hide its methods. All industrial designers work within constraints. This is not fine art.

Frequently Occurring Word Combinations

ngrams of length 2

collocation frequency
sans serif 3
bell centennial 3
straight lines 2
raster line 2
screen fonts 2
technical problems 2

Important Words

  1. accommodated
  2. adaptable
  3. admit
  4. arithmetic
  5. art
  6. asked
  7. benefits
  8. box
  9. boxed
  10. brought
  11. cases
  12. change
  13. cold
  14. compressed
  15. condensed
  16. constraints
  17. design
  18. designed
  19. designer
  20. designers
  21. determined
  22. discrete
  23. extra
  24. family
  25. feel
  26. fine
  27. fit
  28. functions
  29. god
  30. hard
  31. helvetica
  32. hide
  33. hope
  34. hot
  35. improvement
  36. industrial
  37. influence
  38. instinct
  39. job
  40. kind
  41. letters
  42. matthew
  43. members
  44. metal
  45. methods
  46. photo
  47. problem
  48. proportion
  49. proportions
  50. quickly
  51. realized
  52. related
  53. results
  54. rigid
  55. sans
  56. series
  57. serif
  58. shows
  59. slight
  60. spacing
  61. submit
  62. system
  63. technology
  64. tells
  65. time
  66. today
  67. type
  68. typefaces
  69. types
  70. ultra
  71. units
  72. variants
  73. work