Joe Clark Weighs In On Apple Type Debate, Says Microsoft’s Been Doing It Better

If Stephen Cole‘s piece about the iPad revealing Apple‘s casual regard for typography that we posted about the other day left you wanting more, you’re in luck, as it seems to have touched a nerve among type folk. Joe Clark, who runs the blog Fawny, has taken Cole’s write-up as a launching point and written this tremendous piece that’s sure to leave some people irrationally livid: “Where Microsoft Beats Apple.” The quick rundown is Clark saying that as great and beautiful and usable as Apple’s products are, you have to hand it to Microsoft for the past few years for caring and thinking about typography much more than their chief competitor has. Like Coles, Clark details his grievances, which are many and varied, as well as providing what he sees as solutions. And even if he gets a bit technical at times, it’s well worth reading if this is the sort of thing you’re into reading. Here’s one of his proposed fixes:

…Apple can go big by starting small. An in-house design staff of eight, six, or even four can churn out more fonts than you can shake a subpixel at. There are more people than that working just on VoiceOver.

We need new fonts in part to divorce people from their misapprehension that thrice-removed variants of ancient letterpress faces make any sense at all for onscreen reading. Baskerville may have been classy in hot metal on cream-coloured stock a century ago, but it, like Cochin, is completely unusable on a computer today. Don’t wear a top hat and tails to the Water Cube.

For further reading, yet mostly unrelated other than it being about Apple, we recommend checking out Khoi Vinh‘s essay in the upcoming issue of Print about his thoughts on the thing we’ve been hearing again and again, that the iPad is going to save publishing. Vinh isn’t quite so sure that also means publishing design is going to be saved, too.