There’s an excellent article at WIRED this week, “Why Do E-Books Look So Ugly?”
In it, the author points out the role of typography and design in traditional book publishing, and shines a light on the hidden craft that goes into designing a book so well that it seems as if it weren’t designed at all.
She shows why it is pleasant and enjoyable to read a book once it has been typeset, designed and printed, as opposed to the subtle dissonance that comes from trying to read something that has not. The article continues with a superb quote from typeface designer Mark Simonson:
“Different typefaces are like like having different actors in play or different voices in an audio book,” Simonson says. “The variations in typeface influence the personality of the book. Sticking to one font is much like having the same actor play all the different parts.”
And after all of that explanation, hoi polloi jump in with their comments, beginning with:
Thanks, for the info, more and varied fonts is important to the books and to stimulate the brain, something we need to push Amazon with. I wonder if there could be an automatic random font mode?
Someday, I will find a Firefox extension that allows me to strip reader comments from every page on the web.