Free Museum of Dallas in Exile: “As We Were Saying…” A Compendium of Typography (2020)

Artists and writers living and working in North America and Europe were asked to reflect on the current situation — the pandemic, the continuing struggle for social justice, and the conduct of everyday life — and compose or select an appropriate text.

All contributions were composed and presented in the form of a typographic sample sheet. This format is used as a tool by graphic designers to get a sense of the appearance of text when set using a particular type style.   

The typical sort of text that is used to display the aesthetic features of a type style consists of a phrase that contains each character of the alphabet, such as “The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog”, or lines of faux Latin, such as “Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet . . .”, a process known to typographers as “Greeking”.

Sometimes, the typographer will reset the Preamble to the U. S. Constitution, or the Declaration of Independence. In any case, text chosen to display the features of a type style are rarely, if ever, controversial, personal, or in any way liable to offend.

The contributions to “As We Were Saying…” reflect a wide range of world views and resources of expression, from the academic to the diaristic and the poetic.

As you read these selections, you will discover random breaks of words and odd line breaks of sentences. These breaks are the result of the constraints dictated by the format of the sample sheet itself. The pace of reading and interpreting the text will be “broken”, interrupted, decelerated, and altered in unexpected ways.

Sometimes, owing to its length, the contributor’s text will be repeated. We like to think that such a repetition suggests a possible performative use for the type sample; perhaps as a script for reading aloud in several voices.

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