I am delighted that I have been invited to speak at the Typographics conference in New York (June 17/18). Last year’s inaugural edition was one of my favorite events – a nicely programmed two-day conference at Cooper Union, flanked by almost two weeks’ worth of workshops, walking tours and a second, more experimental and spontaneous track, the TypeLab. This year’s schedule looks mighty interesting; my talk (titled “Contrasting with Convention”) will discuss reversed contrast in typeface design, and inhowfar that particular design parameter might be interesting to question:
It is one of the most fundamental conventions in Latin typeface design that verticals are made thicker than horizontals. Designers that have challenged this rule often delight in — and emphasize — the outrageous strangeness of letters made thick and thin in the ‘wrong’ places. So is ‘reversed contrast’ just a recurring but ultimately useless provocation? Or might this intermittently hyped but largely neglected quadrant of design space yet yield promising, perhaps even useful new solutions? A tale of convention and contrast, exploration and experiment, of breaking and making the rules of design.