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A View from John Maeda

Another Typewriter Falls

Typewriters may be meeting their end, but I predict that society will once again yearn for their imperfect and unique imprint.

  • March 31, 2008

Every week I count at least one typewriter that has met its demise. It would seem that our society would be more forgiving of these machines. After all, I know of no easier or more direct way to place a printed address on an envelope.

The newer typewriters had little character [sic], as they were under digital control. But the old typewriters were much like an untuned piano in the sense that every letter typed made an imperfect and unique imprint. Type that is set on the Web does not suffer from imperfection. Every letter is placed perfectly on the digital page, with absolutely correct spacing.

I predict that we will see a yearning in our society for more … imperfection. Not just flaws or errors, of course. We will want to see evidence of what is human-made and real.

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