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Stempel Garamond Aa B b Cc D d

Excerpt from ‘Discovery by Design’ by Zuzana Licko from Émigré #32 Although science and design are both based upon experimental investigation, the comparison is not altogether straightforward; science investigates naturally occurring phenomena, while design investigates culturally created phenomena. But if such a parallel is to be made, then we might replace a falling tree by a typographic possibility and thereby ask the question "Does a typographic phenomenon exist if no one recognizes it?" Potentially, if every graphic and typographic possibility already exists, and each is waiting to be discovered,

then we need only create an appropriate context in order to bring life to any of them. For example, consider the 26 letters in our alphabet and how they are combined to form words. There is a finite number of combinations, or words, if we limit ourselves to words of a certain length; say, five letters. Then, for the ease of pronunciation, let's omit all words that contain a string of three or more consecutive consonants. Even with these restraints to give some "meaning" within our understanding of words, there will be many words that will have no meaning to us. Does this mean that these are not words? Does a sequence of letters not form a word when we do not recognize its meaning?


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