Narcissus Koman CONCERNING TYPE NOREQLR STT1DI0 WITH PARTICULAR REFERENCE TO THE DOM1NUS by G. H. Saxon Mills COMMERC1AL ART April, 1925. ABCBEFGHIJK LMNOPQRSTU YWIYZ JCCE IT is not an easy matter to define in so many words that quality in an object, which we cali beauty. But we all know that even apart from works of art, there are certain things from the shape and design of which we receive definite pleasure. Now, it would not be completely true to say that if a thing looks right it is right, but we find that it is very often the case that the more completely it fulfils the purpose for which it was intended, the more pleasing it becomes to the eye, although the mere look of the thing was a question that had probably never entered the designer's head. In other words, beauty of form does not necessarily come fron any conscious striving after this effect on the part of the designer. He is concerned solely with fitness for purpose, with getting the very utmost out of the material at his disposalin short, with effi- ciency. And in the process, this elusive quality, which we cannot exactly define, but which we all re.cognise and valué, is miraculously born. The cut of the sails, for instance, on the famous tea clippers, was a sheer joy to behold. But it was not adopted merely because it pleased the eye. It was rather the result of many centuries of trial and error in finding the most efficient shape possible. How graceful, too, were the long lines of the hull, which had been designed solely that the ship might pass through the water with a minimum of resistance. Take as another example, the evolution of the railway engine. For a whole century designers of locomotives have been entirely concerned with producing engines which will pul! a greater weight at a greater speed at less cost And they have made tremendous progress in this regard. But in com- paring a modern locomotive such as the L.N.E.R. "Flying Scotsman" with Stevenson's "Rocket," we notice more than mechanical improvement. For here again gracefulness of form has crept in, un- bidden, perhaps, even unnoticed, by the designer, and behold, from the awkward ugliness of the "Rocket" a thing of beauty has been evolved, richly satisfying to the eye, and the very embodiment of power and speed. And what, you may ask, has all this to do with the subject on which I am writing Simply thisthat while I admit that my theory may not be generally applicable and, therefore, not completely satisfactory, it certainly holds good in the sphere of type design. The first and last requirement of a type is that it should be legible. The greater its legibility the more HOME of A lDEAS/trADVERTISERS

Commercial Art / Art and Industry en | 1925 | | page 8