A few weeks back, esteemed colleague André Paquin turned me onto a great video from the California College of the Arts. “Enter the Serif” is a less-than-two-minute-long gem, and it’s all in good fun. Still, it got me thinking about how our words actually look on paper (screen) and how they work with type fonts.
If I were writing a humorous piece, for example, I’d never choose Times New Roman, that conservative type style so beloved by accountants and lawyers. It wouldn’t be wrong, exactly, but it just wouldn’t strike the right note. If I were sending someone a serious letter, then I probably wouldn’t go for Comic Sans MS, which actually does seem to work o.k. as my default email font. If I wanted to get someone’s attention, Courier New would lack impact. And both Verdana and Tahoma feel just about right for web posts. As I get older, Arial is getting harder to read, and though I like Calibri, it feels slightly lumpy.
According to “Enter the Serif,” there’s been a secret 200-year battle going on between the Serif and Sans Serif factions. Not being a designer, I don’t know much about that, but I do know what feels and looks good, at least to me. I’m going keep on experimenting with fonts, unless a style guide says “no.” (More about style guides soon.)