Letter Art: Definitions of Terms

I have been incorrect in my usage for Sunday posts.

Typography Versus Lettering
Typography has to do with type. Little bits of metal (usually) used in repeat printings. Lettering is the custom drawing of a small group of letters for a specific purpose.

“Type: prefabricated letters that are made to be reused many times and in any order.
“Lettering: one-of-a-kind letters that are made (drawn, painted, carved) in situ for a single piece.”
Lettering is Not Type: Clear Definitions for Commonly Abused Terms by Stephen Coles

My use of “typography” as a category was flat out wrong. The “Text Art” title was technically correct. It’s all text. OTOH, text can also refer to the block of words or to the content independent of the text style. The current running title is more accurate.

“Mark Simonson made a nice analogy that helps distinguish the two: Lettering differs from type in the same way that modeling clay differs from Lego bricks.” ibid

(Speaking of correct usage, it should be LEGO bricks. At least that is what the company would prefer. As an AFOL, that’s what I use. In the newspaper world, AP style trumps corporate style. But I digress.)

Lettering Versus Calligraphy
Calligraphers write letters. Letters draw letters.

“Calligraphy is based on penmanship; it’s essentially “writing letters.” Lettering, on the other hand, is based on draftsmanship, i.e. “drawing letters.”
Understanding The Difference Between Type And Lettering
By Joseph Alessio

Typeface Versus Font
While we are at it, typeface & font are not the same

Typeface: the design of a set of characters.
Font: the vessel for a set of characters.
Clear Definitions

Not sure I grok this.

“I often see “typographer” used to describe someone who makes typefaces, but we have separate terms for these two very different disciplines, just like blacksmiths make hammers and carpenters use them.” ibid

So What?
Does the difference matter? In the sense of ‘Ooooh, look at the pretty letters”, not at all. In my effort to learn about the field, yes. I would be interested in a book on lettering. I would be less interested in a book on typography.

Categories: Blogging

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