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#lang pollen
(define-meta title "what is good typography?")
hanging-topic[(topic-from-metas metas)]{Reinforces the goals of the text}
Good typography em{reinforces the goals of the text}.
Almost all texts communicate a set of points (em{Summary judgment should be denied for three reasons}). Sometimes a text also needs to instruct the reader (em{Add lines 7 through 21 and enter the total here}). Other texts offer warnings or admonitions (em{You must be 48 inches tall to ride}). In every case, good typography supports and reinforces the message.
Good typography is measured on a utilitarian yardstick. Typography that is aesthetically pleasant, but that doesnt reinforce the goals of the text, is a failure. Typography that reinforces the goals of the text, even if aesthetically unpleasant, is a success.
Does that mean that effective typography can be ugly? Sure. Sometimes ugly is better than pretty.
Look at the link["what-is-typography.html"]{highway signs} again.
The script font used on the second sign could be called prettier than the standard highway-signage font. But a highway sign has a special purpose: its meant to be read quickly, from long distances, at odd angles, and under variable lighting and weather. The highway-signage font stays legible under all these conditions. It constitutes good typography because it supports the goals of the sign.
The script font may be prettier, but in this context, its bad typography because its not suited to the task. Conversely, the highway-signage font would look terrible on a wedding invitation, where the script font would be appropriate.