Gerry Leonidas will talk about the forthcoming Greek-English Intermediate Lexicon, a major new publication that he designed for Cambridge University Press, now in its final stages. The Lexicon sought to break with a typographic tradition for reference works going back to the nineteenth century, and take advantage of recent advances in typeface design. The hierarchy of information represented a particularly challenging typographic environment, which in turn offered a unique opportunity to design the Lexicon by taking full advantage of contemporary typeface families. Gerry will explore the typographic problems in the Lexicon, outline the questions raised by the project on the planning of type families, and comment on the differentiation of scripts for parallel use. The talk will underline the role of typeface design in high-end typography, and offer insights into the design of a document that will have a shelf life measured in decades.
"It takes four seconds to make up your mind about a typeface, and about eight minutes to explain why, in detail. It takes about ten years, give or take a couple, to figure out why all the print typographers moan that there's more to Good Typography than a nice typeface; they'd say it would take as much to explain the whole thing. Gerry will attempt to do it in 44 minutes, leaving just enough time for a joke about old typographers."
I contemplate my portable technology in a state of uncompromising and insatiable appetite for the Surprisingly Better, yet invariably feel disappointed at the reliably unimaginative incremental improvements. I cannot escape the notion that those who make my technology must possess an overwhelmingly banal idea of myself. So I will take this opportunity to line some targets up, and have a good rant.
For at least twenty years, the end of typography is happening any minute now. Various developments in technology and changes in our habits are supposed to kill it off. Similar claims have been made for typography's esoteric offspring, typeface design. And yet, both are not only surviving as activities, but they are positively thriving: more people are interested, more are talking and reading about typography, and more people are going to more events (like this one). So, what's the secret? This talk is about typography's secret power: what regenerates it after every call for doom, and draws ever more people in. It is a talk about a one-way street, where once typography becomes part of your world, there is no way out. Zombies indeed.