I can’t work in anything but Tahoma. The first thing I do if I’m editing is change the font from Times New Roman or Arial. Anything that comes in either of those two fonts is, for me, the equivalent of the institutional green paint used in prisons, public toilets and schools.
And I can’t start writing unless it’s Tahoma. It just doesn’t seem like my words when I see them on the screen in another font.
Am I stuck in a rut? I’m wary. As the saying goes “the only difference between a comfortable rut and a grave is the width and depth”.
Typeface is something we don’t think about very often. But it’s the reason for many subconscious choices.
It’s perhaps the ultimate meeting of content and design. They work together. If they don’t, the reader is brought up short. They get something unexpected and rather than reading the content they stop to examine the font, they get distracted, perhaps they wander off…to see what’s on telly or to pop a pill for the migraine induced by 8pt Blackadder ITC. A good typeface should work with the content leading the readers’ eye onto the next word, not induce lethargy, pain or psychosis.
According to an article in the Reader’s Digest the typeface you use can say a lot about the person you are, right down to your personality type, mood and attitude. I wonder what font they used. Did it say ‘we’re going to file for bankruptcy’ as Reader’s Digest has in America with 2.2bn of debts.
I’ll miss its homespun wisdom and corny jokes. And I’m not alone. For many, Reader’s Digest was a cornerstone in their development. “I have fond memories of thumbing through Reader’s Digest while waiting with my mom in the supermarket queue. I’m pretty sure that’s how I first encountered a rascally mongoose named Rikki Tikki Tavi” says one emotionally overwrought reader.
My worst nightmare is to be tattooed in Times New Roman. And it is possible for such a thing to happen. I’ve seen the result of not thinking this through. Why go to all that trouble and choose a bad font? Nowadays tattooists are designers who happen to work on skin. And it’s just as important to choose a good designer, who knows their fonts. And how to spell.
What do these people ask for, the ones with the bad tattoos? I’m looking for a font that is at once modern and staid, with perhaps a splash of cartooniness. No scripty-type fonts please.
And suddenly you’ve got Muther in Times New Roman across your bicep. Which begs the question – why does no one ever get tattooed in Wingdings? That would at least give you scope to lie about what your tattoo means when you’re old enough and wise enough to regret it.
Perhaps what we need is training for all tattooists in the latest fonts. In the meantime, I can only point them towards ilovetypography.com which has fantastic articles such as Who Shot the Serif, and my personal favourite Identify That Font. Unfortunately although you can ask it to identify a font you’ve seen it doesn’t give a Gallic shrug of disgust at Times New Roman. That’s just me then.