in this advertisement makes it unreadable

There are a dozen ancient type­faces in this full-page Yel­low Pages adver­tise­ment that appeared in Print­ers’ Ink, the mag­a­zine of adver­tis­ing and mar­ket­ing man­age­ment. A dif­fer­ent type­face is used on every line. Almost every word is cap­i­tal­ized. A 5‑year-old child could do a bet­ter job with a kid’s print­ing set.

Staff at the adver­tis­ing agency prob­a­bly thought it was bril­liant —the art direc­tor, the copy­writer, and the account exec­u­tive. The adver­tis­ing man­ag­er at Yel­low Pages obvi­ous­ly thought that it was bril­liant. They all agreed to buy space in Print­ers’ Ink to invite oth­er agen­cies and oth­er adver­tis­ing man­agers to spend their cam­paign dol­lars in the Yel­low Pages.

Good copy­writ­ers and art direc­tors use one or two type­faces through­out, for esthet­ic rea­sons and because an ad with few type­face changes looks more homoge­nous, less busy, less distracting.

And they know not to print text over colour because it is hard­er to read. The type in this Yel­low Pages adver­tise­ment is almost illeg­i­ble with its dirty yel­low type on an even dirt­i­er brown page.

In the bot­tom right cor­ner there is a coupon that will get the read­er a Yel­low Pages Nation­al Usage Sur­vey con­duct­ed by Audits & Sur­veys Co., Inc.. Once again good typog­ra­phy has been thrown out the win­dow. The copy appears to be set in 7pt with 2pt leading.

The coupon is on the gut­ter side of page with the result that the page will have to be torn out of the mag­a­zine to per­mit the coupon to be cut out for com­ple­tion and mailing.

Was this ad for Yel­low Pages intend­ed to be humor­ous?  This adver­tise­ment could not have been an award-winner.

What is typography?

Typog­ra­phy is the design and man­u­fac­ture, the art and tech­nique of using type to achieve read­abil­i­ty. It is a sci­ence: It has rules that must be under­stood and applied with cre­ative fresh­ness if the design­er is to com­mu­ni­cate pro­duc­tive­ly in web design or print design.

The first of these rules is read­abil­i­ty. Any attempt at com­mu­ni­ca­tions is a ter­ri­ble waste of time, mon­ey, effort, and mate­r­i­al if it is not read or understood.

Read­abil­i­ty begins with type selec­tion and dis­play.  There are sans and ser­ifs and scripts. Type can be light or heavy, grace­ful or ugly, fat or thin, dec­o­ra­tive or plain, for­mal or nov­el­ty. The pro­fu­sion of type­faces today is a bit bewil­der­ing and this often leads to rather indis­crim­i­nate and taste­less typog­ra­phy as in the above Yel­low Pages advertisement

With the com­ing of the dig­i­tal age type­faces became known as fonts although a font was orig­i­nal­ly a giv­en alpha­bet, a to z, and its asso­ci­at­ed char­ac­ters in a sin­gle size. For exam­ple, 8‑point Caslon Ital­ic was one font, and 10-point Caslon Ital­ic was another.

Pri­or to the dig­i­tal age the num­ber of type­faces avail­able from any indi­vid­ual print­er was nec­es­sar­i­ly lim­it­ed because of the great cost of buy­ing and stock­ing a new type face. Type was set by hand, or by oper­a­tors using Lino­type, Mono­type, or Lud­low type­set­ting machines

These type books were com­piled in 1955–1965 by three print­ers to detail their avail­able typefaces.

The Caslon type­face was designed by William Caslon(1692–1766), an engraver in Lon­don, England .

Bodoni was designed by an Ital­ian typog­ra­ph­er Giambat­tists Bodoni (1740–1813), in the late eigh­teenth cen­tu­ry and fre­quent­ly revived since.

Goudy was designed by an Amer­i­can type design­er Fred­er­ic William Gowdy (1865–1947).

Today Google Fonts offers  a 900+ col­lec­tion of free and open source type­faces  by design­ers from around the world. “Our font cat­a­log places typog­ra­phy front and cen­ter, invit­ing users to explore, sort, and test fonts for use in more than 135 lan­guages. We show­case indi­vid­ual type design­ers and foundries, giv­ing you valu­able infor­ma­tion about the peo­ple and their process­es, as well as ana­lyt­ics on usage and demo­graph­ics. Our series of the­mat­ic col­lec­tions helps you dis­cov­er new fonts that have been vet­ted and orga­nized by our team of design­ers, engi­neers, and col­lab­o­ra­tors, and our default sort orga­nizes fonts based on pop­u­lar­i­ty, trends, and your geo­graph­ic loca­tion. You can also cre­ate your own high­ly cus­tomized col­lec­tions by fil­ter­ing fam­i­lies, weights, and scripts, plus test col­or themes, and review sam­ple copy. Col­lec­tions can be shared, mak­ing it easy to col­lab­o­rate on projects and ensure typog­ra­phy is opti­mized and stream­lined through­out the design and engi­neer­ing process.”

The type foundry Hoe­fler & Co has a library of near­ly 1,500 type­faces designed for print, web, office and mobile envi­ron­ments.  “H&Co are every­where: you’ll find them on Twit­ter and at Tiffany & Co., in Wired and The Wall Street Jour­nal, on every can of Coca-Cola, and on every iPhone ever made.”

Since 2012, The Design­ers Foundry (TDF) “has been mak­ing qual­i­ty, acces­si­ble and inter­est­ing type. TDF is a hand-picked inter­na­tion­al team of type design­ers who strive to pro­vide all design­ers with a qual­i­ty resource of curat­ed type­faces that is con­stant­ly evolving.”