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50 Typography Quotes

These typography quotes will help you better understand how this form of design works and why it matters.

If you are considering a career in typography, they might also help you decide whether it is the right move for you.

So, just what is typography? Well, it is the art and technique of arranging type.

Typography makes written language legible, readable, and visually appealing when displayed.

According to the section of quotes about what typography is, you will find that some people think it is much more than that!

There are many things to consider when arranging letters, numbers, and symbols to convey a message.

A typographer must select typefaces, point sizes, line lengths, line-spacing (leading), and letter-spacing (tracking), as well as adjust the space between pairs of letters (kerning). 

The history of typography is fascinating. The word itself comes from the Greek words τύπος typos “form” or “impression” and γράφειν graphein “to write.”

Everything from humanity’s earliest drawings to modern-day fonts can be a form of typography. 

Keep reading through these typography quotes from famous typographers like Wim Crouwel to learn more!

Typography quotes that will help you better understand just what typography is

Now, you might know the technical definition of typography. However, seeing it through the passionate eyes of these typographers will help you better understand what typography is to them.

1. “Type is what meaning looks like.” ― Max Phillips

2. “Typography is what language looks like.” ― Ellen Lupton

3. “Type is a dance, and the designer is the choreographer, sort of.” ― Richard Lipton

4. “Type design is about function. Drawing pretty shapes isn’t enough.” ― James Todd

5. “Perfect typography is certainly the most elusive of all arts. Sculpture in stone alone comes near it in obstinacy.” ― Jan Tschichold

6. “Type is saying things to us all the time. Typefaces express a mood, an atmosphere. They give words a certain coloring.” ― Rick Poynor

7. “For me, typography is a triangular relationship between design idea, typographic elements, and printing technique.” ― Wolfgang Weingart

8. “Typography is two-dimensional architecture, based on experience and imagination, and guided by rules and readability.” ― Hermann Zapf

9. “Typography is the craft of endowing human language with a durable visual form.” ― Robert Bringhurst, The Elements Of Typographic Style

10. “Typography is to literature as musical performance is to composition: an essential act of interpretation, full of endless opportunities for insight or obtuseness.” ― Robert Bringhurst, The Elements Of Typographic Style

Typography quotes about words and reading

Since typography is about conveying something through the written word, it makes sense that a lot of typography quotes would be about reading. Check out the quotes below for more perspective.

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11. “You can’t be a good typographer if you aren’t a good reader.” ― Stephen Coles

12. “Words have meaning. Type has spirit. The combination is spectacular.” ― Paula Scher

13. “Display type is a visual voice. Without reading, it imparts its messages.” ― Laura Worthington

14. “The beauty of type lies in its utility; prettiness without readability serves neither author nor reader.” ― James Felici

15. “When it is a good design, the reader has to feel comfortable because the letter is both banal and beautiful.” ― Adrian Frutiger

16. “I’m very much a word person, so that’s why typography for me is the obvious extension. It just makes my words visible.” ― Erik Spiekermann

17. “Good typography can help your reader devote less attention to the mechanics of reading and more attention to your message.” — Matthew Butterick

18. “Good typography, first, makes words readable. At its best, it does something more: it helps express the animating spirit of the ideas behind the words.” ― Michael Bierut

19. “A modulated serif text face usually does not, and they may be stripped of serifs so that they look streamlined and somehow modern, but they have the forms we’re used to in a typeface for reading.” ― John D. Berry

20. “Type design moves at the pace of the most conservative reader. The good type-designer, therefore, realizes that, for a new font to be successful, it has to be so good that only very few recognize its novelty.” ― Stanley Morison

Typography quotes about art, design, and language

Typography is an art form. It combines elements of design, science, and language to deliver words so that we can read them and make an impression on us.

21. “Typeface development is the most artistic science and the most scientific art there is.” ― David Marshall

22. “Some very talented type designers have given us a wealth of new tools to work with; let’s put them to use.” ― John D. Berry

23. “Perfect typography is certainly the most elusive of all arts. Sculpture in stone alone comes near it in obstinacy.” ― Jan Tschichold

24. “Typography tended to alter language from a means of perception and exploration to a portable commodity.” ― Marshall McLuhan

25. “All schools should be teaching typography; we should be fundamentally aware of how typographic language is forming out.” ― Neville Brody

26. “There are bad types and good types, and the whole science and art of typography begins after the first category has been set aside.” ― Beatrice Warde

27. “Geometry can produce legible letters, but art alone makes them beautiful. Art begins where geometry ends, and imparts to letters a character transcending mere measurement.” ― Paul Standard

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28. “The letters of the alphabet, the character of a typeface, are building blocks. Besides being symbols to construct a written language, they can be used to compose any visual impression imaginable.” ― Max Kisman

29. “Type designers are, at their best, the Stradivari of literature: not merely makers of salable products, but artists who design and make the instruments that other artists use.” ― Robert Bringhurst, The Elements Of Typographic Style

30. “When a type design is good, it is not because each individual letter of the alphabet is perfect in form, but because there is a feeling of harmony and unbroken rhythm that runs through the whole design, each letter kin to every other and to all.” ― Frederic Goudy

Elements of good (and bad) typography quotes

What makes typography good (or bad)? Keep reading through these quotes to find out!

31. “Form and function together create typographic excellence.” ― R. Roger Remington

32. “For a new font to be successful, it has to be so good that only very few recognize its novelty.” ― Stanley Morison

33. “You can do a good ad without good typography, but you can’t do a great ad without good typography.” ― Herb Lubalin

34. “Typography needs to be felt. Typography needs to be experienced.” ― Helmut Schmid

35. “Every page should explode, either because of its staggering absurdity, the enthusiasm of its principles, or its typography.” — Tristan Tzara, Manifesti Del Dadaismo

36. “Typography must be as beautiful as a forest, not like the concrete jungle of the tenements. It gives distance between the trees, the room to breathe and allow for life.” ― Adrian Frutiger

37. “The typographer must articulate them enough to make them clear, yet not so strongly that the form instead of the content steals the show.” ― Robert Bringhurst, The Elements Of Typographic Style

38. “Building a good font collection is like populating one’s wardrobe. It requires a balance between versatility and expressivity, everyday accessories and special outfits, for special occasions.” ― Jean-Baptiste Levee

39. “The temptation to use typographic trickery can be overwhelming, but the careful typographer must determine what is truly required to best communicate the specific and coherent ideas of the author or artist.” ― Michael Russem

40. “Type design is a job where there is no room for easy solutions. Letters can perhaps be designed quickly using a compass and ruler, but these are unsuitable for a typeface, as they fail to satisfy the subtle optical laws that make reading enjoyable.” ― Georg Salden

More typography quotes 

Still, want to know more about typography? Then these last few quotes are for you.

41. “Lettering is like clay. Type is like lego.” ― Mark Simonson

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42. “Typography is a hidden tool of manipulation within society.” ― Neville Brody

43. “The first time I drew type, I felt like I was at the bottom of Mount Everest.” ― Nina Stössinger

44. “Are some free fonts a gift to humanity rather than a blight on typographic civilization?” ― Ellen Lupton

45. “90 percent of design is typography. And the other 90 percent is whitespace.” ― Jeffrey Zeldman

46. “There are people that think that type should be expressive. They have a different point of view from mine.” ― Massimo Vignelli

47. “The meaning is in the content of the text and not in the typeface, and that is why we loved Helvetica very much.” ― Wim Crouwel

48. “Everywhere you look, you see typefaces. But there’s one you probably see more than any other one, and that’s Helvetica.” ― Michael Bierut

49. “Typography has one plain duty before it, and that is to convey information in writing. No argument or consideration can absolve typography from this duty.” ― Emil Ruder

50. “Typography should be seen as a living entity; each element integrally related, in harmony with the whole, and essential to the execution of an idea.” — Paul Rand, A Designer’s Art

Is typography still a good career choice?

In the digital age, specialists in typography have become rare, but they still exist.

Most graphic designers in today’s world use typography as a secondary skill.

The responsibilities of a typographer are fairly simple, but they involve the meticulous design of fonts and typefaces.

While the job itself sounds simple, the task itself can be difficult and technically challenging.

Typographers need a steady hand, an eye for detail, and creative flair.

They should also be passionate about words and reading.

Where would you expect to work as a typographer?

You might work as a type designer or become a typography expert to assist graphic designers and book publishers.

Sometimes typographers still use traditional materials. However, most use advanced computer software to create their designs.

Advertising agencies also work with typographers to choose typefaces for books, websites, and posters.

Typographers are often independent freelancers or work with graphic design agencies.

If this is a career you are interested in, then getting a degree in graphic design is a good place to start.

You will also want to get some experience working on print jobs.

You will also need to build a portfolio of your work.

The average salary for a typographer in America is around $66,000 annually.

Here are some of the top companies that typographers work for: Google, Microsoft, Dalton Maag, Hoefler & Frere-Jones, Adobe, and YouTube.

Let us know if you or your friends have any other typography quotes to share in the comment section below.

Danielle Dahl, Lead Contributor
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