My name is Christopher Dean and I am…

…also known as a typewriter first invented and made by William Austin Burt and patented in 1829 as US patent number 5581X.

During my time as a professional typographer in corporate culture I often felt as though I was a cog in the machine. Little did I know to what extent this could be true. A few days ago, prior to a live radio interview (during which I was blind-sided, thrown under the bus and then cut short) I decided to look up the Wikipedia definition for “typographer.” For as long as I can remember, “typographer” simply re-directed to “typography.” Something I always found irksome.

I typed in the term and lo and behold I saw the word “Typographer” in 72 point type at the top of the page! Finally, in the eyes of Wikipedia, I had been granted the recognition I deserved. The second thing I noticed was an illustration of a strange looking device off to the right hand side of the page. I began reading my definition, and not one sentence in do I realize that instead of one who strives to set text in an effort to make it easier to read supported by scientific research and objective measures of human performance, I was in fact a machine. An old and unusual one at that. Adding insult to injury, there was not a single reference to a typographer being one who practices typography, despite the years of re-direction. My 15 milliseconds of recognition, taken from me before I could click back.

I regularly check the Wikipedia definition for typography as it frequently changes. I have been unsuccessful in working in the term “science,” but I did manage to add the term “craft” after “art” (which was shortly edited to “technique”). Perhaps I will attempt another amendment in the hopes that I, and countless other soldiers, may someday be recognized by the millions of Wikipedians for who we are and what we do. However, a true typographer posses what Beatrice Ward refers to as “humility of mind” and craves not the attention of others. They accept the fact that they are but humble and silent servants in the communication process between author and audience. My name is Christopher Dean and I am a typographer. What are you?

One Response to My name is Christopher Dean and I am…
  1. Thomas Harris
    October 3, 2011 | 06:10

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