In the Blog

Whose font are you?

July 16th, 2008     by Catherine Hayday     Comments

I’m a low-level typography geek. I love reading the “About this Typeface” description at the back of a book*, and a manuscript or website using the default font just isn’t finished yet.

“Typography is what language looks like.”

Cameron Adams gets meta on type with his recent post on the handwriting of type designers (via Slashdot, via Google Reader Rec). And I love a bit of meta me.

Hit pause for a moment and consider how greatly we - people in the digital age - are indebted to typographers. Almost all of our visual communication is delivered using the products of their craft: newspapers, SMSes, instant messages, emails, web pages, signs, posters, billboards; the list of purposes is endless. In these days where looping strokes have been replaced by keyboard clickety-clack, typographers define the style and tone of our missives. Would you like to be elegant, modern, childish or … disturbed? Then you can choose between Garamond, Montag, Comic Sans, Zebraflesh, and a thousand more. … The handwriting of typographers intrigues me because it raises so many questions, big and small: Do typographers exert some extraordinary control of the pen that laypersons don’t? Does a typographer’s handwriting influence the typefaces they produce? Has the rise of digital communications made handwriting redundant? Do modern typographers, born of digital tools, lack the finesse of their more wizened counterparts? If so, does that change the way their type is designed?

Personally, I’m a fan of Garamond. Palatino and Helvetica Neue Condensed Bold are elegant. And I think if you’re using Comic Sans in anything other than a comic, it’s a cry for help.

Back to our typographers. Take Goeran Soederstroem.

His typefaces:

And his handwriting:

… many more here.

And a bonus question – which fonts do you dis/like?

*I’m low-level because if they get too vigorous with their description it’s a bit like listening to an overenthused curator describe a painting. I’m with you up through “textured, sharp, meditative”, but you’ve lost me when you get into its “airy vapourosity”.


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