Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Matthew Carter

The article on Matthew Carter was surprisingly interesting. I never before considered that the development of a typeface (font) could be so intricate and artful. It is especially amazing that the procedure was once an even more terribly painful process. Technology has truly affected all facets of life, it seems--even the letters I'm using on this very page. Who'd have thought?

I also found it interesting that the article presented the business side to Carter's work. On one hand he is an artist with all of the freedom that the designation entitles him to. On the other, he needs to make a living and cannot truly simply produce any typeface he wants. As the article notes, businesses, such as Microsoft, want legibility over intricacy. Plus, the article comments that there are only so many variations to put on a letter before it ceases to be that letter anymore.

It seems the most commonly used font now is Times New Roman.

It is easy to see why Times is so popular--it's highly legible and professional. Nearly all of the academic writings I've ever submitted for grading have been in Times. However, I've known some of the less computer literate generations before me to prefer Arial (or maybe that's just my dad!). Arial is less appealing to me precisely because of the lack of tails on the letters (san serif). The article points out that Arial turns the state of Illinois into an ambiguous collection of vertical bars -- Illinois, for example.

My personal favorite font is Garamond. I can't show it here, as Blogger doesn't offer it (maybe I could figure out how to get it on here...), but it has a thin, almost Gothic presentation. Twelve-point font size generally doesn't cut it with Garamond, so it's hard for me to use it on an academic paper, but I still like its looks and feel nonetheless.

Visit 1001 Fonts.com to download some free fonts.

What's your favorite font and why?