Not Against Type?

A few words about the title of my blog, ‘Not Against Type.’ Truthfully, I didn’t take much time to think it out, and used pretty much the first thing that came to mind as I set up the site. Since the blog is focused on printing and typography, I thought the word ‘type’ could factor in it, and an interest in cinema fed the rest. End of story.

Being a letterpress printer, I am, of course, in favour of type, which is a more grammatically sound use of language, as opposed to the double negative now in place. However, a blog titled ‘For Type’ or ‘In Favour of Type’ just doesn’t have an artful ring to it. Hey, the French language tends to use more syllables and words to get the point across, but when it is spoken well, it’s like jewels rolling off the tongue. Call me circumlocutory if you like, but I’m not a proponent of the current fad of language stripped bare to the bones. So the double negative stays.

It got me thinking, though, about the origin of the phrase ‘playing against type.’ In the movie business, it is considered a positive move for an actor to take a role against type. It suggests that their talent is versatile and multi-dimensional. An actor who plays against type is avoiding the danger of being typecast, a phrase which brings us back to printing generally, and typesetting specifically. For something to be ‘set in type’ connotes a certain repetitive permanence, so it is an easy fit in Hollywood where ‘casting’ is a well established word and concept, and where there are so many different types, cast or otherwise.

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One Comment on “Not Against Type?”


  1. Good article. I absolutely love this website. Keep it up!


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