Fun with Fonts

I have a bit of a fixation with fonts. I like the notes in the back of books that describe the provenance of the typeface. When I was a kid, my family subscribed to the now defunct but nerdily wonderful u&lc magazine (upper and lower case) and I have whiled away unconscionable hours with the font pull down menus on assorted word processing programs. So it is perhaps not a surprise that I greeted the publication of Simon Garfield’s Just My Type with real pleasure http://www.npr.org/2011/09/04/140126278/know-this-headlines-font-youre-just-my-type.

Garfield writes “Twenty years ago we hardly knew them, but now we all have favorites. Computers have rendered us all gods of type, a privilege we could never have anticipated in the age of the typewriter.”

Here’s a video of the author “judging some books by their covers” http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/video/2010/oct/17/typography.

Do you have a favorite font? My default is Times New Roman, but I regularly use Arial for e-mails, and I have a weakness for Sylfaen even though I think it’s a bit fey. I hate reading in Courier, such that if I am able, I will change the typeface before I read a manuscript in what I find an arid, joyless type style. (Unlike those who fetishize the Smith Corona, apparentlyI have painful memories of using an actual typewriter.)

Anyway, I probably lean more serif than sans in the most general sense, and I am prone to reading into the font choices of those who e-mail me (Aqua Palatino. Hmmm…)

How about you?

5 Responses to Fun with Fonts

  1. EEV says:

    A writer when submitting doesn’t have much ground to play with fonts, but for other aspects of working with the written word, I do tend to vary my choices of fonts. I like Adobe in almost all variations, but I don’t get to use different ones as much as I’d like. One thing I do, though, when I’m bored with my writing, is to change the font to what I think fits the moment of the story – a dramatic font for a death scene, a round and curvy one for sexy scenes… and when I finish I change it back to the usual Times New Roman. It’s all fun :)

  2. christi says:

    I like the more unusual fonts, and tend to use Chiller, Curlz, and Viner Hand more than most for my personal stuff. My manuscripts are always Times New Roman, however, and my emails are San Serif, but that is because that’s what gmail is defaulted to and I don’t bother changing it. I can’t stand the look of Courier.

  3. Hillsy says:

    Yes! I’m not the only person with an overly wierd fascination with fonts, huzzah!

    I set all my e-mails, windows fonts, title bars etc etc is in Tahoma, 1) because it’s a cool font and 2) because it looks cool small (Using anything over 11pt Tahoma is largely negating Tahoma’s best attribute IMO). Getting really picky: Tahoma also looks best when employed in Dark Blue or Indigo….yes I am said…..

    Having said that, my favourite font is Verdana. Verdana has the inverse problem of Tahoma as it basically only looks good at a decent size (I think it was designed as a public display font, which would explain it). All my MS typing is done in 14pt Verdana (There is another reason which is if you use Verdana 14pt and trim the margins back stlightly, you get exactly the same Words per page as you’re average fantasy paperback – this means as you type it “looks” like how it would on a page in a novel. Good ol’ Verdana.

    Calibri I fall in and out of love with – Bradley Hand ITC has its place (though not for everyday use, people!). And I think anyone who doesn’t accept that Copperplate Gothic Bold, while far too inappropriate for most things, looks amazing should be banned from being with ten yards of any text. It’s like having the band Kiss as your best mates – you wouldn’t want the round all the time, but when you do……

    Oh and I’m sorry – I use spreadsheets everyday and Arial on a word document just sends my brain into somekind of synaptic fit. It’s wrong, utterly wrong, much like fish mousse.

    I leave you with a link: http://www.prepressure.com/fonts/interesting/most_hated

  4. Tamara says:

    I’m with you! Times New Roman all the way!

  5. D. A. Hosek says:

    I tend to write in Courier, partly because I find it most comfortable when I’m in that mode, but submissions are in Times (if only because I can’t assume that a recipient has any particular typeface installed).

    I have a certain fondness for Monotype Ehrhardt, and that’s the face that I use for my correspondence (I try to write a letter a week on paper and sent through the mail).

    Once upon a time I published a typographic magazine (and even had an article in U&lc). The remaining back issues of the magazine are available from amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/search/ref=sr_nr_seeall_1?rh=k%3Aserif%3A+the+magazine+of+type+%26+typography%2Ci%3Astripbooks&keywords=serif%3A+the+magazine+of+type+%26+typography&ie=UTF8&qid=1315585188

    (I need to figure out why only ridiculously overpriced copies are showing up for issues 1 & 2 and not the cover-price listed new copies that I’ve sent to the Amazon warehouse).

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