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iPhone 4: Better Screen to Read Bad Type On?

iPhone 4: Better Screen to Read Bad Type On?

One of the new iPhone 4's biggest features is its Retina display, which promises a sharper, clearer display due to a much higher pixel-count. But a screen is only as good as the content you put on it, and Khoi Vinh, Design Director for NYTimes.com calls Apple out for having bad typography on the iPhone OS.

Forstall is quite literally claiming perfection while a hand model holds up this terrible example of everything that’s wrong with Apple’s commitment to typography. While the letterforms on that virtual page may look gorgeous, it’s apparent to any designer that the text is far from perfectly typeset. It’s hideous, scarred as it is by unsightly “rivers” of bad spacing within the text. No self-respecting typographer would dare call that perfect.

Steve! You said that the Mac had beautiful typography. You seemed to care so much about it. Please tell us you care again.

I decided to take a calligraphy class to learn how to (learn calligraphy). I learned about serif and sans-serif typefaces, about varying the space between different letter combinations, about what makes great typography great. It was beautiful. Historical. Artistically subtle in a way that science can't capture. And I found it fascinating. None of this had any hope of any practical application in my life. But 10 years later, when we were designing the first Macintosh computer, it all came back to me. And we designed it all into the Mac. It was the first computer with beautiful typography. If I had never dropped in on that single course in college, the Mac would never have multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts. And since Windows just copied the Mac, it's likely that no personal computer would have them.

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