Harmony

HARMONY is determined by relationships or proportions. Proportions are hidden everywhere: in the capaciousness of the margins, in the reciprocal relationships to each other of all four margins on the page of a book, in the relationship between leading of the type area and dimensions of the margins, in the placement of the page number relative to the type area, in the extent to which capital letters are spaced differently from the text, and not least, in the spacing of the words themselves.”

“Typography makes at least two kinds of sense, if it makes any sense at all. It makes visual sense and historical sense. The visual side of typography is always on display, and materials for the study of its visual form are many and widespread.”

in The elements of typographic style, Robert Bringhurst, 1946

 “Whiteness is never a sure sign of quality and durability. Lightly tinted book printing paper — the tint as a rule almost unnoticeable — is superior. It doesn’t blind the eye and it promotes a harmony between paper and print that can be achieved on white paper only in rare and exceptional cases.”

“The word symmetrical may not be used when we talk about a typographical arrangement, because something is symmetrical only if one half is the mirror image of the other half. Originally, the word meant balance in general. Over time the meaning has narrowed down to that mentioned above. Strictly symmetrical things do not necessarily have to be ugly, but they are rarely beautiful.”

“In art, a nude is never portrayed standing at attention, but rather in a non-symmetrical position;(…) In the same way, a quasi-symmetrical book title is beautiful and full of expression thanks to the subconsciously perceived tension between the asymmetrical word images and lines and the desire to enfold these elements and bind them to a symmetrical order.”

“Typography is a servant, not a master; the right gesture is invariably defined by expediency. It is therefore not inconsistent, (…) As we can see, there is no real disparity between apparently symmetrical typography and the uncentered kind. What we have instead is a wide range of efforts that result in typography where either a centered composition or a dynamic one dominates. These arrangements and all their varieties may be suitable for the job at hand, or they may not. We can only hope that the results in each case are beautiful.”

in The Forms of the Book – Essays on the Morality of Good Design, Jan Tschichold, 1948

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