Dissections

Blue Pencil was born out of the disappointment of seeing the editorial quality of books on graphic design and typographic history decline precipitously over the past decade. Its raison d’être is to dissect books on graphic design history and typography to ferret out errors—typographical, orthographical and factual—in such books and post them publicly. Dissections are not done to denigrate authors, but to rebuke proofreaders and editors who have failed their jobs and publishers who have abdicated their responsibility to the reader. Blue Pencil marks up a text with an eye to improving it.

Blue Pencil no. 3.1—Rotunda


The term that I quibbled with most in reading Graphic Design History: A Critical History was “rotunda”. On the assumption that most of those reading Blue Pencil do not have paleographical or calligraphic backgrounds I thought it would be easier to understand my comments if I posted some examples of rotunda and of humanist bookhand.
This first image is Ryl Latin Ms 32, f. 21. For those not used to manuscript notation this is the 21st …
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Blue Pencil no. 3

This installment of Blue Pencil is different from previous ones in that the “errors” being exposed are, for the most part, not factual, orthographical or typographical, but editorial. Editorial errors are harder to nail down and hence more insidious. They are also more subjective so this post will include a number of references, both print and online, in support of my comments as well as some relevant images.
One of the basic problems of Graphic Design History: A Critical Guide is …
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Blue Pencil no. 2

This is the second Blue Pencil installment.
After Mary Ann Bolger wrote a fairly favorable review of Graphic Design: A New History in Eye no. 66 (vol. 17, Autumn 2007), I wrote a letter to the magazine pointing out that it is “riddled with errors”, most of them relating to typefaces and typography. The letter was published in Eye no. 67 (vol. 17, Spring 2008) and led, several months later, to a response from Prof. Eskilson. He wanted to know what …
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Blue Pencil no. 1—Font. The Sourcebook

This is a slow blog. I have lots of material I hope to post but not enough time to properly prepare it. Thus, I expect my posts to be sporadic which will make Blue Pencil part of the nascent trend toward slow blogging.
I chose the name Blue Pencil for the blog because my original intention in establishing it was to post lists of errors—factual, orthographical, typographical, etc.—I have been increasingly finding in the various books I read. Many publishers have …
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