Don’t Ask E.T.

November 10, 2006

Professor Edward Tufte, an information design heavy weight world champion veteran from the early eighties, just hacked my website and my second most popular article into pieces…

The self-exemplifying typography [of iA] is way too designy, the outdented subheads annoying, and it looks like corporate annual report. The claim that the web is “all about typography” is false and foolish. The brazen quality of the argument and the design attracts unfortunate attention to the spelling and phrasings of a non-native user of English.

This goes hand-in-hand with his genius claim that “good web design doesn’t need to be user tested”. I was ready to strike back, but one of my readers suggested to let Tufte’s comment “speak for itself” (thanks Jerome).

Update: Tufte changed his comment after some protest on his site (“your tasteless comment about iA” – now deleted as well):

The self-exemplifying typography in the link immediately above is way too designy, the outdented subheads annoying, and it looks like corporate annual report. The claim that the web is “all about typography” is false and over-reaches. There is insufficient attention given to the relationship between type and image.

I appreciate him taking out the deep hits and adding some useful information (“insufficient attention given to the relationship between type and image”). I agree with the type/image critique and I will try my best improving that point. Thanks, Professor. Let’s leave it to that and move on.

Update: Tufte deleted his entry. I lost my favorite enemy. Should I delete mine too? Should I launch a counter attack, now that he’s fleeing? I still owe him a typographical rundown on his website, don’t I? ; )

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