Wednesday, November 09, 2005


The one thing about this essay that really bothered me, and even had me talking to myself was on page 225 when the author asked ". . . if a typeface is considered illegible, is it still a typeface?" Huh? Well, if you can't distinguish a typeface as being letters, I would say no, it definately is not a typeface. If you can't makeout the alphabet, then it is just a series of pictures. It still maybe good design, but not a typeface. Now, if a designer uses a typeface (that was originally legible) in a design in such a way as to make it illegible, thats a different story.

I really had no idea that typeface designs weren't copyrightable (is that even a word?) and while I do understand the logic behind it somewhat, it still seems pretty stupid. I mean, what person with reasonable intelligence can't see the obvious difference in design between say helvetica and garamond? Do they really think that someone could claim the copyright to the alphabet itself just because their typeface design was copyrighted? Would someone? Hm. People are pretty much jerks these days, maybe someone would. But anyhow, it seems that VanderLans' main argument is that we need to be able to copyright typeface designs in order to prevent people and companies from ripping off pre existing typefaces and to save the beauty and integrity of type. Unfortunately, I don't think that it would work that way. First of all, even if the copyright laws were changed, wouldn't it be pretty easy for someone to just change a typeface ever so slightly and then say "Eureka! It's my own, completely original typeface!"? Seems like they probably would. And also, even if you did prevent people from stealing typeface designs and making cheaper, uglier copies, that doesn't neccessarily mean that the original ones that were produced would be any better. Unfortunately, people are always looking for the thing that is easier, faster, cheaper. And as long as these "knockoff companies" are producing typefaces that anyone can easily buy over the internet for cheap, theirs are the ones that will abound.


Post a Comment

<< Home