What hap­pened was, Lau­ren brought home Bringhurst’s The Ele­ments of Ty­po­graph­ic Style and I was in­stant­ly cap­ti­vat­ed, by the book’s beau­ty and al­so the pow­er of its mes­sage. So I’ve got ty­pog­ra­phy on my mind. Stand by for more on the sub­jec­t, but it struck me im­me­di­ate­ly that I’m liv­ing a ty­pog­ra­phy les­son at work, in the form of the fa­mous Ama­zon six-pager.

It’s not a se­cret; to start with, read Brad Porter’s ex­cel­lent The Beau­ty of Amazon’s 6-Pager (although in typo-geek mod­e, I have to point out that “Six-pager” reads much more nice­ly than “6-Pager”).

Like Brad says, we put in­tense work in­to writ­ing these things, and then oth­ers of us put in­tense work in­to read­ing them. I’m at a place in the struc­ture where I find my­self do­ing both; nei­ther is eas­i­er than the oth­er.

As a guy who’s in­vest­ed years in­to de­scrip­tive markup and struc­tured doc­u­ments and flex­i­ble pre­sen­ta­tion and so on, I ought to be hor­ri­fied by six-pagers, which are fixed-format pag­i­nat­ed word-processor out­put. But in fact they work great. It saves so much time when you can say “That repli­ca­tion se­tup, sec­ond para on page 3, won’t it mur­der write throughput?”

You know what I’m start­ing to see? Peo­ple putting in line num­ber­s. And that’s an even big­ger time-saver, par­tic­u­lar­ly if you want to raise an is­sue about how this on page 1 re­lates to that on page 5.

Oh, and we do some ini­tial re­view­ing elec­tron­i­cal­ly, but when it mat­ter­s, six-pagers are print­ed. Be­cause of course.



Contributions

Comment feed for ongoing:Comments feed

From: eerie quark doll (Apr 23 2017, at 19:07)

Quasi-apropos of that: Amazon Ember is a really beautiful and easy-to-read font.

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From: Tim (but not THE Tim) (Apr 23 2017, at 19:54)

First - the "descriptive markup" link returns 404 (as of 20170424T0252Z)

Second - is there an example of a 6-pager somewhere?

I am always interested in anything which prevents my time being wasted in a meeting, or which prevents a meeting from producing a decision that is needed.

[link]

From: Mark Groen (Apr 23 2017, at 21:46)

Re: :"descriptive markup" link 404 on Six-page-Typography article

Just shows up as a bad link in your RSS feed for me, looks like the "ongoing" bit is missing.

https://www.tbray.org/When/200x/2003/04/09/SemanticMarkup

https://www.tbray.org/ongoing/When/200x/2003/04/09/SemanticMarkup

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From: John Cowan (Apr 24 2017, at 08:00)

Bringhurst on typography is great, but stay away from his pseudo-translations from Haida (yes, it's the same guy); he doesn't know what he's doing.

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From: Gavin B. (Apr 26 2017, at 05:58)

An example of the prose style (Chap 10)

"Typography begins with arranging meaningful marks that are already made. In that respect, the practice of typography is like playing the piano - an instrument quite different from the human voice. On the piano, the notes are already fixed, although their order, duration and

amplitude are not. The notes are fixed but they can be endlessly rearranged, into meaningful music or meaningless noise."

[link]

From: Norman Walsh (May 02 2017, at 18:50)

Bringhurst’s book is one of my favorite typography books. ("I wonder where it is," he says to no one in particular, or everyone, perhaps, "in a box somewhere, I suppose.")

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April 23, 2017
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