Typography in 7 Minutes: A PBS Micro-Documentary

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Visibility, invisibility, and what the spirit of letters has to do with the meaning of text

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On Monday, we featured 10 essential books on typography. Today, we turn to this fantastic short documentary on, you guessed it, typography from the excellent Off Book series by PBS Arts. In just 7 minutes, the film explores type — ubiquitous yet often unnoticed and misunderstood — through the work of some of today's most iconic type designers and freshest voices, from Brain Pickings favorite Paula Scher to our friends at Hyperakt, masters of the infographic form, as well as legendary duo Jonathan Hoefler and Tobias Frere-Jones, and Pentagram prodigy Eddie Opara.

"Words have meaning and type has spirit, and the combination is spectacular." - Paula Scher

From the selection and sometimes bespoke creation of fitting typefaces for every print publication, website, movie, ad and public message, to how computers have liberated and democratized typography, to the design decisions behind creating compelling infographics, the microdocumentary offers a succinct case for the power of typography as a communication medium and a storytelling device.

The most challenging part of working on an infographic is taking all the available data and deciding what is the most important bit of information that we need to communicate. Infographics are about typography getting out of the way of the message." - Deroy Peraza

I determine how I design something based on the audience and what the audience would bear. Evoke the response you want while pushing the audience to see something perhaps in a new way." - Paula Scher

For more, feast your type-loving heart on these 10 timeless books about typography.



This post also appears on Brain Pickings.
Images: Maria Popova

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Maria Popova is the editor of Brain Pickings. She writes for Wired UK and GOOD, and is an MIT Futures of Entertainment Fellow.

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