Male Type?

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I have 30 classmates but only 10 of them are women. And from what I’ve heard, it seems to be the same in other type schools as well. Why is it that typography is still mostly in the hands of men?

I remember hearing that the majority of students in higher education in Europe & the western world are women. Most professors are still men, but among the younger generations the women are taking over.1 I’ve personally felt this in my previous college. Most of the graphic design students were women. And also in newspapers most of the journalist trainees have been female. So, why then are the men still dominating the typographic world?

In general, there are more men studying technical subjects, while the women are the majority in social and humanist fields. Is typography really that technical? I always thought that it is more about loving the beauty of letters and books. There are many women in other areas of visual or aesthetic design. What makes, for example, furniture or interior design more appealing to women than typography?

Perhaps there’s nothing wrong with the subject itself. Maybe it is just about the overly masculine culture that has never really been challenged. In many other fields women have been let in. Perhaps the male typographers are still trying to keep their little secret club to themselves. Are we afraid to loose our special status? Do we make it too technical on purpose?

Could be. If you go to a type conference or just hang around with designers, you easily end up talking about technical stuff. But if you really think about it, font formats and programs are just means to an end.

Gutenberg, Caslon, Garamond, Rogers and Morris were great men. But still, it took Beatrice Warde to see through it all and coin the most famous and beautiful metaphor about typography.

  1. There’s huge amount of information on this on the web. Looking quickly I couldn’t find simple numbers for the EU or the western hemisphere. Of course, there are regional differences. If you find a simple and reliable source for this stuff. Let me know. The UNECE is one place to start. []

4 thoughts on “Male Type?”

  1. Conversation at the department yesterday:

    Were you at the party on Saturday?
    –Yes I were.

    And it was like all these crazy chicks everywhere going totally mad for type designers, right?
    –Ummm… Well, more like a bunch of nerdy guys talking about type…

    Smiley

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