Display type is not taken seriously enough. Modernism with its “less is more” and “ornament is a crime” teaches us that display letters are unnecessary: they are too loud, they stand out too much, they distort letter shapes, they are not easy to read. Moreover, display typefaces are somehow considered playful and fun and therefore easier to design.
If we go back to the origin of display types, we’ll see that they were invented exactly to distinguish themselves from text ones, to be catchy, to be interesting, to embrace the spirit of their time.
We all enjoy a sleek grotesque or the perfect texture of a book typeface. But why not enriching our usual typographic palette with something decorative, catchy and not necessarily timeless?
Marta Bernstein is a graphic and type designer originally from Milan, now based in Seattle. Type and typography are her true passions and the common threads of all her projects. She has a soft spot for 19th-century type, a topic she has been researching for more than ten years. She presented her ongoing research at international conferences like AtypI and Typographics NYC. She regularly gives workshops and lectures on type. Her teaching roles have included: adjunct professor in Typography at Milan’s Polytechnic, visiting professor in Architecture and Design at University of Navarra and lecturer for the Interior Design master at Tongji University, Shanghai. Marta collaborates with international companies, several start-ups and public institutions. She has a decade long experience in developing identities across various media, and designing wayfinding and signage systems. She is one of the founders of CAST digital type foundry. Marta completed her B.Sc. & M.Sc. in Graphic Design at Milan’s Polytechnic and her M.Des in type design at the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague.