August 08, 2005

Blessing of Fonts

My oldest son is really into calligraphy. He is mastering several different types of formal script. Who knows, maybe he will design a new font someday.

Today, fonts seemed to be a recurrent theme in my blog-surfing.

God, how twee is that? “Slightly irritated by a typeface.” Put that on my tombstone.

- James Lileks, 8 August 2005 Bleat

Lynn muses about the emotional impact of fonts on a reader. She is seeking some input on what fonts you like, what color, size, style. Leave her a comment and let her know what you think.

I like sans-serif fonts the best. I use Verdana for most everything I write. It makes for wonderfully readable legal forms, not too busy and easy to fax or scan without too much clutter. For web style, I prefer dark text on light backgrounds, though there are some well-executed blogs that pull off the opposite.

If I had to use a serif font, I would choose Palatino, which is simply beautiful. I don't care for Times New Roman, as I associate it (and Courier) with poorly-drafted legalese. I see way too much lawyer work-product drafted in Times New Roman 12 pt., 1.25 inch margins (i.e. MS Word default settings).

Meanwhile, on the other side of the Atlantic, Lemuel reveals himself to be a sans-serif man. I would think he would be a sans-blog man by now, since he keeps threatening to delete the thing.

On a wholly-unrelated note, I wonder whether anyone can guess the source of this post's title?

Posted by JohnL at August 8, 2005 11:06 PM | TrackBack

Well, Galveston recently had the blessing of the shrimp boat fleet, but I doubt that's what you were referring to.

Posted by: owlish at August 9, 2005 12:14 AM

It's actually a play on the hymn title: "Come Thou Font of Every Blessing."

I thought I would be clever and use "Font of all Wisdom," but a quick google search revealed that idea had been done almost to death in many other similar articles about typefaces.

Posted by: JohnL at August 9, 2005 11:17 PM

I guess I need to reform. I had no idea that Times New Roman was so offensive. I just use it because I know most people have it. To me, it looks almost exactly like most of the other serif fonts.

Posted by: Lynn S at August 10, 2005 05:22 PM

Lynn, in the overall scheme of things, fonts are just not that important (which is of course why I put the Lileks quote in there;-). And Times New Roman is a font that everyone has, so it's a great choice from a useability standpoint.

To preserve the useability and still offer a different font, you could revise your font definition on the stylesheet (if you like serif fonts best) to declare a different font first (which the user's browser would load, it it had it) and then put Times further along in the argument, e.g.,

font-style:palatino,"palatino linotype",Times New Roman, serif;

I actually like your blog's layout and readability, so any changes you make should be to satisfy your own tastes.

Posted by: JohnL at August 10, 2005 09:01 PM

When you look at different fonts together on the same page there is quite a bit of difference, or little differences make a big difference or something like that.

Posted by: Lynn S at August 11, 2005 06:58 PM
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