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Typographic Design: Form and Communication, 5th Edition by Philip B. Meggs, Ben Day, Rob Carter

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6

The Typographic Message

Typographic messages pervade our culture to the degree that they are often taken for granted or not noticed at all. Typographic messages are most effective when they are distinguished from the competition. Messages that clearly communicate and are etched into the mind and memory are those characterized by absolute clarity in form and content. This chapter introduces typography as a language of potent visible signs, a language capable of educating, persuading, informing, and entertaining. When typographic signs are created with an informed eye and mind, they achieve both lucidity and aesthetic beauty.

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1. “ping pong” (Poet: Eugen Gomringer)

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4. Title lettering for De Stijl. (Designer: Theo van Doesburg)

A multidimensional language

The typographic message is verbal, visual, and vocal. While typography is read and interpreted verbally, it may also be viewed and interpreted visually, heard and interpreted audibly. It is a dynamic communication medium. In this sense, early twentieth-century typography became a revolutionary form of communication, bringing new expressive power to the written word. Consider the concrete poem “ping pong” (Fig. 1). The geometric structure of this poem is composed of a repetition of the words ping and pong. As these words are repeated, ...

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