If you find those typefaces frustrating, the ones where the ink goes where the letters aren't, and define the letter shapes by wrapping them in simulated 3D shadows or flat puzzle pieces that fit into their crevices; if you wish you could make your human brain stop parsing for a while, stop not playing tricks on you, stop working, stop reading; if you find yourself running your finger over the imaginary blocks of the block letters only to get no helpful information; maybe this will comfort you.

These fonts are largely creatures of the Seventies and early Eighties; the technology then was phototypesetting. On the transparency the light shone through to expose the film that repelled the ink once the plate was wrapped around the printing drum, those shadows were themselves light sources, white on black. These alphabets have never lived in lead, or at least, weren't born there. If they've ever been cast and assembled on the composing sticks of graphic design students or reluctant old-timers, it was an afterthought.

So you might just have to imagine. First, imagine the inked parts, the negative space, the shadows on those letters. Then flip them upside down and backwards. That's the reality of printing technology when it's physical. It might strain your brain, but the next step's easier for it: imagine the shapes that result as tiny plateaus, elevated above a base flat plane of lead that never kisses an ink roller. Like tiny little gray metal mesas, in the shapes of shadows in the shapes of not-letters.

Then imagine taking a light beam to the little mountain range they form, and watching the shadows the cast letters cast, down their slopes.

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