Quote of Note | Matthew Butterick

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By Stephanie Murg Comments

“Have you ever heard this before? ‘Make it pretty’? I think that if you’ve ever told anyone what you do in school, or what you do for a living, or if you’ve ever had friends, if you’ve ever had parents, if you’ve ever had clients—then you’ve heard ‘make it pretty.’ Or some variation of it–like ‘make it look good.’ When people say to me ‘Isn’t that what typography is about? Making it pretty?’ I cringe a little bit. It sounds wrong. But on the other hand, that’s not really fair, because as designers, we do want things to look good, usually. We don’t want them to look bad. So what’s the problem with ‘make it pretty’? The problem is that making it pretty is the lowest form of typography. It’s just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. There’s more below the waterline, is what I want to say to these people.”

-Writer, designer, and lawyer Matthew Butterick in “Rebuilding the Typographic Society,” his presentation at last month’s TYPO London conference.