Note from Ty: In 2006 I read a thought-provoking article by Peter Biľak entitled “In Search of a Comprehensive Type Design Theory” in which he debates the merits and feasibility of developing an all encompassing theory for type design. Peter’s article inspired the name “Type Theory” for this site. Peter was gracious enough to allow me to republish his original article in its entirety here for you.
Peter’s original article can be found at Typotheque: www.typotheque.com
Have you ever heard a conversation between two type designers? Even the most patient, well-intentioned outsider might find himself smiling embarrassedly, excusing himself and looking for an exit, dumbfounded. Type designers, like computer programmers, clinical biochemists, entomologists and agricultural scientists are marked by an unintelligible jargon and slavish devotion to their pursuits; what sets them apart, however, is the seeming unimportance of their discussions. We type designers might be convinced that our profession is vital to society, but we wouldn’t risk going on strike to test how indispensable we really are. Like printer cartridges or pen refills, fonts are undoubtedly very practical and serve their function, but the public seems to take them for granted and largely ignores them.