I found Beatrice’s metaphors quite interesting. This text is for me an original and creative way to express her strong opinions.
First we have to realize that this text was written in 1932, therefore she was a modernist, this means she believed that there was only one way (the right one) to do something, and that we should always follow the rules.

Basically I got 2 key ideas from the text:
Firstly, the content is more important that the media. If we have to choice between a goblet of solid gold (quite luxurious and expensive) or a crystal transparent one to pour wine, the right decision will be the last one. This is because it was effectively designed to “reveal rather than hide the beautiful thing which it was meant to contain”, wine.
This also applies to typography’s choice, which depends on the content.
And she goes further with the metaphors saying that, the long stem of a wineglass works in the same way as the margins of a book that again, are there for a specific reason.

Secondly, as good designers first we should focus on the function not on the appearance. Through history we have seen that “wine” as well as the “ideas” have the power of altering people’s minds. Printing is basically a way humans use to transfer each others thoughts. So the main function of printing is to deliver ideas from one mind to another. The world of typography is so extensive that without having in mind this primary function we can easily fail in our mission as designers.

In conclusion, she is telling us that “Good design should be invisible”. So after reading a book, article, etc… readers shouldn’t remember the appearance of the cover, pages or typography, but only remember the written message.
In the same way the perfect wineglass is the one that let us taste the wine with all our senses, so we wont remember the glass but we will remember the taste of the wine.

By contrast, the Postmodernist vision of Keen, encourages us as designers to break the rules and not be invisible.

For me the question is if as designers, do we have a Modernist or Postmodernist posture.

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