Tools of the trade
The art of the alphabet makes few demands. It offers many approaches to excellence, both simple and complex. These are matters of taste.
D espite all claims to the contrary, I believe there’s hope for the world yet. I have two reasons. One is the survival quality of the alphabet. In the long run, neither individual not institutional silliness seems to have made serious mischief. The other reason is that it never seems to stop fascinating people.
We make letters that have already been made through the ages in unthinkable numbers. Not only do we work on a style. Much of our delight is in modifying and redefining it so it reflects who we are.
I have trust in people and believe that in the long haul, good sense will prevail, Until it does, watching the fights is no end of fun.
A longer version of these notes first appeared in Sixty Alphabets, published by Thames and Hudson, London 1986.
For real dirt on Cobden-Sanderson, see John R Nash: Mr Cobden-Sanderson’s Two-Handed Engine, The Book Collector, Volume 25 No 4, London 1976, pp 491–506.