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3] We do not dress in crinolines nowadays, but in a more rational manner.
Every period has its own formal and cultural features,
expressed in its contemporary habits of life, in its
architecture and literature.
The same applies to language and writing. We recog
nise clearly enough that literary forms of past ages
do not belong to the present times. A man would make
himself ridiculous who insisted on talking to-day in the
manner of the Middle Ages.
Later, we shall see that the type designs of tradition do
not respond to the essential requirements of type suit
able for use to-day. We look back upon a long line of
development in type design, and we have no intention
of criticizing the heritage which now oppresses us. But
we have reached a stage when we must decide to break
with the past. When we are confronted with a collec
tion of traditional styles we ought to see that we can
turn away from the antiquated forms of the Middle
Ages with a clear conscience to the possibilities of
designing a new character of type more suitable to the
present and what we can foresee of the future.
In the course of the centuries our language has changed.
It has become shorter, sound-changes have taken place,
new words have been coined, new concepts have been
formed. Language itself needs completely re-organiz
ingbut this is a tremendous subject. We will not
enter upon it, but limit ourselves to consideration of
Out of the conglomerate mass of historical shapes
illustrated above there has emerged, as a last phase,
the form of classical Roman type, with variations until
we arrive at the simplified form without serifs, popu
larly known as "Sans-serif" or "Sans." In England
the most familiar type of this order is commonly known
as "Gill Sans," after the name of its designer, Eric Gill.
Sans-serif type is the child of our period. In form it is
in complete harmony with other visible forms and
phenomena of modern life. We welcome it as our most
Variations in classic Roman type