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About Dorothy

About Dorothy Head

Letters, words, sentences . . . the building blocks of language, and a remarkable blend of beauty and utility. They're the focus of this website, and they're our passion.

I loved them even before I could say them, loved the sound of grown-up speech, loved the look of the printing on my blocks and storybooks. I have a clear memory of pretending I could talk, and of the frustration (a common feature of pretense) when I found that no one was ready as yet to understand me.

While conveying meaning in a precise and moving way is often a problem for me, the mechanics of constructing and manipulating letters and words have always come more easily. Therefore, the symbol systems required for verbal architecture hold a special attraction — hieroglyphics, cryptology, shorthand and, of course, typesetting and typography.

The ancient scribe was typesetter, printer and artist simultaneously, producing only one "etch" at a time; the same for the candlelit monk of medieval times. When movable type came along, the separation of functions declared itself. It was still obvious as long as type was set in hot metal, but when cold type was introduced, the distinction began to disappear. Now, computer technology draws all the phases of graphic arts production (and to a certain extent, even creation) closer together once again.

In the years since computerized type became technically feasible, there's been considerable progress in the aesthetics which its use can achieve: Easily mixed faces and weights. Quick changes in type angles and positions. Sizes which aren't restricted to a few ranges. No more sawing metal or knifing galleys in order to make characters fit together pleasingly. However, much of the type-polishing capability of the computer has so far been handled by technicians — professionals, yes . . . but not typographers.

And this is where KernProse fits in.

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