Unlike the flowing, balletic movements of hand-rendered letterforms, there is nothing swift in typographic forms. Intentionally arranging typeforms is slow, staged, expensive, and always deliberate. Typeface-making invites reflection, discussion, and review. Typefaces will stretch the limits of their encoding technologies to maximise the potential to act as agents of design discourse, cultural commentary, innovation and experimentation. This observation applies across typemaking and typesetting technologies — any variations we perceive are a factor of the number of people working on making typefaces, and the ease with which people can make one more typeface.
So far, so good. But once a critical level of people and speed of work are reached, typefaces accelerate their move away from those swift, nimble hand-crafted shapes, towards a richer, complex, and nuanced design space. These shapes bear evidence of methodologies involving deconstruction, sampling, and cross-referencing in ways that indicate a freedom from historical and manual models and conventions, but also an approach to risk in design that is entirely of its time. In this exploded design space the comfort of tool limitations and conventions is absent, and the true dimension of typefaces is revealed: not objects (or representations of objects), but instances in a knowledge network, rich with information and potential for interpretation.