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Lettering

Divisive passion


Scots rule 2


Three styles

Assorted flavors
Letters have many functions. They can be bold or expressive, or the outcome of reflection and analysis. They are shaped by circumstances

Divisive passion

Function or feeling or both?

P eople who like lettering disagree over everything. They argue about the very purpose of the alphabet, which is as good a point for a fight as any.

Some say that letters exist to be read and therefore the things that interfere with legibility should be discouraged. (This is a bit like saying that the purpose of liquor is to get you drunk. If it were right, people would swig metal polish, and the farmers of Cognac, Burgundy, and Champagne grow potatoes.)

The alphabet, the argument goes, should be a well-mannered servant who quietly carries messages from author to reader. This is sometimes true: it is just what we need in the telephone directory. Fortunately, the world still has other uses for letters as well. We celebrate the alphabet for other reasons than legibility. We enjoy all the passion and the fury and could hardly have more fun without breaking the furniture.

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Scots rule 2