This quote made me pause while reading a magazine on a long drive this weekend. I laughed, but it also made me want to share the clarification Patrick Griffin is referring to in his AppliedArts article "A Case for Type Education."
He is paralleling driving a car with using type. There are people who practice typography. We are the drivers. We choose our message's vehicle through a font choice—sometimes a Toyota-like typeface such as Univers does the job. Other times a brick-like, Hummer-esque Eurostyle is needed. Then we drive… depending on experience, personality, the destination and the mood, the vehicle transforms in the hands of the typographer.
Now let us take a moment this Monday afternoon to appreciate the people who form the alphabets we use. Type designers are the engineers. They scrutinize how each letter and punctuation mark fit together. How the axles of the ascenders align. The balance of contours and open spaces. Without them, we'd still be pushing carts by foot or scratching letters into stone.
As the summer heats up, please remember to drive carefully—on the page, at the wheel and in differentiating typography from type design.