Fun with Fonts

Have you heard about the film Helvetica? It's about typography and graphic design, and of course, that ubiquitous font Helvetica (at left). Being the nerd that I am, I'm dying to see the film, so I emailed my friend at the local indie cinema, begging for a booking. No dice, but I won't hold it against him!

Through a weird and circuitous path (don't you love web surfing?!) I found Identifont tonight. Ever seen a font you like and would like to use? One you hate and never want to make the mistake of owning? Wondering how to spice up that boring status report? Go there. My favorite feature is the series of questions about the appearance of the type as they "diagnose" the font name based on your clues. I tested it out by randomly answering the questions, and was pleasantly surprised by the result.

What's really behind this? My graphic designer friend Rosemarie and I were talking yesterday about fonts that are overused and therefore meaningless. See, I think type helps convey meaning (and Linotype -- a major font foundry -- offers some suggestions here). We always worry about readability (make it easy for the reader and they're more likely to actually stick with you!), but different faces have different moods. Just take a look at the "Top 10" list on Identifont. Interestingly to me, they're almost all sans serif fonts -- and Helvetica clocks in at #5 this week.

As long as I'm nattering on about type, can Itell you my two LEAST favorite fonts ever? These make me cringe whenever I see them, which is altogether too often!
1. Comic Sans -- cute for kids and comic books, this doesn't portray a professional image in email. Trust me. Especially when it's bright blue and 14 points. UGH. (Hah -- just noticed Microsoft designed it -- now that's funny!)
2. Lucida Handwriting -- the caps aren't terrible, but the affected, fake script complete with little curved dots over i and j just make me want to gag.

Did I stomp on your favorite font? Any that drive you completely insane? Are you wondering why you're still reading this?! (I'm kind of wondering why I'm still writing it...) Oh, one last thing -- I post in Verdana :)

Image of Helvetica face from Identifont.

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