Most of you know that different fonts and typefaces can give your documents a certain feel, a certain flair, or a certain artistic element that you wouldn’t get using the same old font for everything. So, I was reading an article about a relatively famous typographer, Eric Gill, the developer of a number of typefaces.
The interview is interesting, the history of typefaces is interesting, and getting a perspective on the world 100 years ago is also interesting. But the very last thing that he said, about artistry, beauty, and making something that’s valuable, is really what stuck with me:
I think an artist is not a person who makes things beautiful, but simply one who deliberately makes things as well as he can — whether he is a clock-maker or picture-painter; because machine-made things are very much better when no “designer” has had anything to do with them — when they are just plain serviceable things. I think that if you look after goodness and truth, beauty will take care of itself.
I adore this sentiment. Make the thing that is useful, elegant, concise, and not wasteful, and that will make it beautiful. It’s the type of sentiment that applies to so many types of artifice, from typefaces to clock-making to the motions of the planets.
What a great sentiment! R.I.P., Eric Gill (1882-1940), and thank you for leaving us with all that you’ve created in this world.