"From A to Screen"

As a graphic designer, I was thrilled to read Johanna Drucker's essay "From A to Screen," which supplemented McGann's "Visible and Invisible Books in N-Dimensional Space" quite well. It felt like required reading, in some ways, for thinking about the design field as it is now. Print design while still important falls more and more out of vogue each year, and the digital continues to reign king. Typography as a field continues to change as it did for the printing press. As Drucker points out the history of typography from early Apple products to the present day, the growing capabilities of what can be done with type in the digital present the problems that McGann discusses in the N-dimensional space of the page and the screen.

As Drucker notes how the letterforms that moved to the Gutenberg presses' evolution were remnants of a different era and changed to adapt to the press, so too is our understanding of the limits and potentials of the screen still evolving. In my experience, it is the work of designer near my age group  who are pushing these revolutions in typography. Like Dr. Olds would say, "form follows function." As we expand in the digital, entirely new fields begin to appear that could not have been achieved before. Most of them are in advertising. One of the most in-demand skills a designer can have right now, for example, is that of motion graphics. The realm of the digital allows for movement and nuance (or the inverse of) of the type itself. The experience of the page is different. There is sound and pictures and the words can follow you everywhere in your pocket. We are being guided to a different media experience altogether

Milton Glaser, type hero, designed nearly everything by hand, while designers in the art department here can be loath to even pick up a sketchbook. It's not so much that one way or the other is better, rather than that, a way of thinking about design is changing with each generation. Our approaches differ, and thus, our values differ. The in-between stage of design, where the idea exists on the N-dimensional space of paper, drawn-out rather than in vectors or pixels, is leaving the consciousness of the design world. It's exciting. It's worrisome. More than anything, I suppose, it's fact.