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Design for Hackers: Reverse-Engineering Beauty by David Kadavy

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Appendix B: Typographic Etiquette

The journey of language through technology has created a variety of rules and habits, customs and taboos. Knowing which rules are still applicable and which are outdated can be difficult.

In this appendix, I explain some common mistakes that people make when working with type in today’s technology. I also outline some typographic “rules” that very few untrained designers are aware of.

You don’t need to memorize and follow these rules. My goal is simply to illuminate the principles of clear typographic communication. If you find yourself in a situation that isn’t covered in this appendix, just remember these principles:

> Typography exists to communicate language. Anything that hinders or interferes with this communication is undesirable.

> Typographic form is derived from a mixture of medium and language. The inherent qualities of the medium should always be considered when making typographic decisions.

> The aim of a typeface is to allow the inherent qualities of the individual letters to shine through, sometimes while conveying a particular mood. Letterforms should be in harmony with one another, and no particular letter should have qualities that cause it to stand out from its brothers and sisters.

> The design of a typeface should be respected. Creating beautiful typefaces takes a lifetime of dedication and careful craftsmanship. Anything that alters the qualities of a typeface compromises its ability to communicate clearly.

> An even texture ...

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