Why typography can never be neutral
Today, I want to share my degree essay about typography. Hope you will fing it interesting and useful.
The essay compares the neutral and expressive character of typography. This paper is exploring the ability of typography to be neutral for itself. To accomplish this idea the historical shifts and processes of working and creating type are considered together with comparing neutrality and expressivity. The research in the historical development of typographic styles as well as communication approach helps to understand this idea on different levels. We will discuss the function of typography and various techniques of designers of the beginning of the 20th century up to contemporary ones. The paper explores the emotional and personal aspect in the design process of working with typography.
Just as map is the 'notation' of landscape, so typography is the notation of language.

(Baines & Haslam)
Typography is everywhere. Typography delivers most of the information in our world. Smartphones, alarm clocks, newspapers, books, posters, warning signs, cereals — this is a small list of where we find typography. One of the main purposes of typography is to deliver a message, and the first purpose of writing "allowed people all over the world to share common ideas" (Baines & Haslam). The graphic designers have the power to control typography and use it to make personal statement. It is crucial to understand that a designer is a creator of the expressiveness and meaning of the message.
In the book Type and Typography Baines and Haslam are discussing several functions of typography. They refer to four different types of uses: documentation, that is the most 'undesigned' form; an analytical approach, used to present information, like charts and maps; a conceptual approach, that may be called a "prime method of communication"; and an expressive approach, that is directly working with our emotions (Baines & Haslam).This position may seem too detailed, and it will be better to divide typographic functions into simple, rational approach to message delivery and an expressive, experimental one. However, typography can never be called 'neutral' or unexpressive because neutrality is one of the ways to express the idea. "Typography can, of course, be both functional and decorative at the same time" (Goggin, 2013−2014).
The two clear directions that can be traced through its functions are editorial and book design on one hand and communicative work on the other. Many designers are splitting them and use entirely different design methods.

"The editorial work always requires a level of pragmatism, just because of how books function to access information. <…> But a poster or piece of typographic artwork can be much more expressive / poetic, the designer can be in control of all the content, and have a more visible voice" (Worthington, 2013−2014).
In fact, there are more similarities in these approaches than differences. Despite the fact that typography seems to play more hidden role, compared to other design tools, there is always a place for expression in every typographic work.

Typography always has a visual language that cannot leave the whole work neutral. History of typography and letters will help us to analyse the role of technical development in the typographic styles. Neutrality is one of the styles that are used to emphasise and support the message. Typography is "having fun with words", as Dan Crowe is asserting in the Zembla Magazine (Rick Poynor, 2004), and if you are having fun, there won't be a place for sterile and unemotional result.
History ▸ Letters
I do not believe that there is such a thing as bad type design, only bad typography.

(Famira, 2013−2014)
While talking about typography, we need to mention historical developments and changes in the creation of typefaces as well as to understand the shifts that happened at different periods. The changes of movements and shapes of letters have affected the way that typography looks like. Experimental Jetset thinks that "letter is first of all an object, an abstract (or better said, concrete) shape. <…> It does not carry the same representational, illusory power as, for example, a full-colour photograph does" (Experimental Jetset, 2013−2014). On the contrary, others pay more attention to the expressive power of letters. The development of so many typefaces is the result of looking for a better way to deliver the idea behind the work. The emerge of first letters was an important moment in the history of human development, that helped people to understand each other at distance.
The shape of the letter has not changed a lot from the shapes of the first letters. When the letterforms were established, the generation of the way these forms may look like started. "The letter-cutters of the fifteen century did not invent 'gothic'. <…> To them they were simply letters" (Gill, 2013). The first letters' styles were simply the shapes that was easy to make using the tools that were available at that period.
The growth of the typefaces and typestyles available on the market created a great variety of visual tools that a designer can use. Different fonts are serving different purposes. "Though it is commonly done, it is not right to use the same typefaces for poems as for the reports of Board meetings" (Munari, 2008). Every typeface (or, at least, groups of typefaces) has their function. Understanding when it is appropriate to use one or the other typeface is part of the graphic design job. Some of the typefaces are legible and suitable for long reading, some serve only decorative purpose — they all have their own job to accomplish. Typefaces can also serve the communicational task: "the choice of typeface is often telling, in that it indicates the ideas and beliefs that inform the process of deign"' (Kinross, 1985). A designer can use different typefaces to create a relation between the visuals and information.
In many cases, typefaces can be compared to fashion. Adrian Frutiger had created many different typefaces, and when Kinross asked about the amount of them, answered: "it is like the clothes that men wear, changing every few years according to cultural and technical shifts" (Frutiger 1989, cited in Kinross, 2011). Generations are changing, and the visuals of typefaces are changing. These historical 'fashion' periods can be used to deliver the feeling as well: using typefaces that were popular in the certain period may help to emphasise the atmosphere of the message. The 'fashion' does not affect the way people read; it is only adding the mood. Baines and Haslam are discussing this topic, stating that people are getting used to the new letterforms and appearances, and the thing that matters is to make the text readable and attractive to the audience that is reading it now. "Our collective perception of what is legible is not a constant value: with every reading the unfamiliar becomes familiar" (Baines & Haslam, 2012).
Knight and Glase are discussing the role of old typefaces in modern typography, talking about the way the appearance of a font can change the perception. They are considering the typographic logo of UK newspaper (figure 1) to show how a typeface can change the meaning and perception of a brand. "The gothic letterforms are seen by the brand’s target audience as being the height of fashion and desirability. To some, however, the same typeface in a different context would imply tradition, heritage, reputation and possibly even political persuasion" (Knight & Glase, 2012b). A designer should understand how to emphasise the character of his work by the proper use of typefaces.
Figure 1
History ▸ Process
The first industrial changes strongly influenced the appearance of typography. The idea of simplicity and neutrality seems to be not only a desire but a practical need as well. "In 1908, the architect Adolph Loos proclaimed: 'The evolution of culture is synonymous with the removal of ornament from utilitarian objects'" (Loos 1908, cited in Eye, 2009). At first one may read this quote as the development of humans desires, a more simple approach, however, this quote is more about the disability of machines to create custom and decorative things. "Houses, clothes, furniture and all appliances and convenient gadgets must be so made [without ornament]; and this is not because we hate ornament & the ornamental, but because we can no longer procure such things" (Gill, 2013). The same is fair with typography. Gill was writing a lot about the changes in typography with the machine industrial era and has come to a conclusion that "the typography of industrialism will be plain" (Gill E., 2013).

Industrialism also affected the typeface development.
"Sanserif was an appropriate vehicle for a new vision of life: simple and beautiful in its purity. Though to this vision, the modernists were to add another dimension: sanserif was the letterform of the machine age"

(Kinross, 2011).
It looks like a vicious circle: simplicity is machine made, and machines are making simple things. Sanserifs became very popular because they can be made faster and later became the representation of the new modern era. And now we can say that there is not such a thing as 'pure design', but this all followed the industrial process.
Commerce and technical process were always playing a significant role in every aspect of graphic design: if you cannot make it, you will not sell it. Sanserif typefaces were easier to work with, and they could be used for a longer period because of their form, and the new way to make typefaces has made this style popular and attractive. "The good man is a reasonable man, and the good work is a reasonable work"' (Gill, 2013). All the decorations cost more and adding colour was not a fancy matter, as Gill called it, but something understandable: more decorations — more work — bigger price — more attention. If "the printer's aim is to produce not the useful only but that which is delightful also" (Gill, 2013), the businessmen should clearly understand the reasonableness, and probably to find the way to make good design at a lower production price. There should be a proper balance between decoration for the sake of decoration and decoration for the expressiveness aim as well as an ability to produce it.
The important thing was to understand how to work under a new system of manufacture. And the new instruments required a new method, and there started a period of experiments and attempts to learn how to take most out of new technologies. "The process itself implied and necessitated a standardisation of materials" (Kinross, 2004). Standardisation was vital in the development of the typography as many typographic rules appeared through standardisation. It was followed by the question of universality. "Design, born in the early twentieth century, was a search for a language of form that was plastic or mutable, a visual syntax that could be learned and thus disseminated rationally and potentially universally" (Blauvelt, 2008). Universal language for different pieces of work could solve many design and technical issues at one time. The idea of universality was most popular in the twentieth century. However its roots go back to at least 16th century in Europe (Kinross, 2011). In the late 1950s, two typefaces appeared that were very close to being totally universal — Univers and Helvetica. They both were created to be used in all possible areas of design and for as many jobs as possible. The main thing that distinguished them from others was the enormous amount of styles, so they might work under different circumstances.
History ▸ Shifts
There is no dough that the certain historical shifts that happened during the 20th Century affected typography. People had a reason to change their views and as a result — design approach. First of all, they started analysing what they are doing. The main thing that indicate the modernist typography is the question 'what it must do' instead 'how it should look,' "to that extent all good typography is modernist" (Warde in Armstrong, 2009). The significant thing about modernist typography was the idea that 'form follows function' and that the message itself plays a more important role that the appearance.
Despite the fact that thoughts of modernism appeared at the beginning of the century, there was a gap in developing modernist ideas because of Second World War. In 1942 the Nazi cultural ideology "declared that Roman letterforms were to replace the 'Jewish' Schwabacher as the standard in printing and for all other uses" (Kinross, 2011). However, Jan Tschichold, who wrote New Typography, after being imprisoned during the war, felt that purity and simplicity of this direction were Nazis. "In the purifying order of the New Typography he sensed an element of fascism. During the latter part of his life, he turned back to the classical typography of his early training" (Armstrong, 2009). Nevertheless, after the war the ideas of modernism flourished. "During the 1950s the idea emerged again, suitable mutated in the new context of post-war recovery and technological and social optimism" (Kinross, 2011).
Modernism arrived in a particular time and was very suitable for the situation after the war. At that time the Swiss International Typographic Style appeared that remained on the scene for about ten years (figure 2). "Swiss typography had been a manifestation filled to its time and place: the years of recovery and prosperity in the western world" (Kinross, 2004). However, people get bored with the clarity and simplicity of modernism, they lived through it and were ready for changes. "Predictably, designers in the next decade rebelled against Helvetica and the grid system" (McCoy in Armstrong, 2009). Swiss design has never been neutral: the idea and the visuals were strong, however simple. Nevertheless, after a decade of simplicity, people started looking for something new.
Figure 2
Weingart was one of the first to question the borders of modernism. Poynor sites Weingart words:
"'It seemed as if everything that made me curious was forbidden' <…> — Weingart writes. 'I was motivated to provoke this stodgy profession and to stretch the typeshop's capabilities to the breaking point, and finally, to prove once again that typography is an art'"

(Weingart, cited in Poynor, 2003).
This led Weingart and his students "to question established typography standards, change the rules, and to reevaluate its potential" (Armstrong, 2009). Weingart wrote that knowing the rules was the way to know how to break them. "I also encouraged them to critically analyse letter-spacing to experiment with the limits of readability" (Weingart in Armstrong, 2009).

Some of the editorials (figure 3) looked like the manifest against the simplicity and clarity, full of experiments and unusual approach.
Figure 3
"In 1992, Ray Gun looked like nothing else on the newsstands, including rivals such as Spin and Rolling Stone. For its readers, it offered compelling signs of authenticity, appearing to promise a publication that was non-corporate, irreverent, self-expressive and free"

(Poynor, 2007).
Modernism was calm, postmodernism was shouting about its freedom and expression.

It is possible to explain why proper experiments were very crucial in development of a graphic designer. Everyone understood that experiments should be analytical, not just experiments for the sake of experiments. Poynor sites the words of John Lewis, a British designer and graphic design teacher:
"'Before you start breaking rules,' he writes, 'you should know what they are. Once one knows what are the correct procedures one can look at them critically and see whether by deliberately flouting them anything can be added to methods of communication'"

(Lewis 1963, cited in Poynor, 2003).
Thoughtful experiments lead to reasonable and useful results. In fact, there are two different approaches to experiments. First is just to stay out of the rules: "Creative transgression or 'breaking' of the grid, showed that you wanted to be more than just good" (Mr.Kreedy, 2013−2014). The second is to understand what you are doing and why: "I mean this has nothing to do with grids anymore, and you think that you are doing something great just because you are getting out" (Rand in Kroeger 2008). Experiments are guiding the designer to understand all the possibilities and play a significant role in developing the personal style. Those who are not opened to new approaches are stuck.
"'Do you always mix that many sans serif typefaces?' they asked, and I said yes, because I thought it was an advantage. 'That is not possible, we use Helvetica here,'"

(Boom 2014, cited in Miltenburg, 2014).
In reality, all these experiments seem to be a never-ending story of development. "Post-modernism was sometimes, with justice, seen as simply the next stage of modernism" (Kinross, 2004). Today we feel the need of organisation as in modernism, but with much more emotions that existed in postmodern world. "For most graphic designers Modernism is not an unfinished project, it's an unending one" (Mr.Kreedy, 2013–2014). The styles are changing, new techniques and approaches appear. We cannot say, that Modernism was totally pure or postmodernism was entirely expressive: these are just different styles of communication. Today a designer should know the history and the rules to be able to create something new and outstanding.
Neutrality & Expression ▸ Speech
Like a chair supporting the human skeleton, writing supplements the body's capacity to speak <…> it remains readable in the absence of its author.

(Lupton & Miller, 2008)
No wonder that typography has its roots in the speech. The first intention of written words was to say something to people when you were not near. It is important to understand the differences and similarities between the words we pronounce and the words we read. In fact, all typography represents someone's voice. It can never be neutral as there are no similar voices so there cannot be the same typographic approaches. There are certain differences that separate speech from written, first of all, that the typography is static while speech if continuous. "In print, the reader is presented with information that is fixed in time and in appearance" (Baines & Haslam, 2012). Typography is usually more structured and thoughtful, like a speech that was carefully prepared for the presentation.
Some people understood the written and spoken differently, and the approaches to them should be different. Gill said that "writing is not written talk; it is a translation of talk into a clumsy & difficult medium which has no relation whatever to the time factor of speech and very little reaction to the sound" (Gill, 2013). On the other hand, Gill suggested, that "we need a system in which there is a real correspondence between speech, that is to say, the sounds of language, & the means of communication" (Gill, 2013). The important idea is that we cannot avoid the speech while talking about typography. "Typography today needs to reflect the richness of the way we speak. Through its rigid structure, typography has sacrificed elements such as accent, gender, age, volume, speed, rhythm and geography in order to preserve the meaning" (Baines & Haslam, 2012). There are significant areas that can help the typography to be expressive, and the analogue with speech can help a designer to reveal it.
Power of voice is vital in the spoken world, and many similarities may correspond to typography. "Speech has many forms and purposes: a conversation, a discussion, an order, a cross-examination, a sentence, a sermon, a prayer, an address" (Baines & Haslam, 2012). The same forms the typography takes: typography for an informational list may be different from a typography of a book. Beatrice Warde was talking about it in her Crystal Goblet. "But a good speaking voice is one that is inaudible as a voice. It is the transparent goblet again! <..> Type well used is invisible as type, just as the perfect talking voice is the unnoticed vehicle for the transmission of words, ideas" (Warde in Armstrong, 2009). The interesting thing is that she was talking about the good voice as a transparent one when the voice that is pleasant to listen cannot avoid rhetoric.
Knight's & Glase's article is very visual while discussing the voice of typography (figure 4).
Figure 4
"If you read the first example out loud, it would be a loud, enthusiastic call that exudes genuine delight, friendliness and openness. Reading aloud the second example, the exact same word, would be delivered in a much quieter tone, an almost hesitant voice, lacking the assurance and delight of the first"

(Knight & Glase, 2012a).
And after comparing these two examples it is very hard to disagree with the statement, that "typography is used to communicate tone of voice, personality, age, gender and mood, and it can be easily manipulated" (Knight & Glase, 2012a). Designer is a manipulator, and there is nothing surprising about that. The way how a designer is working with the content to meet the message is important.
"Similarly, small changes in typography can fundamentally alter impact and interpretation. <…> An authoritative, urgent, big, bold 'STOP' suddenly becomes more lighthearted and less weighty and might even come across as teasing when rendered as 'Oh, stop, stop it! I like it!'"

(Knight & Glase, 2012b).
Another similarity is punctuation: the pauses we have between spoken words and the gaps we have between written ones relate to one same idea. Sometimes punctuation helps to emphasise or translate the idea behind the text: we all know, that '!' usually refers to shouting or exclamation, while '…' — to a big pause. "Punctuation marks, as emotive, plastic symbols, have served the artist as a means of expression in painting as well as in the applied arts" (Rand, 2014). In figure 5 it is clear that punctuation marks itself can play an expressive role in design.
Figure 5
Neutrality & Expression ▸ Author Behind
The voice of typography is the voice of a designer behind this work, and usually, it is very hard to avoid an author. In the famous debate between van Toorn and Crouwel, they were discussing issues of being an author. Crouwel's point is that "as a designer I must never stand between the message and its recipient. Instead, I try to present the issue as neutrally as possible" (Crouwel & van Toorn, 2015). On the other hand, van Toorn thoughts are very clear, that "there is the designer's inescapable input and subjectivity. You cannot deny this dialectic, and you should rather see it as an advantage" (Crouwel & van Toorn, 2015). I suppose van Toorn is closer to truth: "The acts you perform take place through you, and you are a subjective link" (Crouwel & van Toorn, 2015) (figure 6 & 7).
Left — figure 6, right — figure 7
You cannot avoid the author, "if a designer is used, you see the designer's 'handwriting" (Boom 2014, cited in Miltenburg, 2014). Boom continues her thought in the quote in Typotheque: "If Otto Treumann makes a poster it is Otto Treumann's poster, and if I make a book, whether I want it or not, it will have the designer's signature" (Boom 2012, cited in Bilak, 2012). The designer has his voice, and it is vivid through his works. The same job being done by different people will look differently. It is a question of time when a designer will found his personal style and approach, but 'with time and experience, every designer develops an individual working method' (Baines & Haslam, 2012).
As Kinross states: "typography was a matter of personal expression, and its products could not be separated from their maker" (Kinross, 2004). Every single designer is working in the way, that separates him from others.
"My work is usually a mix of the poetic and pragmatic in different percentages, when a piece looks pragmatic there's often a poetic or conceptual side that is operating with a quieter voice, or when a poster seems like a giant expressive mess there's often subtle rules and concepts that might be visible only after spending time visually engaging with the piece" (Worthington, 2013–2014) (figure 8).
Figure 8
Some designers prefer to use random typefaces or have a strict plan how to work on a particular job, yet all of them have their style that can be seen through their work and represent themselves. "Type Design has finally enabled me to make my language look the way that I feel as a person" (Famira, 2013–2014). Even if we look at the most 'neutral' direction as book design, we still can say there is an author behind. "Morgan's design is there at your side while you read the book, helping you to enjoy every aspect of its contents, but performing this role so skilfully that you almost forget he's there" (Walters & Birdsall, 2012).
Neutrality & Expression ▸ Books
In planning a book the first questions are: who is going to read this, and under what circumstances?

(Gill E., 2013)
Book design is the one that is supposed to be very conservative and clear; probably this is the less experimental direction of design. And this is true because the information in the book should be presented in a certain way. Weingart, who is known for his experiments with typography, still agrees that the books are something less experimental. "A printed work that cannot be read becomes a product without purpose" (Weingart in Armstrong, 2009). All the books are functioning is particular situations, and people are looking to find certain familiarity. A book is an object, and there are many things that a designer should keep in mind while working on it. Gill was thinking about the context in which books may be read.
"The size of a book is regulated not by what is in it but by the fact that it is read held in the hand (e.g. a novel), or at a table (e.g. books if history or reference with maps or other necessarily large illustrations), or at a desk or lectern (e.g. a missal or a choir book), or kept in the pocket (e.g. a prayer book or a travellers' dictionary)"

(Gill, 2013).
Even a typeface, he thought, should play an important role.
"The undignified typography of the Daily Mail Year Book is certainly unsuitable for the Bible; a fine italic might be suitable for Milton but unsuitable for 'Tono-Bungay'; san-serif may be suitable for a translation of Jean Cocteau but might be unsuitable for a pocket prayer book"

(Gill, 2013).
It is interesting because decades later, Morgan created his Common Worship, using Gill Sans, and it looks great.

The process of reading is a calm and relaxing. "If I sit down to read at the end of a long day or on the bus I want to read without the interruptions of gratuitous aesthetics" (Baines & Haslam, 2012). Even the way we read a book is different from the way we read a poster or informational list. "It is certainly quite wrong to read a poem in a hurry, as if it were a telegram" (Munari, 2008). It is an issue designer should think about.
However, being clear and conservative does not mean that there is no way to experiment. Crouwel supposes that book design should be made by an objective person (Crouwel & van Toorn, 2015). The examples of Irma Boom's books opposes this idea (figure 9). Even if typography plays the second role, the book as an object is expressive. "I'm not playing with text. I invite reader to learn about Sheila Hicks" (TypoTalks, 2012), said Boom. Her type, that is becoming smaller as you read, plays an important role, serves the certain purpose and is very expressive.
Figure 9
It is easy to make a book. It is very hard to create a book that will be pleasant to read and hold in hands. "The pleasantly readable is obviously a much more difficult matter, and involves consideration of the whole business of human love and hates" (Gill, 2013). Irma Boom in her works is experimenting a lot with the boundaries of the book design. She can use Futura, Univers and Aktzxdentz at one spread, or create provoking imagery relation between images, yet this will still be a book that can be read. That is why her books are more like objects, as she is thinking about every part of it, not just typography. "On the other hand, my books are three-dimensional objects and very hard to replace with electronic books. If people come to me, they come for something special or better: they expect something new" (Boom 2012, cited in Bilak, 2012). The same is with Morgan, whose books can be called objects as well. He is more focused on the typographic rules and knows what is the time to break them (figure 10).
Figure 10
"He designs books that are beautiful and desirable objects, good to hold and own and use, yet most of his time is spent thinking about the meaning of words and of characters and the spaces in between"

(Walters & Birdsall, 2012).
Neutral and Expressive
Designers have always investigated neutrality and expressiveness. Should it be neutral or, what is more important, can it be neutral? The first question appeared when designers started examining the message and using the message first. It is a common sense that design should convey message. "The most important thing about printing is that it conveys thought, ideas, images, from one mind to other minds" (Warde in Armstrong, 2009). Kinross considers the statement of De Vinne, who is talking about 'Masculine Printing':
The printer tries to show the intent of the writer by the simplest methods. He does it by selecting easily read types of good cut, and of the plainest form. He does not refuse the aid of the headband or initial, or any device that helps the reader to a better understanding of the subject, but he does discard every ornament that needlessly diverts his attention. He does not try to show his skill, nor his fads, nor his employer’s wealth of types. He keeps himself and his notions in the background. He tries to make his work readable by its simplicity and its honest workmanship, and he succeeds perfectly when the reader finds it a pleasure to read his work, without thinking at all of the means by which this pleasure is had. (De Vinne 1892, cited in Kinross, 2004)
The same idea was at Warde's Crystal Goblet: "typography should not get in the way of the reader and the text, but should (like Beatrice Warde's crystal goblet) be a transparent and civilising container" (Kinross, 2004). Her main idea was that typography can only be neutral, and if it is not — it is a bad typography, because a reader is paying attention to it instead of message. 'Once more it became clear that typography is not self-expression within predetermined aesthetics, but that it is conditioned by the message it visualizes' (Bayer in Armstrong, 2009). My point of view is that neutrality, if it exists, is only one of the ways to convey the message and should not be limited by only one approach, as every job desires certain decisions.
Tschichold was working a lot to create the New typography.
"The essence of the New Typography is clarity. This puts it into deliberate opposition to the old typography whose aim was 'beauty' <…> utmost clarity is necessary today because of the manifold claims for our attention made by the extraordinary amount of print, which demands the greatest economy of expression"

(Tschichold in Armstrong, 2009).
This does not mean that there is no expression, because later Tschichold is talking about communication: "the function of printed text is communication, emphasis (word value), and the logical sequence of the contents" (Tschichold in Armstrong, 2009).

If we look closer at some of the statements of New Typography, we will see, that there is a lot of self-expression; less ornamentation, sanserifs, but yet, relationships, communication and expressivity.
Many contemporary designers support the "prime concern to say something, not to draw attention to typography" (Hanimann, 2013–2014); "The typography was supposed to be as anonymous as the voice behind test" (Tichner, 2013–2014). Still every of the designers listed above has a personal style and approach to solving typographic problems.

Neutral typography does not exist. While talking about neutrality, Kinross states the words of Gui Bonsiepe:
"Information without rhetoric is a pipe-dream which ends up in the break-down of communication and total silence. 'Pure' information exists for the designer only in arid abstraction. As soon as he begins to give it concrete shape, to bring it within the range of experience, the process of rhetorical infiltration begins"

(Gui Bonsiepe 1965, cited in Kinross, 1985).
Weingart, talking about Swiss typography that aimed to be 'pure', called it "sterile and anonymous" (Weingart in Armstrong, 2009).
"Many graphic designers and academics argue that the designer has a responsibility to add 'flavour' to their work, not only helping to convey and enhance meaning, but also making the message enjoyable and encouraging to 'read' and also memorable"

(Knight & Glase, 2012a).
The message may be delivered to a viewer in many different ways and neutrality is only one of them: neutrality is still expressive as long as it is memorable and delightful.

When talking about 'neutral' typography, we need to consider the whole process of communication. Even Crouwel, whose attitude is very clear, said:
"Graphic design consists of a process of ordering for the benefit of the clarity and transparency of information. This needs to be found in particular principles, because clarity and transparency on their own do not lead to quality information"

(Crouwel & van Toorn, 2015).
Legibility exists not only in the pure and sterile world, but it may also be achieved by expression as well. "There was even a place for legibility, for mixing up fonts and mutilating letters, if it would serve the message by adding some excitement" (Lewis 1963, cited in Poynor, 2003).
Van Toorn states, "any design has a certain content, an emotional value" (Crouwel & van Toorn, 2015). Every designer includes something from his previous experience to deliver the message. It may be very direct, "the message itself is very clear and straightforward while the typography itself can remain more ambiguous and open for interpretation" (Sagmeister, 2013–2014). Once again, talking about the book design, "designed by Derek Birdsall and John Morgan in 2000, Common Worship's design may be described as 'text first'. Because the principle use for this prayer book is in church, the layout was designed to accommodate the longest prayer on a single page (avoiding noisy mid-prayer page turning) and prayers are set line-for-live according to sense or verse structure" (Baines & Haslam, 2012). We definitely cannot name this book 'neutral' (figure 11).
Figure 11
Contemporary Situation
Today, in the mid-90s, the term "deconstruction" is used casually to label any work that favours complexity over simplicity and dramatises the formal possibilities of digital production.

(Lupton & Miller, 2008)
History teaches us, history helps designers to start new research and experiment: "reference to history — including very recent history — is of vital importance in improving standards and providing an understanding of where we are now" (Kinross, 1991a). And in fact, history seems to be a sinusoid of every style and approach evaluated with a fresh eye. Every period is not that pure as it seems: "it is clear that not all modernist typography is authoritarian, structured imperialism. <…> It is equally clear that not all deconstructivist work is illegible style-based nonsense paying no attention to content" (Baines & Haslam, 2012). Every direction gave new decisions to make and new experiments to perform. The contemporary world is trying to achieve a style that may be called modernism after postmodernism, with the rational attitude to the meaning and creative expression of form.
The magazine Ray Gun, discussed previously, in its late days, turned out to become "more reflective mood which Jarrett liked to describe as a 'new simplicity'. Layouts were cleaner, dysfunctional typefaces thinner on the ground" (Poynor, 2007). Those who were fighting for the experiments and freedom are becoming more mature and accurate. And we cannot say that we are getting back to modernism, this era has passed. Kinross quotes McLean words: "There is good typography and bad typography, but not modern typography in any significant sense" (McLean 1990, cited in Kinross, 2011).
The process has changed as well. Now all the tools we use to work are so diverse and customisable, that we have no restrictions. We use the old style way of work or prefer a new computer way. We can edit and create typefaces, and the speed of work has increased. Still people are working as they prefer to work. "While Van Toorn took pleasure in the design process as exploration of materials and knowledge, Crouwel and his studio wanted to streamline and standardise that process" (Huygen, 2015). Contemporary designers, remembering the history, are trying to combine the lessons in their work. There is no way for only message or only appearance, designers today need to find the balance. "The Global Style, like the International Style before it, is a prescriptive, language of specific formal compositional rules that when followed will successfully convey a message while pressing a specific mood or emotional response" (Mr.Kreedy, 2013−2014). Modernism created the rules to work with, while postmodernism created the vivid expression.
Different designers have their relationships with new techniques. Gill was pretty radical, while talking about it, "industrialism has released the artist from the necessity of making anything useful" (Gill, 2013). However, later he pointed out that technologies are an advantage. Crouwel supports this idea: "technology is a source of wonder to me, and I have long believed that it would be able to free us from great many difficulties" (Crouwel & van Toorn, 2015).

Technologies are a new environment, that should be used and explored. They are not making you work better, they are making it faster. "I think the computer has nothing to do with creative work. You are not going to be a creative genius just because you have a computer" (Rand in Kroeger 2008). However, there are still things that designers cannot control, like web design.
In this essay we have explored different roots of the origins of typographic styles. It is clear that attempts to create neutral and universal style resulted in only another way to treat the message. Self-expression is essential in graphic design as well as it is in typography, and its power cannot be reduced.
Some designers still think that their approach is neutral and pure, yet they found their answers to certain problems and this is how they only treat the work. It is impossible to extract a person from his work, and there is no need for that. The work of the person separates the real person from the machine and while there are people, who are communicating with real people, the human approach will always be an advantage.
Typography has an expression behind itself; the way what typeface we choose, how we arrange the content, what atmosphere we are reproducing and what we want to say — this all cannot leave the neutrality in the final result. We cannot avoid the atmosphere or associations, we are using materials and tools that convey our ideas. "Whatever it is called, Morgan first learnt to appreciate this elusive element while working for Derek Birdsall's Omnific studio: 'It's the difference between something being good and really great. You need a certain sensibility to achieve that'" (Walters & Birdsall, 2012).
Neutrality is the absence of something. What should the typographic works be absent of? Of designer's voice or personal attitude? In fact, all those who are talking about neutrality, are more focusing on the decoration and ornaments. Typography is not about that, typography is about the way how people speak, what information they receive and how do they feel after. The way how these issues will be answered is the work of a designer, who knows how to work with people as well as how to work with typography.

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List of figures

Figure 1. The online masthead of one of the UK's premier newspapers. [Logotype][Accessed 9 January 2016]

Figure 2. Muller-Brockmann, Josef (1953) Zurich Museum of Arts and Crafts [Exhibition poster] in Muller, L. Pioneer of Swiss Graphic Design. Page 69. Zurich: Lars Muller Publishers.

Figure 3. Ray Gun: Oasis (1997). [Cover] [Accessed 9 January 2016]

Figure 4. Knight C., Glase J.(2012). [Illustration] [Accessed 9 January 2016]

Figure 5. Rand, Paul (1940) Direction [Magazine cover] in Rand, P. Thoughts on Design. Page 93. San Francisco: Chronicle Books LLC.

Figure 6. Crouwel, Wim (1963) Edgar Fernhout, Van Abbemuseum. Eindhoven [Poster] in Crouwel W. & van Toorn J. The Debate. The legendary contest of two giants of Graphic Design. Page 152. America: The Monacelli Press.

Figure 7. Van Roorn, Jan (1967) Kompas 3, Van Abbemuseum. Eindhoven [Poster] in Crouwel W. & van Toorn J. The Debate. The legendary contest of two giants of Graphic Design. Page 157. America: The Monacelli Press.

Figure 8. Worthington, Michael (2012). Lyrics posters [Poster] [Accessed 9 January 2016]

Figure 9. Boom, Irma (2006). Sheila Hicks: Weaving as a Metaphor [Cover of the book] [Accessed 9 January 2016]

Figure 10. John Morgan Studio (2008-ongoing). Architectural Association[Journal spread] [Accessed 9 January 2016]

Figure 11. John Morgan Studio (2000–2012). Services and prayers for the Church of England [Book spread] [Accessed 9 January 2016]
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